The ultimate wingman! Partially blind penguin makes ‘guide-bird’ friend who helps her find food

  • Partially blind penguin named Squid relies on her pal, Penguin, to guide her
  • Squid has cataracts and struggles to see, but is rarely far away from Penguin

Penguins are known to be among the most social of all birds. 

But a pair at a bird park in Surrey have formed a particularly close friendship. 

A partially blind penguin named Squid relies on her pal, called Penguin, to guide her around their home. 

Squid has cataracts and struggles to see, but is rarely far away from Penguin – particularly at mealtimes. 

‘The intuitive behaviour observed between Penguin and Squid has revealed a remarkable level of empathy and understanding, showcasing the profound connections that can form within the animal kingdom,’ said Polly Branham, Living Collections Manager at Birdworld.

Penguinsare known to be among the most social of all birds. But a pair at a bird park in Surrey have formed a particularly close friendship. A partially blind penguin named Squid relies on her pal, called Penguin, to guide her around their home

Penguinsare known to be among the most social of all birds. But a pair at a bird park in Surrey have formed a particularly close friendship. A partially blind penguin named Squid relies on her pal, called Penguin, to guide her around their home

From their early days as chicks, the close-knit duo amazed keepers with their remarkable relationship at Birdworld in Surrey.

Squid, often disoriented during busy feeding times, relies on Penguin’s unwavering calmness.

By standing close to the keepers, Penguin inadvertently became Squid’s beacon, guiding her around the enclosure and acting as her eyes.

Penguin’s journey began during the pandemic, facing an unknown illness that required hands-on care from Birdworld’s team.

This challenging start made him exceptionally timid, but he overcame these hurdles, growing stronger and eventually integrating with the colony.

When Squid was hatched, she displayed the typical lively and vocal traits of a penguin chick, despite developing cataracts at just six weeks old – a unique occurrence within her otherwise healthy family.

Squid has cataracts and struggles to see, but is rarely far away from Penguin - particularly at mealtimes

Squid, often disoriented during busy feeding times, relies on Penguin's unwavering calmness

By standing close to the keepers, Penguin inadvertently became Squid’s beacon, guiding her around the enclosure and acting as her eyes 

Having been nurtured within the colony, Squid honed her skills alongside her peers. 

As she ventured from the nest, Penguin, too, was embracing his newfound strength on the beach, learning the essence of being a penguin.

Their simultaneous journeys of discovery led to a remarkable relationship, with Squid’s boldness perfectly complemented by Penguin’s patience, making them an inseparable duo.

Senior Penguin Keeper, Natalie Marshall said: ‘We didn’t expect Penguin and Squid to form such a close bond, and it’s evident that Penguin’s resilience significantly influenced Squid’s self-assurance.’