African Penguin Chick

September 1, 2022

“Waddle” you know…there’s a new chick on the block at Robert and Mayari Pritzker Penguin Cove! After a 38-day incubation period, an African penguin chick hatched on July 29 as part of the African Penguin Species Survival Plan®.

The chick is the offspring of 16-year-old female Sunny and 13-year-old male TJ. The youngster is doing well and continues to grow in size and strength thanks to the help of its doting parents and Animal Care staff team members.

Sunny and TJ are experienced parents who successfully hatched and raised a chick, Harvey, in late 2019. The new chick joins the colony of 22 penguins.

African penguin chick at 22 days old with parents Sunny and TJ. Photo courtesy of Kristen Dvorak.

African penguin chicks typically fledge (leave the nest for the first time) around 70– 90 days after hatching. The chick will retain its downy feathers until it molts into waterproof juvenile plumage. After one to two years, African penguins molt into their iconic tuxedo-like appearance.

This species is endangered in the wild, with a significant declining population—an over 80 percent decline in the last 50 years. Lincoln Park Zoo works closely with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE) program, which focuses the collective expertise within AZA-accredited facilities to save endangered species. The African penguin is a SAFE priority species due to its decreasing population.

Before the youngster will be introduced to the colony at Robert and Mayari Pritzker Penguin Cove and be visible to the public, it must continue to pass various developmental milestones. Be sure to follow Lincoln Park Zoo’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates about the chick, including its sex and when the youngster will be visible.

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