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Meet the Penguins

Today, the ABQ BioPark formally introduced the public to the Penguin Chill exhibit. Get to know its residents!

July 23, 2019 - The ABQ BioPark is pleased to introduce its newest residents—penguins! Get to know a little more about the three species at the Zoo.

Macaroni Penguins


What do Yankee Doodle and macaroni penguins have in common? Style, of course! In the 1800s, English sailors arrived to the Falkland Islands where these penguins live. Macaroni penguins have bright yellow feathers on top of their heads. This crazy hairdo reminded the sailors of a flashy fashion trend at home.  People adopting this fashion trend were known as “macaroni,” so that’s how the penguin got its name! Photo: laikolosse Flickr.



Gentoos can move at 22 miles per hour, making them the fastest underwater swimming penguin. These penguins use their swimming skills to make as many as 450 dives per day to find food! They can dive up to 650 feet and stay underwater for seven minutes. Although you can usually find them close to shore, they have been spotted as far as 16 miles from the coast.



King penguin parents work together to incubate their single egg for approximately 54 days. They incubate the egg on the tops of their feet under a fold of skin called a brood patch. This helps keep it warm. Chicks stay on the parents’ feet for about 40 days. After that, the chicks form juvenile groups but still rely on their parents for months to feed them until they become independent.


Like any animal, penguins all have individual personalities, so the two groups of penguins were carefully introduced. Luckily, these three penguin species –gentoo, king and macaroni—live side by side in their wild habitat, so it is natural for them to share a space together.