Meet Georgia Aquarium’s two love birds, Charlie and Lizzy!

Photo by: c/o Georgia Aquarium

c/o Georgia Aquarium

Love is in the Air (and the Water) at Georgia Aquarium

By: Georgia Aquarium

Penguins are among the few animals that mate for life; we call this pair bonding. It must have been “bond at first sight” for Charlie and Lizzy, two African penguins at Georgia Aquarium who have been pair-bonded for about 28 years.

February 14, 2022

Charlie and Lizzy are our two oldest African penguins at the Aquarium and our oldest known penguin pair. Charlie is 36 years old, and Lizzy will be 35 in March. The average lifespan for African penguins in their natural habitat is 10-15 years, so they have far exceeded their life expectancy!

Like many animals, African penguins use body language and vocalizations to attract a mate. They can be seen shaking their heads and making loud mating calls. They also display these behaviors when “flirting” with their bonded partner. Charlie and Lizzy are often seen displaying head shakes, vocalizations, and “flirty eyes” as our trainers like to say.

While Charlie and Lizzy are off-exhibit due to their age and to monitor their health, they are under close watch by our animal care team and often take strolls around the Aquarium’s exhibits. In their natural habitat, African penguins spend their time exploring, foraging for fish, and walking the beaches. We mimic these explorations by taking our penguins on regular walks around our galleries. This allows them to discover new areas outside of their habitat and serves as enrichment. For Charlie and Lizzy, these walks do just that and are a form of exercise.

Charlie and Lizzy’s heartwarming love story is one of our favorites to share. We enjoy watching their relationship continue to flourish as they “flirt” and take romantic strolls around the Aquarium, waddling wing-in-wing.

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