Edinburgh Zoo is celebrating the birth of nine gentoo penguin chicks that were hatched this week.

The zoo said in a statement on various different social media outlets: “We’ve been sitting on a secret. Our gentoo eggs have started hatching! Staff at the wildlife conservation charity were delighted to report nine have emerged so far and hope more will follow in the coming weeks. The first month is critical so se will be keeping a close eye on the new arrivals.”

The first two egg hatchings took place on Saturday 1 May, to parents Muffin and Mittens, followed by the other six. Zoo staff are excited by the notion that there may be more chicks emerging very soon and are keeping a diligent eye out for any new egg hatches.

Gentoo penguins populate the Antarctic Penisula and frozen islands – their most dominant features being their white-feather caps and vibrant red-orange beaks. They are the world’s third most largest penguin, reaching a height of 30 inches and a weight of 12 pounds.

Gentoo parents are known for forming long-lasting bonds and are highly nuturing towards their young, building a circular nest of stones, moss, grass, and feathers during breeding. During the incubation period, the mother deposits two eggs which both parents take turns looking after before the chicks are ready for birth.

Gentoo chicks weigh around 98g when they hatch, equivalent to half the size of an avocado. 

Furthermore, those who love animals and are interested in zoology actually have the exciting chance to watch the gentoo penguin chicks develop without even having to leave the comfort of home.

The zoo currently has a “penguin cam” available to watch on their website, where budding enthusiasts can view the new arrivals directly from their nests and gush over how adorable they are. The webcam has a view over the penguin habitat, consisting of ring-shaped nests and a pool for them to swim in, and can be watched for 24 hours a day.

Visitors hoping to visit the habitat and see the gentoo penguin chicks in person have to pre-book zoo tickets before their visit. You can order tickets here: tickets.edinburghzoo.org.uk.

The zoo is currently open seven days a week to visitors across from the UK – 10.00am till 6.00pm.

The Royal Zoological Society of Edinburgh Zoo is home to more than 100 penguins from the king, northern rockhopper and gentoo species.

To watch the penguin livestream on Edinburgh Zoo’s website, click here.