Humboldt Penguins

Our colony of Humboldt Penguins (Spheniscus humboldti) were mainly bred here in Weymouth, with three coming from a zoo on the Isle Of Wight. Each penguin at the Park has a different coloured tag to be able to tell them apart. Male penguins have a coloured band on their right wing and females on their left wing. 

Humboldt Penguins in wild

These endearing and sometimes comical creatures come from the coasts of Chile and Peru where there are estimated to be fewer than 10,000 pairs still surviving. 

Colonies like ours here may one day provide a vital lifeline for this endangered species. Their disappearance would certainly be a tragic loss to the animal kingdom. The main causes for the decline in this species are climate change, habitat destruction, overfishing of prey fish species and nest destruction due to commercial guano harvesting.

In the wild penguins love to eat sardines and anchovies, but so do we and supplies are running low. Here in Weymouth we are passionate about educating people on the plight of these amazing penguins. Together we can all help make a difference by avoiding eating anchovies and sardines harvested in Peruvian fisheries and instead opting for more sustainably caught fish species.

 

Our "eggcellent" breeding record

Humboldt penguins are monogamous, meaning they pair for life. They lay between 1-3 eggs per clutch up to twice a year, and both parents take turns incubating the eggs for 39-42 days.  The newly hatched chicks remain in the nestbox until they are 15 weeks old and have grown their juvenile waterproof feathers.

Our penguin colony here at Weymouth has had 13 successful chicks since 2006, and some of chicks have now joined colonies at our sister SEA LIFE centres and Sanctuaries at Great Yarmouth, Gweek and Scarborough.

 

What goes black, white, black, white?  A penguin rolling down a hill! 

Penguins have a type of camouflage known as counter shading, specifically designed to avoid predators in the water. If you were swimming under a penguin and looked up, their light front would blend with the sunlight on the water surface. If you looked down on a penguin swimming, its dark back would blend in with the ocean depths.

Penguins are specially evolved for life at sea, so much so they are one of the few birds that cannot fly! This is because they have dense bones that allow them to survive high water pressures when diving.

Penguin feathers form 2 layers to help keep them warm. The fluffy undercoat is very thick-approximately 70 feathers per square inch- whilst the top coat is kept waterproof with special oil produced by the penguins preening gland.

 

Spruce

Spruce was born on 23rd March to parents Laurel and Cedar. They were unable to feed him after two weeks and Spruce was at a very low weight. The animal care team at the Park intervened and hand-reared him. He has since been reintroduced to the colony with no issues.

VIP Feeding Experiences

Step onto Penguin Beach and meet our resident Humboldt Penguins with our VIP Penguin Feeding Experience. Meet all 15 birds, including the newest addition and learn all about the threats penguins face in the wild and what you can do to help. 

Underwater Viewing

Get closer than ever to our Humboldt Penguins in the underwater viewing area. Play with Sequoia and watch our penguins eat their lunch, whilst ducking and diving! Don't forget to get your stamp in your dive log book here. 

Spruce

Spruce was born on 23rd March to parents Laurel and Cedar. They were unable to feed him after two weeks and Spruce was at a very low weight. The animal care team at the Park intervened and hand-reared him. He has since been reintroduced to the colony with no issues.

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Spruce

Spruce was born on 23rd March to parents Laurel and Cedar. They were unable to feed him after two weeks and Spruce was at a very low weight. The animal care team at the Park intervened and hand-reared him. He has since been reintroduced to the colony with no issues.

Show previous slide
Show next slide

VIP Feeding Experiences

Step onto Penguin Beach and meet our resident Humboldt Penguins with our VIP Penguin Feeding Experience. Meet all 15 birds, including the newest addition and learn all about the threats penguins face in the wild and what you can do to help. 

Show previous slide
Show next slide

VIP Feeding Experiences

Step onto Penguin Beach and meet our resident Humboldt Penguins with our VIP Penguin Feeding Experience. Meet all 15 birds, including the newest addition and learn all about the threats penguins face in the wild and what you can do to help. 

Show previous slide
Show next slide

Underwater Viewing

Get closer than ever to our Humboldt Penguins in the underwater viewing area. Play with Sequoia and watch our penguins eat their lunch, whilst ducking and diving! Don't forget to get your stamp in your dive log book here. 

Show previous slide
Show next slide

Underwater Viewing

Get closer than ever to our Humboldt Penguins in the underwater viewing area. Play with Sequoia and watch our penguins eat their lunch, whilst ducking and diving! Don't forget to get your stamp in your dive log book here. 

Show previous slide
Show next slide