Magellanic penguin

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Animal File

Common Name:
Magellanic penguin
Scientific Name:
Spheniscus magellanicus
Size: 70 cm
Weight: 4.6 - 4.9 kg
Birds
Carnivores
Native to South America
Oceans and Seas

Conservation Status

Near threatened

Always great favourites with the visitors, the penguins here are Magellanic by species and currently, the only ones of their type in the UK. They originate from South America, specifically Chile, Argentina and the Falkland Isles where they inhabit coastal areas and steep, rocky banks.

Penguins can live for up to 25 years, but Magellanics are now classed as near threatened as tens of thousands are lost annually to oil pollution. Climate change has also severely depleted the fish stocks which they rely on for food. At the zoo, they are fed on sprats. 

Magellanic penguins nest in burrows unlike the surface-dwelling species which huddle together to form protective colonies. Unfortunately, this can result in both adults and chicks becoming infested with fleas. Male and female Magellanic penguins take it in turns to incubate the eggs over a period of 40 days or until they hatch. Each parent leaves the nest for a matter of 2 or 3 weeks in order to go out to sea to find food. Two eggs are generally laid, although only one chick may survive.

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Visitor numbers will be limited each day and everyone, including members, will need to book online to guarantee entry. Please ensure your choose the correct date as tickets are non-refundable and dates can not be changed.

Groups of more than 6 visitors will not be permitted to enter the zoo unless all 6 are from the same household.

A face mask or face covering must be worn in all indoor areas of the zoo unless you declare that you have a government listed exemption or are under the age of 11. You may be refused admission if you attempt to visit the zoo without a face covering and don’t declare an exemption.

You can find out everything we're doing to keep our visitors, staff and animals safe here.