10 new penguins arrive at Marwell Zoo

February 22, 2024

Well waddle you know, we are delighted to have welcomed 10 new Humboldt penguins to join the colony at Penguin Cove.

The new arrivals, who travelled down to Hampshire from London on Monday (19 February) will join Jacko, Sushi, Iggy (Igor) and Pistachio.

The flappy new additions are likely to take a little time to settle into their new home and guests are likely to notice the group establishing a new “pecking order” over the next few weeks.

In the wild, these amazing swimmers can be found in Chile and Peru but populations are declining due to reduced prey availability, climate change as well as human destruction of nests.

They eat fish including anchovy, herring, silverside, hake and pilchard which they catch by making a series of short dives – normally within 30m of the surface.

Despite their clumsy appearance on land, Humbodlt penguins are incredibly graceful swimmers using their streamlined bodies to “fly” through the water.

They use their wings like flippers and their webbed feet and tail are used like rudders to help them steer and make fast directional changes.

Unlike most birds, which have light bones to aid flight, penguins have much denser bones allowing them to dive without floating.

They are social birds that typically nest in small colonies on rocky coastlines and islands and they’re typically monogamous, meaning they mate with the same partner for life.

Dan Garrick, Birds Team Leader, said: “The new birds underwent their transport well and were checked over by our Veterinary and Birds Teams on arrival.

“They have settled in quickly and the two groups have been seen mixing in the pool and on the land area.

“The new birds have been actively exploring the enclosure and we expect they will do this for several days until they get familiar with their surroundings.

“The entire flock will remain in quarantine for 30 days and the Birds Team will be keeping a close eye on things during this period.

“Once quarantine is successfully completed guests will be able to get closer access to the pool.

“Face to Face experiences will also resume from April, where guests can get to see the birds even closer and chat with our knowledgeable keepers.”

We perform a health check on every animal that arrives at the zoo, just to make sure that they are healthy and happy when they arrive, and to ensure they’re not too tired from their journey.

During the next few weeks, while the birds get used to each other, guests might notice them pecking at each other and exhibiting behaviours that may appear aggressive.

They might also be more vocal but this is an important part of the birds finding their place within the new group.

These behaviours are entirely normal when bringing new birds into an existing colony and our keepers and vets will be keeping a close eye on them.

Bringing new birds into the zoo also means that we need to quarantine the penguins to keep both birds and guests safe.

For this reason guests will need to stay behind temporary barriers. These will be removed once the quarantine period is complete.

If you can’t wait until your next visit to see how the new penguins are settling in there is a live webcam. To see a video of how the introductions went, watch on our YouTube here.