|Photo courtesy of Julie Larsen Maher.|
A colony of little penguins (Eudyptula minor) has made its debut in the Aquatic Bird House at Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo.
Named for their small size and characteristic bluish hue, little penguins are also known as blue penguins, little blue penguins, and fairy penguins. Full-grown adults are only about 13 inches tall and weigh 2 to 3 pounds. They are the smallest of the 18 penguin species and native to coastal southern Australia and New Zealand.
These are the first little penguins to be on exhibit at the Bronx Zoo and there are only three facilities in the U.S. that currently have them.
All of the birds in the colony were hatched at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia and brought to the Bronx Zoo as part of a breeding program. Approximately 15 penguins a year hatch at Taronga, making it the most successful little penguin breeding program in the world. The Bronx Zoo penguins will help ensure continued genetic diversity in the little penguin populations in the U.S.