After capturing the hearts of the world back in December, Charlie the ‘sassy and hungry’ Gentoo Chick born at SEA LIFE Sydney last year has started swimming lessons!

Charlie – who is now three months old, was given a routine health check, with keepers monitoring its flippers, beak, and weight before being given the all-clear to jump in for a swim with the assistance of the Keepers.

“Since we announced Charlie to the world last month, we’re pleased to report they are still measuring at a healthy weight! Charlie has just finished moulting its juvenile feathers and has grown its first-ever waterproof plumage.

Today is an important milestone for Charlie, as we embark on swimming lessons!” said Patrick Nelson, Penguin Keeper at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium.

“Every penguin chick is unique, and some chicks love the water whilst others are a bit more nervous. Charlie was quite nervous ahead of the swimming lessons today which is definitely not unexpected! Learning to swim with over 30 adult Gentoo Penguins watching you must be a little be daunting, but Charlie gave us the signal today when she was ready to get out.

Both of Charlie’s parents are very confident swimmers so it’s expected to be an absolute natural in no time,” added Patrick.

Gentoo penguins are known to be the fastest underwater swimming bird in the world, so within the next few weeks and months – guests will be able to admire Charlie swimming up to 36 km/hour.


Blood samples from Charlie will be sent for DNA testing to confirm its sex, and this will be shared in the next few weeks.

Out of the 18 penguin species worldwide, 12 of them are experiencing declining populations due to habitat loss, decreasing food stability, and human practices impacting breeding and foraging success.

Guests can visit Charlie in the Penguin Expedition exhibit at Sea Life Sydney Aquarium.

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