Gentoo family
Judith Wolfe

A family of gentoo penguins


King (Aptenodytes patagonicus)  Rockhopper (Eudyptes chrysocome)
(Pygoscelis antarctica) and Gentoo (Pygoscelis papua)

Zoo collection includes: As of November 2013, King Penguins, Gentoo Penguins, Rockhopper Penguins and Chinstrap Penguins.

See Them at the Central Park Zoo: Find the penguins in the new Polar Seabirds exhibit just north of Central Garden

Feeding Times: 10:30am and 2:30pm

Found in the wild: Both Chinstrap, King and Gentoo Penguins live on the Antarctic Peninsula. The Gentoo are found mainly in the sub-Antarctic, but extend to the Antarctic Peninsula. They breed on Staten, Falkland, South Georgia, South Sandwich, South Orkney, South Shetland, the Antarctic Peninsula, Marion, Prince Edward, Crozet, Kerguelen, Heard, and Macquarie Islands. Chinstrap breeding colonies are almost exclusively on the Scotia Arc: that is, around the Antarctic Peninsula on South Georgia, South Orkney, South Shetland, and South Sandwich Islands. Small numbers also breed on Bouvetøya, Peter First, Heard and Balleny Islands.

Description: The King Penguin is the second largest species of penguin, the largest being the Emperor Penguin. It can weigh from 11 to 16 kg and dives deeper than any other penguin species.  King Penguins have black colored heads with bright orange ear patches and a white to orange belly.  Gentoo penguins may reach just over 2 feet tall and weigh about 12 lbs. They may be identified by the distinctive yellow-orange beaks and the white bands above each eye. Chinstrap penguins are smaller than the Gentoos. They may reach 2 feet in height and weigh about 9 lbs. They can be identified by the black strap of feathers under their black beaks.

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Zoo Penguin Habitat: The CPZ exhibit is kept is kept between 32-34 degrees F. with the water temperature a cold 42 degrees F. The tank holds 48,000 gallons of water at a depth of 12 feet and filtered at 800 gallons per minute. The water needs is constantly being cleaned.

What do they eat: In the wild, both Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins will eat fish and krill, a shrimp-like crustacean. At the CPZ, their diet consists of capelin (a type of smelt) and herring. The King penguin does not rely on crustaceans as much, feeding mainly on fish and squid. The penguins are hand fed by keepers twice a day, at 10:30am and 2:30pm.

Life span: The average life span is 10-15 years in the wild and up to 30 years in captivity. CPZ penguins may live long, healthy lives with regular food, affordable medical insurance, and rent stabilization.


Chinstrap Family
Judith Wolfe

   A family of Chinstrap Penguins

Threats: They don’t fear humans but are endangered by oil spills, water pollution, and the over harvesting of ocean fish. Penguin predators include killer whales (Orcinus orca) and leopard seals (Hydrurga leptonyx). Both species of predator can jump out of the water onto the edge of the ice to attack, so penguins have adapted and are able jump 6 feet out of the water. On land penguin chicks are in danger from gulls, skuas, and other sea birds. Global warming is affecting Antarctica twice as fast as it is here in NYC. Nesting sites are becoming slushy because of the warming trend and nests are unusable. While the number of penguins is approximately 15 million, the change in climate has serious implications on the penguins’ diet in addition to loss of nesting sites. Some of you may recently have heard of the giant iceberg that blocked penguins from their feeding grounds. This is a direct result of global warming.

Fun Facts: Penguins are social creatures. They live in large colonies called rookeries. They waddle when they walk. Penguins communicate with each other through body language. They spend most of their lives in water. Their body is insulated with a thick layer of blubber that keeps them warm. They are counter-shaded for camouflage. Baby penguins have soft feathers known as down. They count on their parents for food until they grow up with waterproof juvenile feathers. They pick up stones and store them in their crop. This helps them to float when they are in water.



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