Skip to main content

Penguin Point

Did you know?

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
Meet the Keepers
Getting wet is part of the job.
Did you know that otters sleep wrapped up in kelp? That seals can waddle on land as well as swim? Our keepers give unscheduled chats daily, so keep a look out!
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

Playing Bass for Blizzard

It wasn’t your average concert situation. Fingers chilling in the February breeze, I stood with my double bass poised on the grassy edge of a deep moat. My endpin and boots were planted in winter mud. Somewhere nearby, a bird sang. I drew my bow across the strings, beginning a low ripple and expanding out … Continued

Read More
Sea Otter Surgery

Dr. Karen Wolf, left, and Dr. Caitlin Hadfield prepare Sekiu for surgery. NOTE: Graphic visual content further down the post. On a cold winter’s morning at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium Animal Health Care, head veterinarian Dr. Karen Wolf did an unusual thing during surgery: She put a fresh ice pack on her patient’s chest. … Continued

Read More
2020 Year in Photos

What a year this has been! From clouded leopard AI to a new muskox calf, from Zoolights to HeroRATs and everything in between, we’ve captured this year in our best photos of 2020.  

Read More
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 (in season) and the Discovery Hut.