Monday, September 23, 2013

Little Blue Breeding: New Birds on the Block

The Aquarium participates in a Species Survival Plan for our penguins. Little blue penguin breeding season is just ending. Catch up on what happened behind the scenes this past summer!

After a successful breeding season we are happy to announce that two little blue penguins were born at the Aquarium behind the scenes are now with the rest of the little blue colony on exhibit.

A little blue penguin chick introduced this previous post

Unlike other penguin species where the juvenile penguins have a different feather pattern than the adults (such as the African and rockhopper penguins), little blue penguins do not have a different juvenile feather stage.

Notice the difference in plumage from this adult African penguin...
... and this juvenile African penguin.

So even though these two new birds are only around 3 months old they look just like penguins that are 5 years old. The only way to spot them is to look for their identification bracelets.

Let me introduce you to our newest additions


This is Thigaraa. She has a purple and pink bracelet on her right wing. She was born in May of 2013. Thigaraa is an Aboriginal word for bird from a tribe from Queensland.


This is Granite. He has an orange and white bracelet on his left wing. He was born in June of 2013. He is named after Granite Island in South Australia, which is a breeding island for little blue penguins.

Unfortunately Granite Island, along with other islands in South Australia, has seen a recent and dramatic decline in its penguin populations over that last few years. While the exact cause in the sudden decrease in the penguin population is unknown, researchers believe some possible causes are introduced predators like foxes and cats, the booming New Zealand fur seal population and diminishing fish populations.

The next time you are visiting the Aquarium stop by and say hello!

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