Gay Penguin Couple Successfully Hatch Chick And Take Turns To Care For It

by : Charlie Cocksedge on : 26 Oct 2018 12:19
Gentoo penguinGentoo penguinSealife Sydey Aquarium/Facebook

It was recently reported a pair of inseparable male penguins had been given their own egg to look after, when they proved themselves to be excellent parents.


Now, as they have a habit of doing when looked after properly, the egg has hatched.

The pair of proud penguin parents are said to be ‘doting’ over their new arrival, who was born on October 19, weighing 3oz, at the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium, Australia.

They’ve named the little chick Sphengic – a mashup of its parents’ names Sphen and Magic. According to the aquarium, its gender will be confirmed in two months.

Sphen and Magic are a pair of gentoo penguins, who attracted the attention of staff at the aquarium after they were noticed as being ‘inseparable’ from one another.


The pair began to build their own nest with pebbles, prompting staff to give them a dummy egg to look after.

Once they’d proved themselves to be more than competent parents, Sphen and Magic were given a real egg, report the Metro.

They are the first same-sex penguins in Australia to be given a foster egg, and they look set to represent a high standard for the other penguin couples out there!

Speaking to ABC, Tish Hannan, the supervisor of the aquarium’s penguin department, told the penguins’ story and deemed Sphen and Magic model parents:

We’d go over there and Magic and Spehn would be bowing to each other. Bowing is a gentoo way of saying they love each other, which is super cute.

They were absolute naturals and displayed great excitement caring for their egg. They immediately knew exactly what it was and started incubating it and we’re really, really happy.

Tish explained how gentoo penguins equally split parental responsibilities between males and females, meaning it makes no difference to the egg’s care that the couple are the same sex.


She added:

We’re not going to need to step in just because they’re males.

We might step in if it turns out that they’re not good parents because of who they are as individuals, but for all the signs we’re seeing at the moment they’re going to be amazing.

The supervisor said Gentoo penguins are monogamous, meaning hopefully, Sphen and Magic will stay together through breeding seasons.

She continued:

Gentoos are monogamous. So if they have a successful breeding season and raise a chick, next year they’re very likely to get back together again because they know that worked for them.

According to Tish, there’s ‘no real difference’ between breeding behaviours for males and females, which makes male-male or female-female courtships fairly common in the penguin world.

However, in the wild, these pairings won’t usually last, as they’re unlikely to result in a chick. Therefore, the penguins looks for other mates.

Penguin eggs usually take around 33 to 36 days to hatch, during which time the parents take turns incubating and looking after the egg.

If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist and sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.

Topics: Animals


Metro and 1 other
  1. Metro

    ‘Gay’ penguins successfully hatch baby chick and taking turns to care for it

  2. ABC

    Same-sex penguin couple at a Sydney aquarium fosters an egg