Gentoo penguin chicks hatch at Edinburgh Zoo

A Gentoo penguin chick with its parent at Edinburgh Zoo's Penguin Rock. Picture: PA

A Gentoo penguin chick with its parent at Edinburgh Zoo's Penguin Rock. Picture: PA

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A NUMBER of Gentoo penguin chicks have hatched at Edinburgh Zoo, after a successful breeding season.

Sixteen chicks were born, with the first hatching on May 4.

A Gentoo penguin looks after its young chick at Edinburgh Zoo. Picture: PA

A Gentoo penguin looks after its young chick at Edinburgh Zoo. Picture: PA

Gentoo penguins are mostly found on a number of sub-Antarctic islands, including the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the Kerguelen Islands

Smaller colonies are known to live on Macquarie Island, the Heard Islands, South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula.

The penguins form breeding colonies each year, with each couple making a nest out of stones, grass and moss.

Female Gentoos will tend to lay up to two eggs, which both the male and female will incubate for between 30 - 40 days.

The Gentoo chicks fledge around 85 - 117 days after hatching, but continue to be fed by their parents for another four weeks.

Edinburgh Zoo is currently home to more than 70 Gentoo penguins, and are described by their keepers as ‘active and curious’, with ‘exuberant personalities’.

Senior Penguin Keeper Dawn Nicoll added: “We have had a very successful breeding season this year and we are very happy with the outcome.

“The chicks are starting to wander from the nest now and explore their new home; however, there are still a number of much younger chicks that will still sit on the nests for a while.”

“The hatchlings’ personalities are starting to show now and they are definitely a feisty bunch. They are becoming more confident and the older ones are starting to hand-feed.

“Breeding season is always a busy time for us, but we will get a lot busier now as the chicks start wandering around and moving to the crèche.”