Sydney’s gay penguin couple may become dads for the second time


Sydney Gay Penguin Couple sphen magic baby sphengic gentoo gay penguins
Sydney's gay penguin couple with foster baby Sphengic. Photo: Sea Life Aquarium

Sydney’s gay penguin power couple Sphen and Magic may – fingers crossed – soon become parents for the second time.

Last August, the gentoo penguin duo went viral when aquarium staff announced they were inseparable ahead of breeding season.

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Aquarium staff gave them a foster egg, which they successfully hatched a year ago. Baby Sphengic celebrated her first birthday this month.

Now staff at Sea Life Sydney say they’ve given Sphen and Magic another egg to foster.

“Our strongest penguin power couple Sphen and Magic are still together, for the second year in a row,” penguin department supervisor Tish Hannan said.

“We noticed that another couple were struggling to incubate two eggs at the same time.

“We made the decision to foster the second egg to Sphen and Magic.

“Baby Sphengic may or may not have a little baby brother or sister in a few weeks. We’re yet to confirm if the egg is fertile.”

Hannan said the gay penguins have built another nest out of ice pebbles for the annual breeding season.

“[Sphen and Magic] are the ones with the biggest, most beautiful and possibly neatest nest in the entire exhibit,” she said.

“They’re fantastic parents – both very loyal and protective. Baby Sphengic, who turned one on October 19, had an excellent start to life under their care.

“While she’s still a bundle of energy and very loud, she’s matured nicely.”

Gay penguins Sphen and Magic built a nest together for breeding season

Sphen and Magic are two male gentoo penguins at the Sydney Sea Life aquarium.

The gay penguins went viral around the world when staff announced they had become inseparable. They bowed to each other – a common way of showing love – and built an ice pebble nest together for breeding season.

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Intrigued, staff gave them a dummy egg to the pair to practice their incubating skills on. When they took to it, staff gave them a foster egg from a mother who had two.

Gentoo penguins usually only have enough resources to successfully raise one, meaning usually only one survives.

The couple’s baby was named Sphengic, combining the two dad’s names, as her gender was not known until January.

Penguin parents share equal responsibility of raising young, building and maintaining the nest, with undefined gender roles in the species.

Sphengic was the first sub-Antarctic penguin to be born at the aquarium since the colony arrived in November 2016.

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