Thank you SANCCOB for this special delivery!
Roxy and Grommet are the proud parents again, and this time it's a boy! Chippy-Goodwill is the little brother of two big sisters - Miss Harold Custard and Clax. Roxy and Grommet are now experienced parents, and they incubated the egg themselves for about a month before we handed it over to the Chick Rearing Unit at the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) on 20 December 2017.
SANCCOB do incredible work rescuing and rehabilitating African seabirds, and their experience in rearing penguin chicks has been invaluable in ensuring the best health and survival of many of the Aquarium's penguin hatchlings. We knew that this little egg would be in great care!
Northern rockhopper penguin chicks typically hatch after 33 or 34 days of incubation, but not little Chippy-Goodwill. Thirty-five days after being laid, on Christmas Day, Chippy finally made his move - beginning to use his temporary egg-tooth to break out of his shell.
This takes a while, and it wasn't until 26 December, the Day of Goodwill, that Chippy finally "pipped", the tip of his beak protruding through his shell. Tiny Chippy-Goodwill, weighing just 74 grams, had finally hatched!
From the morning of the 27th, SANCCOB staff had their hands full with this "chipper" bundle of grey fuzz! Soon, DNA testing would reveal that Chippy-Goodwill is a boy!
With their decades of expertise, SANCCOB formulated the perfect diet for a young, growing penguin... and Chippy thrived in their care - growing thirty times his original size in less than three months to 2,2 kilograms!
SANCCOB once again did an incredible job rearing a penguin for us. Like Chippy's big sister Miss Harold Custard, we are looking forward to watching this bundle of joy develop and grow under our care at the Two Oceans Aquarium.
What makes Chippy-Goodwill unique?
Just like his big sister Miss Harold Custard, Chippy-Goodwill is a jealous little penguin, quick to notice when he is not the centre of attention, says Romy Klusner of SANCCOB. If you are ignoring him, you might be quickly reminded that he deserves a cuddle - by a small nip on your leg, Chippy's way of saying "Hey, I'm down here!"
Despite being a small, juvenile penguin, Chippy already has his "big boy" voice and has mastered the loud, adult rockhopper bray.
Unlike African penguins, who have unique spot patterns which can be used to tell individuals apart, rockhopper penguins do not have spots. Chippy-Goodwill is quite special, he has a single black feather on his right leg that will allow him to be easily identified for the rest of his life. To make things even cuter, his big sister Miss Harold Custard also has one of these unique spots, but hers is on the left leg.
Why are rockhopper penguins special?
Northern rockhopper penguins (Eudyptes moseleyi) are an endangered species found in the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Their breeding range is restricted to only seven islands within this area. The majority of northern rockhopper penguins can be found on Gough Island and the Tristan da Cunha group of islands.
Rockhopper penguins are the smallest of the crested penguin species. They live on rocky, inaccessible coasts. Due to their incredible jumping ability, they are recognised as “mountaineers” among penguins.
Thank you for rearing little Chippy SANCCOB!
SANCCOB and the Two Oceans Aquarium have a long history of collaboration, working together to educate the public about the beautiful seabirds that inhabit South Africa's waters.
If you would like to contribute to the incredible work being done by SANCCOB, you can do so by becoming a volunteer or by donating - you can pick where your money goes: sponsor an egg, donate a brick to their new care centre or help with the rearing of other little chicks (like Chippy).