Learn more about baby penguins from Magee

From Our Hearts to Yours: African Penguin Chicks and Magee Babies

One waddles, one crawls. One’s covered in fluffy down feathers. The other has delicate, oh-so-soft skin.

We took a look at how our babies at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC compare to the little ones at the National Aviary, which is located in Pittsburgh.

 

Baby Penguins for Magee

Tiny Bundles

When baby African penguins hatch, they weigh just under 2 ounces, on average.

Human babies typically weigh between 5 and 10 pounds at birth.

A Special Occasion

Mother African penguins lay eggs once per year in the wild, and sometimes two or three times a year while at the Aviary.

The average human mother has two or three children over the course of her lifetime.

Worth the Wait

The incubation period for mother African penguins is about 38 days.

The average length of human gestation is about 280 days — or 40 weeks.

A Little Help from Dad

African penguins are monogamous during breeding season. And dads play a big role in incubation, the period when penguins sit on eggs until they are ready to hatch.

After a mother penguin lays her eggs, she and the father penguin take turns incubating. One keeps the eggs warm while the other forages for food in the wild.

First Appearances

When African penguins hatch, they are covered in soft gray feathers. They lose this plumage after about six weeks, and it is replaced with “juvenile plumage.” It takes about a year and a half for penguins to get their signature black and white feathering.

Newborn humans arrive to the world with soft, delicate skin — sometimes with a head of hair and sometimes totally bald.

Under Your Wing

Juvenile African penguins stay with mom for about six months before they’re ready to go off on their own.

Human mothers and their offspring can enjoy a lifelong bond.

“African Penguins are critically endangered,” said Christopher Gaus, senior aviculturalist at the National Aviary. “The population has declined by about 98 percent, and we’re trying to save them from extinction.”

The National Aviary is a supporter of SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction.