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Penguin chicks hatch

Date: 17 Jun 2016

Gentoo penguins

It’s another cracking success for Belfast Zoo as eight gentoo penguin chicks hatch.

Senior keeper, Raymond Robinson, said "the penguin breeding season started way back in February. Around that time every year, we install nest rings for the penguins. The male gentoo penguins then set to work to fill the nests with pebbles and stones. The nests are so prized by females that often male penguins can obtain a mate by offering the female a nice pebble. The female can lay up to two eggs which are then incubated by the male and female birds for approximately 30 to 40 days. In recent weeks, with the warm weather, keepers have also had to install umbrellas and sprinklers into the enclosure to protect the parents and the eggs from the heat and we are delighted to welcome the first chicks of the year."

There are 17 species of penguin in the world and Belfast Zoo is home to gentoo and rockhopper penguins. All penguins are found in the Southern hemisphere. While gentoos are found in the Antarctic, they can also be found in the warmer climates of the Falklands, South Gerogia, Kerguelen, Marion, Macquarie and other remote islands. All penguin species face increasing threats from marine pollution, habitat loss, global warming and over-fishing.

Raymond continues "We have no doubt that our latest arrivals will be a firm favourite with zoo visitors. Penguins are one of the most popular species at Belfast Zoo, especially the underwater viewing area where visitors can admire their swimming skills. If you are potty about penguins, you can now get closer than ever before with our new animal experiences. You can find out more information or book your experience by calling 028 9077 6277 or email"

A full schedule of feeding times takes place daily. Call by the penguin enclosure at 2.30pm to see the penguins enjoying their 'fish suppers' and to see the little chicks.

Find out more about our daily talks and feeding times.

Enjoy our penguin experience.

Find out more about gentoo penguins.

Adopt your favourite animal at Belfast zoo.