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Kansas City Zoo welcomes first macaroni penguins in its 110-year history

baby macaroni penguina kc zoo 3.jpg
Posted at 5:24 PM, Dec 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-10 18:24:50-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Zoo is welcoming its first macaroni penguins in its 110-year history.

The zoo posted pictures of the baby penguins to its Facebook page Tuesday afternoon.

Macaroni penguins are a species listed as vulnerable to extinction native to the Subantarctic.

They are called "macaroni" for their distinctive yellow crest of feathers above their eyes. According to the zoo's post, English explorers thought the name fit the flashy birds, as in the 18th century, a man who wore feathers in his cap was called a "macaroni." (Remember Yankee Doodle?)

The penguin eggs came from SeaWorld in San Diego, the zoo said, and were hatched in incubators in Kansas City.

"Now, eight fluffy chicks are being hand-raised by zookeepers behind the scenes," the zoo wrote in the post.

The chicks, which each weighed just 92 grams at hatching, gain 10 percent to 15 percent of their body weight daily, the zoo said.

The babies require up to six daily feedings of herring, krill and a vitamin "smoothie."

The zoo said it expects the chicks to be out and about at the Helzberg Penguin Plaza within the next few weeks.