Staff at a Sydney aquarium have said their first same-sex penguin couple are “absolute naturals” at parenting as they raise a foster egg.
Sphen and Magic — known as Sphengic — are two gentoo penguins at the Sea Life Aquarium in Sydney
According to staff, the pair developed a strong bond and became inseparable ahead of breeding season.
Staff saw them constantly waddling around and going for swims together in the aquarium’s Penguin Expedition.
And as breeding season approached, the pair started collecting ‘ice pebbles’ to create a nest in their favourite spot.
Penguin department supervisor Tish Hannan told ABC News aquarium staff suspected the pair were an item when they began noticing piles of the pebbles set up as a nest each day.
“We’d go over there and Magic and Spehn would be bowing to each other,” she said.
“Bowing is a gentoo way of saying they love each other, which is super cute.”
Staff gave the pair a dummy egg to allow them to practice incubating and develop their skills during breeding season.
“They were absolute naturals and displayed great care for their egg, so much so, the team at Sea Life Sydney fostered a real egg to them from another couple who had two,” the aquarium explained.
“Swapping duties daily, while one of the parents are doing their best to incubate the egg, the other is patrolling the perimeters of the nest, warding off any potential pebble thieves or over-inquisitive neighbours.
“Whilst Sphen is older and is excellent at incubating, Magic is younger and still mastering his skill.”
Watch Sphen and Magic in the aquarium’s videos below: