We are pleased to announce that our own Royal Baby is a girl! The King Penguin Chick, born in September, is finally old enough to be sexed and the team here are thrilled to have another female in their colony.
The chick is the first female King Penguin to be born here and the first King Penguin chick to hatch in over 7 years. Her brother Spike was also hand-reared by Head Keeper Alistair Keen and both chicks regard him as their surrogate Dad.
Royal penguin babies are very rare with Birdland having the only breeding colony of King Penguins in the UK making this little chick very special.
Head Keeper Alistair Keen says: “I am really pleased that she is a girl. Other than a healthy chick, that is exactly what we wanted. The King Penguin colony is quite top heavy on males so another female is great for the future of the group.
He continues: “We have four possible names for her, and are going to ask our Birdland Facebook followers to vote for their favourite.”
Like the rest of the nation who have been waiting for a Royal Baby, Keepers also played the waiting game! In order to sex the penguin chick Keepers had to wait until she was about 7 months. During a routine vet visit they sent feathers off for DNA analysis to confirm the sex, and the results took about two weeks to return.
The penguin chick is still brown and fluffy so the team are keeping a close eye on her, watching for signs of adult feathers. The next major milestone in her life will be her first swim!
Visitors can meet the King Penguin Chick as well as her extended family of King Penguins and Humboldts at Penguin Shore, Birdland. Learn more about penguins during the twice-daily penguin feeds and talks hosted by our expert Keepers at 11am and 2.30pm.