On the 28th of July, we welcomed another gorgeous chick into our waddle of Humboldt penguins. Born to penguin parents Sully and Cliff after 40 days of incubation, this fluffy little bundle of joy has already become a firm favourite with the keepers.
The chick is doing very well and has already been named Bertie, although it’s too early to find out whether the chick is a baby boy or girl. At the moment, the chick has fluffy grey feathers, but it will eventually shed these to reveal the famous black and white feathers below.
Penguins are of course known for being black and white, but interestingly very few people know why. This colouration is a form of camouflage called countershading. Countershading helps protect penguins from predators both above and below. The black of the back helps penguins in the water to avoid detection by sealions as it blends in with the dark depths of the water. Meanwhile, the white of the belly blends in with the white of the clouds in the sky, making it difficult for sharks to spot them below. The more you know!
Out in the wild, Humboldt penguins are currently classed as vulnerable on the IUCN red list, meaning they are likely to become endangered unless the circumstances threatening their survival improve. They are threatened by overfishing, rising sea temperatures, and habitat loss. You can help protect their future by being mindful of where your litter ends up, buying sustainable seafood, and reducing your carbon footprint.
You can find out more about the work we do to protect marine habitats here.