Easter chicks! Two Humboldt penguins hatch at Marwell Zoo

Zookeepers are celebrating after two Humboldt penguin chicks hatched over the Easter weekend at Marwell Zoo in Hampshire.

It marks the first successful breeding at the zoo, near Winchester, since 2015.

Lucy and Buddy are first time parents, so to give the chicks the best possible start, one youngster is being fostered by parents Billy and Jupiter, whose eggs were infertile.

More eggs within the colony are expected to hatch later this month.

  • Watch the penguin colony in action:

Each pair of penguins lays two eggs and will incubate them for 40 days up to hatching.

Both sets of new mothers and fathers are involved in the incubation and rearing of the chicks, who will not leave the nest for around eight weeks.

For the first few weeks, zookeepers leave the parents to nurture their young, only opening the nest box to feed.

They will carry out health and development checks at around four weeks old.

Keepers use a different naming theme each year to help them keep track of the chicks, such as varieties of ice cream or planets, but they are yet to name the latest arrivals.

They are all doing really well and we’re all really excited. For a lot of the Marwell birds team, it’s the first time we’ve been able to breed so there’s a lot of excitement, and though we are working a rota system due to coronavirus, we’re making sure we keep each other updated.

Jess Borer, Senior Bird Keeper
Credit: Jason Brown

The Humboldt penguin can be found in South America along the coasts of Peru and Chile.

The species is threatened and listed as vulnerable to extinction on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

So this successful breeding marks a vital contribution to the European breeding programme for the vulnerable species.

Credit: Jason Brown

The zoo has so far raised £10,000 to help cover basic animal costs such as feed, bedding and heating during the coronavirus lockdown.

The team is working "tirelessly" to make sure the animals receive the same level of care and attention during the lockdown.