King penguin egg laid at Bourton's Birdland

First published in News
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Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

KEEPERS at Birdland Park and Gardens in Bourton-on-the-Water are celebrating the arrival of a giant king penguin egg.

The 318-gram, palm-sized egg was produced by long-term penguin partners Lily and Frank.

King penguins only produce one egg, and often will not breed for several years, so staff are taking no chances and have removed it and placed it in an incubator. If all goes well it should hatch out within two months.

The pair are already parents to king penguin Junior, who was born in 2006 and hand reared by head keeper Alistair Keen.

“We are thrilled to have the first king penguin egg of 2014 and are hopeful that it will be fertile and we will have a chick born later in the year,” said Alistair.

“The weather has been affecting the breeding pattern this year but now the warm weather has come they are all looking smart in their courting feathers and we have six pairs all looking likely to produce eggs,” he added.

There are 17 species of penguin in the world and the king penguin is the second largest, weighing up to 18kg. The largest is the emperor penguin, which can weigh 45kg and the smallest is the appropriately-named little penguin which weighs two kilogrammes.

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