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Meet our penguins - Penguin Awareness Day 2021

20/01/2021 in Edinburgh Zoo

Here at Edinburgh Zoo, we are home to the largest outdoor penguin pool in Europe, with three different species and over 100 individuals.

This Penguin Awareness Day, keeper Liz Robertson, would like to introduce you to some of our cheeky penguins, who you can also watch live on our penguin cam.

Mrs Wolowitz

This lovely lady is the oldest (and sassiest!) penguin in the colony and will be celebrating her 34th birthday this year. Always giving the keepers a honk when they arrive in the morning, Mrs Wolowitz isn’t afraid to tell the younger penguins off for getting in her space and isn’t shy about making herself known at feeding time, barging to the front of the queue.  Although she’s going grey in her older years, she is still feisty as ever.

Sir Nils Olav

Nils is our most famous penguin, appearing in the news and often as an answer on quiz shows. His full title is Brigadier Sir Nils Olav III, mascot and colonel in chief of the Norwegian Kings Guard. He's a very sociable penguin and you will find he spends time hanging out with all three species here at Penguins Rock. Often you’ll be able to spot him with the rockhoppers, waiting for us at the keepers’ gate. He enjoys attention from us and has been known to flirt with tall men!


Little Silvey is two-year-old gentoo who is by far the most flirtatious in the colony. She loves to ‘bow hiss’ at the keepers - especially if we have her favourite treat, sprats! She is also well-known as the best at stealing sprats from the bucket and has been known to take them from the beaks of the rockhoppers. If you have a bucket of fish, Silvey is never far away...


Maui is particularly special as he was the first Northern rockhopper chick bred at Edinburgh Zoo in eight years, hatching in 2017. His arrival was the start of four years of successful breeding for this critically endangered species! Every keeper has a love-hate relationship with this mischievous rockhopper - we all have our suspicions that he has a secret arrangement with gentoos Colin, Madge and Silvey, to provide them with sprat fish he takes from us! Maui is the fussiest eater of the colony (a cover for his secret agreement) with very much a teenage attitude.

Did you know?

Penguins have been an integral part of our charity’s history, since we opened in 1913 and we play an important part in their conservation around the globe.

Project Pinnamin, a collaboration between RZSS, the British Antarctic Survey, RSPB, Tristan Conservation and the Government of South Africa, is spearheading research to help improve the understanding of the northern rockhopper and the factors affecting its population numbers on Tristan da Cunha, in the South Atlantic Ocean. This research will inform conservation measures to help secure the future for this endangered species.

You can help

It costs £130 every day to keep our penguin colony well fed. If you can, please help feed these cheeky characters today by donating at


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