Home on the Rocks

The Humboldt penguins at the Milwaukee County Zoo love to eat fish, waddle, preen, play and swim. Soon, you’ll even be able to watch them climbing new rock paths and enjoying their dens in their remodeled habitat. The Zoological Society of Milwaukee is raising money for improvements to their exhibit, and your family can help.

Below, you can watch a morning video of the penguins' routine, help a penguin climb up a rock, and pair up these fun-loving swimmers.

Penguin Bath: Rub-a-Dub-Dub

The Humboldt penguins’ morning routine is probably like your own. They wake up, eat breakfast, and wash up. This video shows how the Milwaukee County Zoo’s Humboldt penguins splash around and preen (clean their feathers) to get ready for the day. This routine was captured the morning of Dec. 27, 2008, by Britton Jones. He works in guest services for the Zoological Society of Milwaukee. Jones, who studies conservation and environmental science at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, loves to visit the Zoo on a day off. Though the penguins may look silly, they aren’t trying to be. They’re doing the same things they would do in the wild. Humboldt penguins are found along the coasts of Chile and Peru in South America.

Penguin Pairs

Love is in the air (and water)! Eight of the Zoo’s 11 Humboldt penguins are paired with a mate. Usually penguins stay with the same mate. If a bird loses its mate, it will find a new one. At the Zoo, when Arisco’s mate died from West Nile virus, she found a new mate. Each penguin pair wears their own colored wing bands. Females have bands on their left wing, and males have bands on their right wing. To find these penguin pairs when you visit the Zoo, look for their colored bands (see the females below for the colors; their mate wears the same color). Using the clues below, write the name of the male mate (see list below) next to each female.


Match thes males to their mates above:

He hatched at our Zoo, but his mate is German-born.
This Spanish-named lover likes to swim, eat and play.
As a chick, he was good at “escaping” from his holding area. He adores his well-traveled mate.
He prefers a petite penguin as a mate.

Click here to view the penguin pair answers

Rocky Route

In the wild, Humboldt penguins make nests on the rocky, steep shores of Chile and Peru in South America. Parents and chicks find each other by making noises. The adults sound like a donkey, and the chicks peep. Penguin moms and dads take turns caring for little ones. Penguins eat fish like sardines and anchovies. Penguin parents have to go to the ocean for fish. They slip and slide down a rocky slope. Then they climb back up the hill. Help this penguin dad get back to his family! Stay within
the white lines to get home. Be sure to avoid sea lions and foxes (they eat penguins!).

Click here to view the maze solution
Rocky Route