Same-sex penguin couple celebrates three-year anniversary

Sphen and Magic have reached a milestone in their relationship

Olivia Petter
Monday 29 November 2021 16:37
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A pair of same-sex penguins in Australia are celebrating their third anniversary this year after remaining “inseparable” for the course of their relationship, according to the Sea Life Sydney Aquarium.

News of Sphen and Magic’s love affair came to light in 2018 when they adopted and incubated an egg at the Darling Harbour facility.

They hatched a chick together that was named Lara by the Sydney Aquarium keepers.

Following their success raising Lara, the penguins were given another chick to take care of, which hatched in November 2020.

Now that they’ve reached three years together, Magic and Sphen will be marking the milestone at the Sydney Aquarium by enjoying a frozen fish cake to share with their fellow penguins in the colony.

The aquarium’s penguin keeper, Kiera Ponting, said she was “thrilled” to see the happy couple still together and described them as one of the most devoted couples in the colony.

“Magic still regularly collects the most perfect pebble that he can find for Sphen, displaying what a great hunter and partner he can be,” Ms Ponting told

“They set a great example to the rest of the colony. They’re inseparable and proving just how strong penguin bonds can be.

“We’ve noticed many of the newer penguin couples setting up their nests close to Sphen and Magic, which we think is them trying to learn from the best.”

The keepers first started to noticed Sphen and Magic’s fondness for each other when they began bringing each other carefully selected pebbles for a nest.

Had either not been interested, they would have rejected the pebbles by pushing them away with their beak. Instead, each admired the pebbles they were given.

“You would see Magic standing in his spot looking for Sphen, and he would call and Sphen would come running over and give Magic a little bow and sing as well,” Tish Hannan, head of penguin supervision at the aquarium, said at the time. “They’ve chosen each other. That’s it. They’re bonded now.”

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