Gay Penguin Couple Sphen and Magic Become Parents Again

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday November 24, 2020

Internationally famous gay penguins Sphen and Magic are now proud parents for the second time, OUT in Perth reports.

Sphen and Magic, a pair of gay Gentoo penguins, first came to international attention in 2018 when, as EDGE previously reported, "they fostered an egg and successfully hatched and cared for a female chick" at the SEA LIFE Aquarium in Sydney, Australia. The pair was the first at the aquarium, as OUT in Perth notes, to "successfully incubate and raise a chick — a baby girl named Lara." The aquarium notes that Sphen and Magic have been wonderful parents to Lara.

The newest addition to Sphen and Magic's penguin family is one of a pair of chicks, with the oldest having been born in mid-October and the younger being only two weeks old. Kerrie Dixon, Penguin Supervisor at the aquarium, said "We are beyond excited to welcome the new penguin chicks to our colony. They are doing really well and gaining weight. They started at around 95grams, now our oldest is almost 2kg and the youngest is sitting at around 399grams."

According to the Star Observer, a spokesperson for the aquarium said ""If one of our pairs has too many eggs or are not good at looking after their eggs we will sometimes foster these eggs out to other pairs like Sphen and Magic. We gave Sphen and Magic an egg to incubate as they have proven to be good parents in the past."

The aquarium also noted that same-sex pairings among Gentoo penguins — and other species as well — are more common than most people might think:

"Penguins, including Gentoo Penguins, are among the many species in which male-male or female-female pairing occur frequently and we are fortunate to have our own male-male pair — Sphen and Magic — here at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium. Just like our other Gentoo parents, Sphen and Magic are attentive and incredibly caring and we feel privileged to have such an amazing duo in our colony."

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.