Edinburgh Zoo penguins begin stone courtship ritual

The male gentoo penguins at Edinburgh Zoo woo their partners with the best pebbles they can find.

The male gentoo penguins at Edinburgh Zoo woo their partners with the best pebbles they can find.

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When it comes to love, penguins will leave no stone unturned.

The birds are fond of an elaborate courtship display and will woo their potential partners by presenting them with pebbles.

The male gentoo penguins at Edinburgh Zoo collect pebbles for the females in Penguins Rock, which marks the start of breeding season.

The male gentoo penguins at Edinburgh Zoo collect pebbles for the females in Penguins Rock, which marks the start of breeding season.

Keepers at Edinburgh Zoo have placed nest rings and pebbles in the Gentoo enclosure in preparation for the annual spectacle.

Penguin keeper Dawn Nicol said: “The start of penguin breeding season is the busiest time of the year for bird keepers, but it is also the most exciting.”

READ MORE: Man proposes to girlfriend at Edinburgh Zoo with ‘penguin pebble’.

“Every year when we place the pebbles and nest rings into Penguins Rock we love to see the penguins dash off to pick out perfect pebbles and present it to their mate.

It is nice to see how well the pairs look after each other and their eggs, as both parents will share the responsibility of incubating and raising the chicks

Penguin keeper Dawn Nicol

“It is also always nice to see how well the pairs look after each other and their eggs, as both parents will share the responsibility of incubating and raising the chicks.

“Once the Gentoos have found a mate and filled their nests with the best looking pebbles, the first eggs should start to appear in April, with the first hatchings in May after a 33-35 day incubation period.”

The zoo said the enclosure will also be home to same-sex penguin partnerships and keepers will allow them to become parents by giving them eggs from other nests which have too many.

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