Same-sex penguin duos become 'fab uncles'

Melbourne Aquarium recently welcomed the newest member of its gentoo penguin colony, named Chips.
Melbourne Aquarium recently welcomed the newest member of its gentoo penguin colony, named Chips.

In a story all-too-familiar to gay men everywhere, two same-sex penguin couples have been relegated to uncles after missing out on fostering an egg at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium this year.

The aquarium recently welcomed the newest member of its gentoo penguin colony, a little 1.4-kilogram fluff-ball called Chips.

It is the first and only gentoo chick born on site this year, with keepers unable to determine its gender until fledged.

Although the aquarium often fosters eggs to all-male penguin pairs, there were none to allocate this breeding season to newly-minted duos Klaus and Jones, and Tiger and Branston.

"Both Tiger and Branston and Klaus and Jones are thrilled to play the role of fabulous uncles to baby Chips," the Aquarium said in a statement to AAP.

Opportunities to babysit and bond with their "nephew", however, may be almost non-existent for quite some time due to Chips' protective mum Bruisey and dad Tuna.

"(They) have been a couple for a few years now, and have bred and raised chicks in the past," the aquarium's penguin team said.

"The parents will raise the chick together and they politely decline offers from the rest of the colony."

Gentoo penguins only nest once a year just before the start of spring and are usually monogamous throughout a season.

It means Klaus and Jones and Tiger and Branston will have to wait until next year for their chance to potentially raise a chick, but it might not necessarily be with each other.

Australian Associated Press