Video: Kelly Tarlton's penguins prepare for breeding season

(3 News)
(3 News)

Penguins at Auckland's Kelly Tarlton's are hard at work preparing their nests for breeding season.

The gentoo penguins began their preparation last week when keepers put a pile of pebbles in their enclosure to build with.

"They pair up, they figure themselves out, and then they actually go and find the stones and then they go and build their nest with each other," says Kelly Tarlton's keeper Madeline Seaman.

It can be a competitive time for the birds which, at times, can be seen pinching pebbles from their neighbours' nests.

"We've had some do all the work, run all the way to the rock pile, and its neighbour will steal that stone straight away," says Ms Seaman. "They take advantage of each other, definitely."

Although there at yet to be any eggs laid, Ms Seaman says the first hatchings could occur by early November.

3 News