Penguin breeding season has begun

April 1, 2014 § Leave a comment

Gentoos_race_for_nestrings_1_webWith spring in the air it’s all go at Penguins Rock. Edinburgh zoo is currently home to 77 gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua). The colony consists of young chicks from last year to older birds like ‘Wuppi’ who is in her 30’s. Young and old alike there was excitement in the air when, at the beginning of March, the penguins were given the nesting rings ready for the breeding season ahead.

Dawn Nicoll, Penguin Keeper at Edinburgh Zoo said:

“Things were slightly different this year as for the first time the penguins were shut off from the nest site due to essential enclosure maintenance. All the staff were excitingly intrigued to see how the colony would react when then barriers were removed. When the nesting site, consisting of their nesting rings, was revealed they took it in their stride with the more confident birds entering first. The rest quickly followed and within the first few days most of the penguins had chosen their mate and their nest.

Gentoo nest building by Stuart McGeachie

Gentoo nest building by Stuart McGeachie

“Over the past few weeks the gentoos have been busy building their nests. This particular species do this by filling the nest rings with stones provided by the staff. This behaviour is part of the penguins courtship and reaffirms the pairs bond. We have seen old pairs reunite (penguins are principally monogamous) and new pairs form with the established pairs returning to the same nest ring of previous years. One of our nests even consists of a male/male pair which includes our leucistic penguin ‘Snowflake’.”

In the next couple of weeks we are hoping to see the first eggs being laid which will mark the start of a very busy few months at Penguins Rock.

Penguin fans can enjoy watching our colony of gentoos live on our penguin nest site camera.


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