First African Penguin Chick Hatches at National Aviary


First African Penguin Chick has Hatched at National Aviary
Live Penguin Nest Cam Offers Up-Close Views (

December 15, 2015 (Pittsburgh, PA) – The first of two African Penguin chicks hatched at the National Aviary today, right on schedule. And thanks to a newly installed high-resolution camera, viewers are getting an intimate view inside the nesting cave. In just three days since the cam went live, it has recorded more than 35,000 views, a number that continues to rapidly climb.

This morning, one of the National Aviary’s penguin specialists noticed unusual movement on the camera. Shortly before noon today, he heard what sounded like a chick. This afternoon he was able to check the nest and get visual confirmation. A second egg remains in the nest. It is expected to hatch within the next few days.

Viewers can expect to see the penguin parents continuing to incubate the second egg, simultaneously keeping the first chick warm. A newly hatched penguin chick is slightly larger than a golf ball in size, so viewers may not easily see it right away. The parents may be seen nuzzling the nest area with their beaks to reposition the chick or remaining egg. When a chick is hatched, it still has the yolk sack attached to it providing nutrition. When the yolk sac is absorbed, the chick will start begging for food, and the parents will feed it a diet of partially digested fish on a very frequent basis, multiple times a day. Both parents will continue to take turns tending the nest throughout the chick rearing process.

Because of this penguin pair’s past breeding successes, the National Aviary is optimistic that all will continue to go well. If all goes as anticipated, the penguin chicks would remain in the nest for the first three to four weeks. They would then be moved inside to be hand-reared by National Aviary staff. This special upbringing will ensure they are ready to fulfill their future roles as ambassadors for their species in the National Aviary’s educational and interactive programs.

The National Aviary’s Penguin Point exhibit is home to 17 African Penguins. African Penguins are a critically endangered species, with less than 20,000 remaining the wild. As part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP), the National Aviary’s penguins are part of an important breeding program to ensure a healthy population of African Penguins for future generations.

The camera and installation services were generously donated by M&P Security Solutions, Inc., a veteran-owned business serving the Greater Pittsburgh Area.

The public is invited to watch the cam at Visitors to the National Aviary can see the cave and glimpses of parents Sidney and Bette and they exchange nest tending duties.

1 of 2 penguin chicks hatch at National Aviary
1 of 2 penguin chicks hatch at National Aviary
1 of 2 penguin chicks hatch at National Aviary

Robin Weber
Office: 412-258-9435
Mobile: 412-215-9199