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The second largest species of penguin, the King is native to the outlying islands which surround Antarctica. These three foot tall birds with their striking golden chest plumage are truly magnificent. You can find our flock of kings in Helzberg Penguin Plaza.
Buddy Love, a 18 year old king penguin became very stiff in his left leg while he was incubating his egg. Once the egg was traded off to the mother (Ricky), it became apparent to zookeepers how stiff he was.
Our Animal Health staff have been treating him, and we are using “hydro therapy” to help loosen his joints. We put Buddy in the penguin pool so that he can work that joint without having to put his weight on it and it seems to be helping!
Each night, we encourage him to leave the pool but sometimes he refuses to come out. Sometimes Buddy Love chooses to stay in the water overnight. He has been seen getting out on his own, so if he really wants to come out of the water he is able. King penguins will often swim for very long periods of time to find food so he is perfectly fine in the pool. However, as an extra precaution we do have Zoo staff checking on him periodically, even throughout the night.
Yes – We have had 5 Gentoo penguin chicks hatch since we opened the exhibit in 2013. The Kings have not laid eggs yet, but if they do we will let them hatch them out as well.
The air and water are both kept at 45° F.
They are fed twice per day and they get to eat as much as they want.
Yes – All of the penguins have names, and we can tell them apart by the bands they wear on their wings. I am not sure how good the definition is on the camera but some of the penguins have bands that have their names written on them.
King, Gentoo in this exhibit and Humboldt in our indoor/outdoor exhibit.
We currently have 16 King penguins and 38 Gentoo penguins in the exhibit you can see on the web cam. We also have 19 Humboldt penguins that live in a different exhibit.
Penguins actually live in very large groups in the wild. They like to live together in close quarters, but need space to swim, nest, and rest, all of which we have at the Kansas City Zoo.
That is Elvis one of our King Penguins. He wears the feathers in that spot down every year. We believe it is from him rubbing his belly on the ramps as he gets out of our pools. He tends to be one of our chunkier penguins.