Magellanic Penguin


Magellanic penguins are medium-sized in regards to other penguins, with the males being larger than the females.  Adults have black backs and white stomachs, like the classic tuxedo pattern.   There are two black bands between the head and the breast, with the lower band being in an inverted horseshoe shape. Chicks and juveniles are grey-blue on their backs, with a more faded grey-blue color on their chest.


Magellanic Penguins travel in large flocks when hunting for food. In the breeding season, these birds gather in large nesting colonies at the southern coasts of South America, which have a density of about 20 nests per 100 square meters. Magellanic Penguins mate with the same partner every year, and the females can recognize their mates through call alone. The male reclaims his burrow first from the previous year and waits until he can reconnect with his female partner.

Did You Know?  

  • Older penguins of over ten years usually have solid black feet.
  • Both parents take turns sitting on the nest during incubation, which takes around 40 days.
  • Penguins can’t fly, but they can use their flippers to create a “flying” motion underwater!

Our Animals

We have 10 Magellanic penguins on exhibit, many of which were born right here at your zoo!  One of our males is on loan from the Bronx Zoo, and he enjoys hugging the zoo keepers’ boots during feeding.  The males wear their ID bands on right side if you are interested to know who’s who.


Scientific Name Spheniscus Magellanicus
Conservation Status IUCN: Near Threatened
Size Megellanic penguins weigh anywhere from 7 to 10 pounds, and stand 23 to 27” tall.
Average Lifespan 12 to 25 years in the wild and up to 30 years in captivity.
Wild Diet Small fish, squid, crustaceans.
Found on Coastal Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands, with some migrating to Brazil