Birds

Cute debut: First fairy penguin chick born at Bronx Zoo

The baby penguin in May.

The baby penguin in May.  (Julie Larsen Maher © WCS)

A new baby penguin has joined the animals on display at the Bronx Zoo, and it’s adorable. Not only that, the chick is the first baby to be born from this species at the zoo, ever.

The chick, hatched on May 10, is from a species known as little penguins. The species is indeed little— they grow to be just over a foot tall, and weigh only two to three pounds, according the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which runs the Bronx Zoo. These flightless birds (the smallest species of penguin) are also called fairy penguins, blue penguins, or little blue penguins.

The colony at the zoo that bred this new chick originally came from Sydney, Australia’s Taronga Zoo. (The species is endemic to coastal Australia and New Zealand.) That zoo produces about 15 new little penguins a year, but this is the first time one hatched at the Bronx Zoo, which has been open for over a century.

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The WCS shared a YouTube video of the bird growing up that shows the baby just three days after it was born, being weighed in a blue bucket. Then, viewers see what it looks like on display over two months later, swimming around and getting a feeding.

The birds live in temperate ocean areas and live in colonial nests “on sand dunes or rocky beach areas,” the WCS reported in a statement. The chicks weigh less than an ounce when born.