Four little blue penguin chicks made their on-exhibit debut this morning.

The chicks were released on the little blue island and immediately took the water.

The four chicks were hatched about 80 days ago and are now nearly the size of adults—birds grow outrageously fast. Their fluffy down has been replaced by waterproof feathers, and they have learned how to be hand-fed by the Aquarium’s penguin staff after their parents were returned to the main exhibit. They’re already experts in the water as they immediately plunged into the pool to swim.

Watch

Little Blues Debut

Immediately after the release, the new birds took to the water and swam all throughout the little blue colony. While there was initial squawking heralding a change in the colony, life returned back to normal pretty soon after and breakfast was served. Still, our penguin biologists keep an eye on the new kids to make sure they were settling in OK. 

biologist in water looking at little blue penguins
Penguin biologist Andrea keeps an eye on the new guys during their first moments in the exhibit.
little blue penguin
Little blue penguin Miramar explores her new digs.

Let’s Meet the New Kids

Little blue penguins are the smallest penguin species in the world and can be found in Australia and New Zealand. They do not have the traditional black and white coloration of most other penguin species, but rather are grayish blue. The newest little blues have been given special ID bands that will help biologists—and you!—pick out the new birds on exhibit. Graduating to the main exhibit also means it’s time for the birds to get their names! Penguins at the New England Aquarium all have educational names that teach us a little about the species and where they live in the wild. 

little blue penguin

Miramar

ID Band = BLUE/BROWN on the right wing (right wing=female)

Miramar is named after the Miramar Peninsula in the city of Wellington, New Zealand. Little penguins living along the bustling Miramar are in decline due to habitat encroachment. Places for Penguins is a group working to protect the cities’ penguin populations by installing artificial nest boxes.

little blue penguin

Derwent

ID Band = YELLOW/BLACK on the left wing (left wing=male)

Derwent is named after the Derwent Estuary in Tasmania, where little penguins can be found living in this busy metropolitan area. The Derwent penguin population is now highly vulnerable due to continuing habitat loss and attacks by wandering dogs and cats. Since 2004, the Derwent Estuary Penguin Project has been working to ensure that the estuary remains a safe and attractive place for little penguins.

little blue penguin

Goose

ID Band = solid ORANGE on the left wing

Goose is named after Goose Island Conservation Park in South Australia. Goose Island has been home to a little penguin breeding colony since the 1950s.

little blue penguin

Wedge

ID Band = RED/YELLOW on the left wing

Wedge is named after a little penguin breeding island located in Storm Bay, Tasmania.

The Aquarium has nearly 100 penguins of three different species. The Aquarium’s penguin biologists are very talented and dedicated at getting penguins to successfully breed and raise offspring. As these little blue penguin chicks get ready to move on to exhibit, African penguin couples in the basement of the Aquarium are about to hatch more chicks.

See these little chicks when they were fluffy youngsters during our Facebook Live session behind the scenes!

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