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Love is love: Gentoo Penguin couples lead the way

Same-sex pairs are not uncommon in the animal and bird world, both in the wild and in captivity. These Gentoo Penguins at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium in Australia are a case in point.

The annual nesting season for Gentoo Penguins, that are found in their natural habitat in Antarctica and the Falkland Islands, has just begun. Couples pair up for the entire breeding and nesting season and can be found searching for the perfect smooth stones with which to build nests. In fact, it’s said that a male can win over the mate of his dreams with the right rock (and we don’t mean a diamond!).

And it seems that same-sex couples are a thing in the penguin world too, like the ones at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium. Among the cute new couples who have paired up for this season, are Tiger & Branston and Jones & Klaus, two male same-sex penguin couples who are busy building nests and are all set to help foster the babies of other couples even if they can’t lay an egg themselves.

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Jones and Klaus share a moment. Image: Courtesy SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium.

Gentoos, which eat mostly crustaceans, small fish, and squid, can weigh around eight kgs each and reach a height of between 51 and 90 cms. They are not only the third largest penguins in size, but also the fastest underwater-swimming bird in the world, reaching speeds of up to 36 kms per hour! You can easily tell a Gentoo by the white stripe extending like a turban or bonnet across its head and its bright orange-red bill. Thanks to its rather long tail which sticks out behind and moves from side to side when the penguin waddles along on land, it gets the scientific name Pygoscelis, which means ‘rump-tailed’.

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Loving Gentoo couple in Antarctica. Image: Shutterstock/Nuki Sharir.

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