Marwell Zoo is celebrating after all four nesting pairs of resident Humboldt penguins welcomed new arrivals.

The chicks, who have all been named after nuts, arrived within a few days of each other and reflect a 100 per cent success rate for this year’s clutch.

Peanut, Pistachio, Cashew and Macadamia are expected to stay in their burrows for approximately 12 weeks, during which time their parents will take it in turns to feed them and watch the nest.

Hampshire Chronicle: Lucy with chick at Marwell Zoo

Jupiter and Billie’s chick, Peanut hatched on April 27. Pistachio was the second of the new arrivals meeting parents, Lurch and Calippo, on April 30 and shortly afterwards (May 5) Macadamia hatched in Lucy and Buddy’s nest. Cashew completed the crew on May 8 to Jacko and Lilly.

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Marwell Zoo senior bird keeper, Christopher Kent, said: “Initially the new chicks will have their natal down feathers (which are visible at the moment) but as they grow they will go through several moult phases to get them waterproof and able to swim.

“Their final immature plumage is a pale grey, being lighter on the underbelly, but not clearly defined like the adults.

“Once the chicks leave the nest the parents will continue to care for them on the pool for a few months at least. There will be lots of feeding and maybe a bit of squabbling to see amongst the colony, but this is all natural behaviour that we expect, especially with a bumper number of chicks this year.”

Humboldt penguins are native to the coasts of Chile and Peru and are listed as vulnerable to extinction on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species with populations decreasing.

Conservation charity Marwell Wildlife, which will receive the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development in July, owns and operates the zoo.

Marwell offers visitors the chance to get up close to amazing members of the animal kingdom, from Amur tigers to towering Rothschild’s giraffes.

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