Photo of the week: Fit for a king


A baby king penguin was born at Antwerp Zoo last weekend, the first in three years

Peep peep, hurrah!

A baby king penguin was born at Antwerp Zoo last weekend, the first to be born there in three years. It’s good news for the zoo, where the king penguin colony is down to 10 members.

The male baby, named Urban, is the offspring of father Eddy, who joined the colony from Edinburgh two years ago, and mother Ra, herself born at the zoo in 2016. Urban weighed 256 grams when he came out of the egg, a good size for a baby penguin.

Zookeepers spotted the brand new egg in early August and quickly replaced it with a fake egg so they could better ensure the baby’s survival by keeping the egg in an incubator. The parents continued brooding the egg, which hatched after 57 days – quite average for a penguin egg.


The penguin was born in the afternoon and kept in the incubator overnight before being placed under his father. “It’s crucial that the baby be placed under the parent that is sitting on the egg at the time,” explained Heidi Van Soest, one of the zoo’s bird specialists. “Now the parents are both paying the chick a great deal of attention and taking turns brooding him.”

While king penguins usually don’t mate for life, this pair are quite fond of each other, according to Van Soest. “They’re really love birds, almost inseparable; they always walk around together.”

While Urban is being protected by one of his parents at any given time, visitors can try to get a peek at him in the zoo’s penguin enclosure. The zoo is also home to two other, smaller penguin species. Altogether, there are more than 40 penguins at the zoo.

Photo courtesy Antwerp Zoo