Shedd’s newest rockhopper penguin chick (Eudyptes chrysocome)– known as #23 – gets a routine feeding and check-up by animal care staff. The chick is being hand fed to supplement feedings from its parents – a male named Edward and female named Annie – who are steadily beginning to feed the chick on their own. Hatched June 9, the chick’s gender will be determined in about a year during a check-up by Shedd’s veterinary staff, and is expected to be fully grown in about two to three months.
On November 30, SeaWorld Orlando welcomed the first chick to hatch at Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, the all-new attraction featuring a colony of more than 250 penguins from four species – king, Adelie, gentoo and rockhopper.
The nearly two-week-old king chick is now weighing in at 30 ounces (882 grams) and currently being raised by its parents with routine check-ups from the SeaWorld Orlando Aviculture Team who monitor the chick’s weight and overall development. Although small now, it will grow to be more than 24 pounds (11 kilograms) and over 2.5 feet tall. This chick is one of two king chicks that have hatched within the last two weeks with more expected within the coming weeks.
Caring for the king chick is a full-time job shared by mom and dad, and it starts before the penguin even hatches. Since king penguins don’t build nests, the female lays one egg and both parents share incubation duties by placing the egg on their feet. This is also how they carry the chick once it hatches. Guests may get a rare glimpse of the king chick during feedings.
Photographer Marius Ilies writes; “I took this picture at Port Lockroy during my trip to Antartica in 2010. The two penguins almost touching flippers, looking at each other, and captured against the majestic frozen background, seemed romantically involved.”