baby

We met the Aussie same-sex penguin couple who just became fathers.

In case you missed it, Sydney is home to one of the world’s favourite gay couples, Sphen and Magic.

Collectively known as Sphengic,the pair are Gentoo penguins and Sea Life Sydney Aquarium is where they call home.

The guys began developing a strong bond and became inseparable before breeding season, and are constantly seen waddling around and going for swims together.

When breeding season started approaching the couple began collecting ‘ice pebbles’ to create a nest in their spot, and ended up having more pebbles than any other couple.

To ensure the guys didn’t feel left out, Magic and Sphen were given a dummy egg to allow them to practice incubating and develop their skills. They were absolute naturals and displayed great excitement caring for their egg.

Then, as fate would have it, another couple actually had two eggs. Gentoo penguins usually only have enough resources to successfully raise one of their two eggs, and the ‘back-up’ chick often dies. So, the decision was made to make Magic and Sphen foster parents by letting them incubate the extra egg.

Swapping duties daily, one of the guys would sit on the nest and incubate the egg while the other patrolled the perimeters of the nest, warding off any potential pebble thieves or over-inquisitive neighbours.

After weeks of carefully caring for the egg around the clock, Magic and Sphen became proud dads to a tiny chick weighing just 91 grams.

Sphengic baby chick
Sphen and Magic's little bundle of joy.

The incubation period for Gentoo Penguins lasts about 36 days, with the small beak of the tiny Gentoo chick ‘pipping’ out of its egg taking up to three days.

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The chick will now stay with its dads for the first five to six weeks of his life, where they will feed it up to 10 times a day and guarded fiercely. Once it is big enough, it will start to lose its baby penguin fluff, start growing its adult feathers and begin its swimming lessons.

Sphengic baby chick 2
Proud dad on new father duties.

When the chick is about a month old the penguin carers at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium will be able to determine the sex of Magic and Sphen’s little miracle.

The exhibit at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium is not only home to Sphen, Magic and their baby, but plenty of other cheeky Gentoo penguins, too.

The inquisitive penguins love new things, humans included. When we visited we were quickly greeted with a bow - a penguin's way of saying hello. They also bow to each other to say g'day.

same sex penguins

Check out the bloke bottom right. He doesn't have a partner and so has no egg to incubate this season. He felt left out though, so borrowed pebbles to create his own (impressive!) nest, and now he's sitting on his imaginary egg. Can you cope?!

Visitors to Sea Life Sydney Aquarium can observe the hilarious and quirky behaviour for themselves, by visiting the exhibit or booking a special 'on the ice' experience like we had, called Penguin Passport.

Sea Life Sydney Aquarium is also opening a new exhibit, Day and Night on the Reef, which is a $5 million home for its much loved turtles, as well as jellyfish, sharks and plenty of tropical fish. Day and Night on the Reef opens on November 24.

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