Three Penguin Chicks Hatch at the Santa Barbara Zoo, the first since 2018

Three penguin chicks born at the Santa Barbara Zoo in April 2024 (courtesy)

Chick, Chick Hooray!

It’s been six years since we’ve had penguin chicks at the Zoo, and we couldn’t be more excited about these three. The chicks hatched in late March and early April.

Pepper and Pinga are the parents of chick #1. Pepper is the son of Lucky (who hatched here at the Zoo), so this chick is a fourth-generation penguin in this family. This is the first chick for this pair, and it was “co-reared” by zookeepers for the first four days after hatch as the parents didn’t immediately start feeding it. The chick stayed with the parents who let zookeepers scoop the chick out of the nest five times a day to feed it formula!  After four days, the parents started feeding the chick and are managing well.

Chick #2 was hatched under parents Plum and Jane and is their first chick as well. Plum is an original Zoo colony member from when the habitat opened in 2006! This pair had two eggs, which is common with Humboldt penguins, so we typically foster the second egg to another pair so the birds have a chance to get “wings-on” experience.

Chick #3 is being fostered by El Rey and Puff, who are also first-time parents and are stepping up to the task well. All of these hard-working parents are being offered additional feeding opportunities during the day to keep their stamina up!

If you look closely in the burrows, you might be able to spot the chicks as they are all starting to stand upright. In the next week or so, the chicks will move behind the scenes to learn to eat fish from their keepers. They will stay behind the scenes until they grow their waterproof feathers, then will re-join the colony!


Written by sbzoo

The Santa Barbara Zoo is dedicated to the preservation, conservation, and enhancement of the natural world and its living treasures through education, research, and recreation. Learn more at

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  1. Idiots who break out into a chorus of “Born Free” every time a zoo is mentioned seem to have no clue about how much zoos do to preserve endangered wildlife and raise awareness of how we are destroying the natural world, dooming many animals to short, miserable lives in the wild.

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