Keepers at Birdland Park & Gardens in Bourton-on-the-Water are celebrating the arrival of a no fewer than three giant king penguin eggs.
The 350-gramme, palm-sized eggs were produced by the country’s only breeding colony of king penguins.
King penguins usually only produce one egg, and often will not breed for several years, so staff are taking no chances and have removed the eggs and placed them in an incubator. If all goes well the first egg could hatch out later this month.
“We are thrilled to have the first king penguin eggs of 2017 and are hopeful at least some of them will turn out to be fertile,” said Head Keeper Alistair Keen.
“The first egg was produced by Lily and Frank who have already successfully reared two chicks. If all goes well it should hatch out towards the end of this month.
“I am a little less confident with the other two eggs; one of which was almost certainly stolen from Lily and Frank by another single male penguin called Bob who was attempting to incubate it on his own.
“The third egg was laid by a female called Syd but as we are unsure whether she has a male partner the odds are probably against it being fertile,” he added.
There are 17 species of penguin in the world and the king penguin is the second largest, weighing up to 18kg. The largest is the emperor penguin, which can weigh 45kg and the smallest is the appropriately-named little penguin which weighs two kilogrammes.
With its combination of woodland, riverside and gardens, Birdland features more than 500 birds, ranging from birds of prey and parrots to cassowaries and cranes in a mix of free-flying and aviary displays.