Discover how our babies at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital compare to the little ones at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh.

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.

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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.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .

About UPMC Magee-Womens

Built upon our flagship, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital in Pittsburgh, and its century-plus history of providing high-quality medical care for people at all stages of life, UPMC Magee-Womens is nationally renowned for its outstanding care for women and their families.

Our Magee-Womens network – from women’s imaging centers and specialty care to outpatient and hospital-based services – provides care throughout Pennsylvania, so the help you need is always close to home. More than 25,000 babies are born at our network hospitals each year, with 10,000 of those babies born at UPMC Magee in Pittsburgh, home to one of the largest NICUs in the country. The Department of Health and Human Services recognizes Magee in Pittsburgh as a National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health; U.S. News & World Report ranks Magee nationally in gynecology. The Magee-Womens Research Institute was the first and is the largest research institute in the U.S. devoted exclusively to women’s health and reproductive biology, with locations in Pittsburgh and Erie.