Public Can Vote to name National Aviary’s newest Penguin


In recognition of World Penguin Day, between now and Monday, April 25, the public can help name the National Aviary’s newest female penguin!

As Pennsylvanians prepare to vote in the primary election on April 26, there’s one more vote the National Aviary hopes they’ll cast – that of a new female African Penguin joining the colony. And in this case, you don’t have to be 18 to vote!

To vote, visit and cast your ballot to see which name is in the lead. The winner will be announced April 26. Vote as often as you want.

National Aviary staff has selected three names for the penguin, and are asking for the public’s help to choose their favorite. The potential names are Maggie, Kenzie and Madison. Since this penguin came to the National Aviary from Monterey Bay Aquarium, the name choices are a tribute to the place of her hatching.

This female joined the colony a few weeks ago and is three years old. She is also joined by a male, and the two were selected to move to Pittsburgh because of their valuable genetic make-up. Together they make a valuable breeding pair, and according to Teri Grendzinski, supervisor of animal collections at the National Aviary, they are already showing the first signs of pair bonding 

“Our goal is to encourage these two to form a bond, and hopefully in the future we’ll see eggs from them,” she says. “The preening behaviors along with the frequency of close contact these two have shown are signs they are becoming a pair.”

So how do you choose just the right name? Personality? This penguin was raised by penguin parents, so while she’s not afraid of people, she prefers friends of the penguin variety. She’s been described as a curious, playful bird that likes enrichment opportunities to challenge and entertain her.

African Penguins are a critically endangered species. As an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the National Aviary participates in an important international breeding program, called a Species Survival Plan®, aimed at keeping captive populations genetically diverse and sustainable. The National Aviary also supports and assists with programs to save wild African Penguins and is part of an AZA initiative called SAFE: Saving Animals from Extinction.

In honor of World Penguin Day the National Aviary is also seeking donations for their programs aimed at saving African Penguins from extinction. Money raised will go to support the National Aviary’s care of African Penguins. 


About the National Aviary

The National Aviary is America’s only independent indoor nonprofit zoo dedicated exclusively to birds. Located in West Park on Pittsburgh’s historic North Side, the National Aviary’s diverse collection comprises 500 birds representing more than 150 species from around the world, many of them threatened or endangered in the wild. The National Aviary’s large walk-through exhibits create an intimate, up-close interaction between visitors and free-flying birds, including opportunities to hand-feed and to meet many species rarely found in zoos anywhere else in the world. Hours of operation are 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily. For admission rates and more information visit