Three new chicks join the Oregon Zoo's Humboldt penguin colony - KPTV - FOX 12

Three new chicks join the Oregon Zoo's Humboldt penguin colony

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A recently hatched Humboldt penguin gets a checkup at the Oregon Zoo. (Source: Michael Durham/Oregon Zoo) A recently hatched Humboldt penguin gets a checkup at the Oregon Zoo. (Source: Michael Durham/Oregon Zoo)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

This month, the Oregon Zoo welcomed three new Humboldt penguin chicks to the colony.

Zoo keepers say the penguins' genders won't be known until their first full veterinary checkup, which will take place in about three months.

The new arrivals are staying warm in their nest boxes and growing strong on a diet of regurgitated "fish smoothie" provided by their parents, according to zoo keepers.

"The chicks look like velvety gray plush toys," said curator Michael Illig, who oversees the zoo's birds and species recovery programs. "They weigh just a few ounces and can fit in the palm of your hand."

Visitors will be able to view the young penguins this summer, once the chicks fledge and begin to explore the zoo's penguinarium.

By summer, the three chicks will be grayish-brown all over and be nearly as tall as the adult Humboldts. Their distinctive black-and-white tuxedo markings won't develop for a couple more years.

Humboldt penguins live along the South American coastline off Peru and Chile. In 2010, the penguins were granted protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

Through the Future for Wildlife program, the Oregon Zoo has supported Peru-based conservation organization ACOREMA's work to protect Humboldt penguins.

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