Story at a glance

  • Two same-sex penguin partnerships formed this nesting season at the Melbourne Aquarium.
  • The aquarium’s lead bird keeper Tanith Davis said the couplings are not uncommon and that the facility frequently fosters eggs to same-sex Gentoo partnerships.
  • “Same-sex penguin pairs will court each other and incubate an egg exactly the same way as a male-female pair,” she said.

Two same-sex penguin partnerships formed this nesting season at the Melbourne Aquariuum. 

Tiger and Branston and Jones and Klaus are the latest same-sex pairings, the aquarium announced, according to The Australian Associated Press (AAP)

The aquarium’s lead bird keeper Tanith Davis told the AAP the couplings are not uncommon and the facility frequently fosters eggs to same-sex Gentoo partnerships. 

“Same-sex penguin pairs will court each other and incubate an egg exactly the same way as a male-female pair,” she said.

“As male-male pairs can’t lay their own eggs, we will sometimes foster an egg to them from another pair,” she added.

“Sea Life Melbourne has had many same-sex couples in our breeding history, and they have been doting parents,” she concluded.


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Gentoo penguins nest once per year prior to the beginning of spring and share parental responsibilities and nesting duties. 

Researchers have observed same-sex sexual behavior among more than 1,500 species, according to a 2019 study published in Nature Ecology and Evolution


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Published on Aug 18, 2021