Meet our Newly Hatched African Penguin Chick

By New England Aquarium on Thursday, April 13, 2023

See caption below
This African penguin chick hatched at the Aquarium in March of 2023. Photo: Vanessa Kahn

On March 23, a brand-new baby African penguin hatched at the Aquarium. The chick is the first African penguin to hatch here since 2019, and proud parents Malgas II and Demersus III—along with our Animal Care staff—have been caring for the chick around-the-clock.

Soon, the chick will make its way to the African penguin exhibit to join the rest of the penguin colony. But in the meantime, get to know more about this exciting new addition!


African penguin chick with trainer.
Meet our Newly Hatched African Penguin Chick This African penguin chick was the first to hatch at the Aquarium since 2019.

Who are the penguin parents?

Malgas II and Demersus III laid their egg in February, and the chick hatched in late March. These successful parents have had one together, and Malgas II has two chicks with a previous mate. So, this chick has lots of relatives at the Aquarium — including great-grand-penguin Deco.

How much does the penguin chick weigh?

As of this announcement, it weighs 1,157 grams—16 times its hatch weight!

Where is the penguin chick living?

Malgas II, Demersus III, and the chick are all together behind-the-scenes here at the Aquarium. There, our staff can keep a close eye on the chick and its parents to ensure the chick is healthy and getting the care it needs.

Does the penguin chick have a name?

Not yet! The Animal Care team will name the chick before it goes on exhibit. Read more about how we name the penguins at the Aquarium here.

When will the penguin chick be on exhibit?

As the chick grows, it will learn to swim and climb and also grow accustomed to its colony mates. Once that happens, and it builds relationships with our trainers and is taught how to be hand-fed, it’ll move on exhibit full-time. Right now, we’re expecting that to be sometime in early summer.

Will you be able to tell the chick apart from other penguins?

Yes! For the first year and a half of its life, the chick will have grey feathers, so you’ll be able to tell it apart from adult penguins. Once the chick is named, it’ll also get a colored ID bracelet, just like you see our other penguins wearing.

Will there be any more penguin chicks?

While there were three pairs of potential African penguin parents this breeding season, only Malgas II and Demersus III’s first egg hatched successfully.

The Aquarium is part of the African penguin Species Survival Plan, and we coordinate with other Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)-accredited institutions to promote a sustainable population of African penguins in zoos and aquariums. We carefully select penguin pairs for breeding to increase the chances of success and help promote the genetic diversity of the species.

While African penguin breeding season is over, Southern rockhopper breeding season is just starting. As opposed to our African penguins, rockhopper penguins nest and care for their eggs on exhibit. We’re hoping to welcome rockhopper penguin chicks soon. Stay tuned!


Supporting the Survival of African Penguins

African penguins are endangered in the wild. We participate in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for African penguins along with other Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited institutions throughout North America.