Humboldt beginnings: Penguin chick hatches at Oregon Zoo

A recently hatched Humboldt penguin gets a checkup at the Oregon Zoo. Photo by Michael Durham, courtesy of the Oregon Zoo.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A Humboldt penguin chick hatched at the Oregon Zoo this week.

And he or she may have a sibling in the coming days.

“The first hatching went really smoothly,” said Gwen Harris, the zoo’s senior keeper of birds. “The chick looks healthy, and the parents — Blue and Esquela — are very attentive. They’re also sitting on another egg right now, and with any luck a second chick will hatch in a couple days.”

The chicks should be visible to visitors by next spring, although they will be nearly as tall as the adults by then, according to the Oregon Zoo.

Humboldt penguins live along the South American coastline off of Peru and Chile.

The birds are classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

In 2010 they were granted protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

What's in a name?

Like the Humboldt River in Nevada and Humboldt County, California, the penguins are named in honor of the Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt, an influential 19th century cartographer and naturalist.

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