11/10/2011 06:30 pm ET Updated Jan 10, 2012

San Francisco Zoo Receives Six Magellanic Penguins (PHOTOS)

The San Francisco zoo received a gaggle of adorable new residents last week when six rescued penguins waddled into their new home.

The birds, part of a group of hundreds rescued in Brazil three years ago after becoming stranded from their feeding grounds, were donated to the zoo from the Monterey Aquarium. Their addition brings the zoo's total number of Magellanic penguins to 51.


The Magellanic penguin species has fallen on dire times in recent years. According to scientists, their food supply has diminished due to a combination of commercial fishing, oil pollution and climate change. The warm-weather animals tend to breed mostly south of the border, in colonies off the coast of countries like Argentina and Chile.

The graceful birds have long served as inspiration for poets and artists. "Neither clown nor child nor black / nor white but verticle / and a questioning innocence / dressed in night and snow," wrote famed Chilean poet Pablo Neruda in his piece "Magellanic Penguin."

The San Francisco zoo boasts the largest collection of such penguins in any aquarium or zoo in the world.

Take a look at images of the feathered friends below, and be sure to stop by the San Francisco zoo to catch them in action on Penguin Island.