Content provided by Adventure Aquarium’s Birds & Mammals Team
Exciting things have happened since we last checked in with our newest African penguin chicks that hatched in early January to parents Minnie and Kamikaze.
For starters, they don’t have to be referred to as just ‘the chicks’ anymore. Today, our Birds and Mammals team has bestowed them with their official names! Since the oldest, which hatched January 5, is the seventh chick for parents Kamikaze and Minnie, our biologists named him Saba – meaning ‘seven’ in Swahili. Saba’s younger sibling, which hatched January 9 was given the name Cornelius, inspired by the one and only Yukon Cornelius from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
And how are little Saba and Cornelius?! Well, for starters: they’re not staying little for too long. In fact, during today’s most recent weigh-in, 32-day-old Saba is weighing in at 3.6 pounds and 28-day-old Cornelius is quickly gaining on his sibling, coming in at 2.5 pounds – both healthy weight gains.
Since they are still so young, our biologists are introducing behaviors and training to them rather slowly. One of their first lessons is getting comfortable with being handled by their keepers, and also learning to associate the sights and sounds of a bucket with food.
The team feeds them capelin and herring filets four times a day, since as growing chicks, they tend to eat a bit more than their elder counterparts. In fact, their next big milestone will be to learn to eat on a adult penguin schedule, essentially three times a day.
Despite the non-stop spat of frigid temperatures we’ve been experiencing, these South African, warm weather-loving birds are faring exceedingly well thanks to their fluffy, warm down feathers that allow them to thermo-regulate themselves. And of course, there’s warmth in numbers: the siblings keep extra warm at night by sleeping next to each other!
Stay tuned and follow our blog for updates on Cornelius and Saba, including when you will have the chance to meet them during a visit!