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Penguin Point

Did you know?

Spheniscus magellanicus

How long can you hold your breath while grocery shopping? Magellanic penguins can breath-hold for 3-5 minutes, which lets them dive deep for food.

Discover penguins

Habitat
Wild and Zoo
These penguins nest and breed in low forests or flat land along the southern coast of South America. But they’re pelagic - they spend most of their lives at sea. Find ours uphill from the Wild Wonders theater.
Plan your day
Eating
(and predators!)
Magellanic penguins eat seafood: mostly anchovies and sardines, but also cuttlefish, squid and krill.
Predators include giant petrels, foxes, pumas, sea lions, orcas and humans. Chicks and eggs can fall prey to kelp gulls, skuas and more.
Taking turns
to keep the egg warm.
Males attract mates by “braying” like donkeys; when a female responds he walks around her in a circle patting her with his flippers.
Parents take turns incubating the eggs, and newborns stay with parents for a month.
Preening
each other.
About 27 inches tall, Magellanic penguins are about in the middle of the penguin height range.
Mated pairs preen each other and hit bill tips together to bond.

Protecting penguins

Coated by oil, starved by plastic.

THE THREAT: Magellanic penguins face many threats in the wild. Oil spills coat their bodies. Plastic pollution chokes and starves them. Commercial fishing depletes their food, and they themselves are hunted.

TAKE ACTION: Protect our oceans – and their birds – by reducing your use of plastics and fossil fuels. Support wildlife protection laws, and speak up against off-shore drilling.

Marine Stories

Two orphaned walruses reunite

They were rescued as orphans in the same week. They spent the next three months of their lives together, snuggling with keepers and each other. And now, after seven years, they’ll be together again. Young male walruses Mitik (pronounced Mitt-ick) and Pakak (Puck-uck, or Puck for short) have arrived at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium … Continued

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One, two, 200! The 2019 Sea Otter Count

On a fine day this summer, Stephanie Rager, staff biologist at the Zoo’s Rocky Shores habitat, went for a hike. After three miles and a lot of uphill walking at the remote edge of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, she arrived with two other women at the rocky outcrop of Sand Point. There they set up a … Continued

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Walrus Training

Cindy Roberts and Sheriden Ploof stood in long rubber boots on the edge of the walrus pool, metal bucket in hand. For the two Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium staff biologists, it was a bittersweet moment. Basilla and Kulusiq, the zoo’s two female walruses, were leaving for a new home in sunny San Diego – … Continued

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Who's nearby?
Seen our penguins? Find the rest of the Rocky Shores animals over on the other side of the Zoo, past the Pacific Seas Aquarium. Next to the penguins you’ll find budgies and camels (in season) and the Discovery Hut.