African Penguin Chicks

Watch the new chicks grow at
Give a Gift for the Penguin Baby Shower!


This fall, African Penguins, Sidney and Bette began making a nest in this little cave in Penguin Point.

For days, observant visitors watched as the penguins carried small rocks in their beaks across the exhibit and disappeared into the cave.  

Then on November 11th National Aviary staff confirmed Sidney and Bette had laid a clutch of eggs. Over the next several weeks the soon to be parents and their nest were carefully observed. In order to confirm the fertility of the eggs, Aviary staff briefly removed them from the nest for candling. Candling an egg is the process of holding it up to a bright light to see the growth and development of the embryo inside.    

Aviary staff expected to the eggs to hatch between December 15 - 18.

On December 12, the National Aviary installed a high resolution infrared penguin nest cam to give the public an intimate view inside the nesting cave. The camera and installation services were generously donated by M&P Security Solutions, Inc., a veteran-owned business serving the Greater Pittsburgh Area. The public were invited to watch the nest online at The entire project was initiated and implemented in just 10 days and not a moment too soon! 


 The new camera hanging over Penguin Point and a view inside the nest.

Right on time, chick #1 hatched Monday, December 15. That morning one of the National Aviary’s penguin specialists noticed unusual movement on the camera. Shortly before noon, he heard what sounded like a chick. By the afternoon he was able to check the nest and get visual confirmation. 

Over the next few days the penguin parents continued to incubate the second egg, simultaneously keeping the first chick warm and well fed.

On December 18, the second egg hatched. However, National Aviary staff did not want to disrupt the new family. They waited until the received visual confirmation of the new chick via the nest camera. Based on this image, Aviary staff confirmed the hatching at 10:13 a.m. Friday, December 19.


The parents of our new African Penguin chicks, Sidney and Bette, have been together at the National Aviary since the summer of 2010. 

Here are photos of the proud parents:


Watch Our Penguin Chicks Grow Up!

Wild African Penguin chicks typically leave the nest at around four weeks. Until then you can watch the new chicks as they grow and develop at After the New Year, the chicks will be removed from the nest and hand-raised in our hospital nursery. Our visitors can watch them grow up through a window overlooking their brooder pen in the Avian Care Center. When they are old enough and big enough to join our Penguin Point colony this spring, our flock of this endangered species will have grown to nineteen birds!