At 8 weeks old, the baby penguin that flaunted its brilliant coat of indigo-colored feathers yesterday at the New England Aquarium is already full grown. The foot-tall bird weighed 2 to 3 pounds, and it will not get any bigger, no matter how many herring and smelt it eats.
That’s how the species, which is the tiniest in the world, earned the name little blue penguins. The aquarium has not determined the gender of the baby or given it a name.
Waddling for news cameras in its debut yesterday, the chick may have sparked jealousy in the 13 other little blues on exhibit, whose plumage has dulled and grayed with age.
The chick hatched April 6 from a golf-ball-size egg and had been kept separate from the other 60 penguins on exhibit, which include the 2-foot-tall African and rockhopper penguins. The pint-size little blues hail from Australia and New Zealand and make up for their small stature with loud barks, chirps, and squeaks, said Paul Leonard, the aquarium’s penguin specialist.
“Even though they are little ones, they act very big and tough,” Leonard said.