Cormorants, Gulls, and Terns

Imperial (King) Cormorants (Blue-eyed shags) (Phalacrocorax georgianus, Phalacrocorax atriceps)

colony at Paulet Island blue-eyed shag chick adult shag feeding chick on New Island

breeding adult blue-eyed shag non-breeding adult non-breeding adult at Paulet Island on nest, New Island

Cormorants are called "shags" in Britain. The orange growth (caruncles) at the base of the beak and the bright blue around the eye fade after breeding season. They are rarely seen out of sight of land. Cormorants are expert divers and can dive to great depths with their strong webbed feet. They do not spread their wings out to dry after diving like temperate-climate cormorants do.

Kelp (Dominican or Southern black-backed) Gull (Larus dominicanus)

adult kelp gull on nest, New Island juvenile kelp gull in flight, Saunders Island

This is the only true gull of the Southern Ocean. They scavenge from petrel and skua kills and in penguin colonies, but mostly eat limpets.

Antarctic Tern (Sterna vittata)

Antarctic tern

These terns breed and spend their entire lives around the southern islands. Arctic terns migrate to the Antarctic during the northern winter.

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Last modified 7 November 2015