A pair of male penguins mated to a Dutch zoo are so desperate for offspring that they steal eggs from another pair of penguins.
Two black-legged male penguins (Spheniscus demersus, also known as African penguins) at the DierenPark Amersfoort zoo in the Netherlands recently discovered incubating purloined eggs. Their nests – holding stolen eggs – are near the nests of male and female penguin couples, representatives of the zoo words in a statement.
The hatching season is already underway for the zoo penguin community, and males are most likely to scrub the eggs of their neighbors who are breeding for "an unattended moment," according to the statement.
Some of the chicks in the zoo penguin mother have hatched, and the animal keepers watch over the male pair, who alternately warm their sick eggs, DutchNews reports. But there is a possibility that the parents' dream will soon disappear, because stolen eggs may not be fertilized, according to Dutch News.
Before the antics of the Dutch penguins, pairs of penguins of the same sex had entered their hearts all over the world. Roy and Silo, male chinstrap penguins (Pygoscelis antarcticus) who lives at the Central Park Zoo in New York City, has been a partner for six years; Skip and Ping, the male king penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus), consciously combined at the Berlin Zoo; and Sphen and Magic, young male gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis Papua), find love at the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium in Australia.
All three same-sex couples grow eggs; Silo and Roy hatched their girl in 2004, while the Sphen and Magic girl – "Baby Sphengic" – hatched on October 19, 2018, aquarium announced on Twitter. But poor Skip and Ping still don't have children: Out of their attention, their unfertilized eggs "exploded" on September 2, the German news site Local report.
Penguins are not the only birds that form homosexual relationships. More than 130 bird species are known for homosexual behavior, which can include complex dating rituals, genital contact and even nesting together for years, Live Science previously reported.
Originally published in Direct Science.