Two gay penguin couples have paired up at Melbourne aquarium


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Image: Sea Life Melbourne

Melbourne’s Sea Life aquarium has said two gay penguin couples in their colony have paired up for their nesting season.

Gentoo penguins are monogamous and mate for life, and same-sex pairings are not uncommon both in captivity and in the wild.

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The Melbourne aquarium says in their gentoo penguin colony, duos Tiger and Branston and Jones and Klaus have gotten together.

Lead bird keeper Tanith Davis explained the aquarium had often fostered eggs to male-male penguin pairs.

“Same-sex penguin pairs will court each other and incubate an egg exactly the same way as a male-female pair,” she said.

“As male-male pairs can’t lay their own eggs, we will sometimes foster an egg to them from another pair.”

All the penguin couples court their partners by bringing ice pebbles to each other, Sea Life explains.

It’s the birds’ mating ritual, and the couple will later use the stones to build a nest and incubate eggs together.

Davis said all of Sea Life Melbourne’s previous same-sex couples in their penguin colony were all doting parents.

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Melbourne penguins join Sydney’s world famous gay penguin power couple

The two new gay penguin pairs in Melbourne join Sydney’s world famous gay penguin power couple Sphen and Magic.

The penguins made worldwide headlines when they were “inseparable” during breeding season at Sea Life Sydney in 2018.

At Sea Life Sydney, Sphen and Magic successfully incubated a fostered egg together and hatched a female chick (below), later named Lara.

sydney gay penguin couple sphen magic dads

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Female gentoo penguins typically produce two eggs, but can often only hatch and care for one.

As a result many male same-sex penguin pairs have fostered abandoned eggs from others in aquarium colonies.

Last November Sea Life Sydney announced Sphen and Magic hatched a second egg, becoming dads again.

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