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SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium’s Gentoo penguins rock the nest for breeding season

September 28, 2017 Attraction No Comments Email Email

Today, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium’s sub-Antarctic Gentoo penguins have started nesting up for what hopes to be a successful first breeding season at the Sydney attraction.

“Breeding seasons and behaviours differ from species to species. For Gentoo penguins, the males search through piles of pebbles to find the smoothest, most perfect one, which he then presents it to his intended companion,” says SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium Bird Manager, Dani Farah. “If the female approves, she puts the stone in her nest and they’re well on their way to becoming new penguin parents!”

“Today our Penguin Keepers set out the nests and pebbles, and the penguins have already started pairing up. If we’re lucky we’ll hear the pitter patters of more happy feet in just over a month’s time!”

The incubation period for sub-Antarctic Gentoo Penguins lasts approximately 36 days, with the small beak of the tiny Gentoo chick “pipping” out of its egg taking up to three days.

Unlike the King Penguin population who incubate eggs on their feet, once laid, the expectant Gentoo parents keep their eggs warm on pebble nesting rings scattered throughout the Macquarie Island inspired exhibit. Swapping duties daily, while one of the pair is doing their best to incubate the egg, the other is patrolling the perimeters of the nest, warding off any potential pebble thieves or over-inquisitive neighbours.

The penguins first arrived at SEA LIFE Sydney only ten months ago, with this year marking the first breeding season for the Darling Harbour based attraction. SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium’s Gentoo Penguin breeding program joins the SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium Penguin breeding program, which after five consecutive years is amongst the most successful in the world.

The majestic penguins are part of a world first-of-its-kind Penguin Expedition experience where guests can get up close and personal to the spectacular colony of penguins in a stunningly-themed Macquarie Island inspired exhibit. The experience, which is open to the public every day of the year, creates an explorer out of each and every guest as they travel in a raft through a rugged sub-Antarctic environment at a cool-but-comfortable six degrees Celsius.

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