Petrels and Sheathbills

Petrels are similar in shape to albatrosses, but have only one nasal passage on top of their beaks, and are referred to as "tubenoses". Like albatrosses, they spend almost their entire lives at sea.

Giant petrel (Macronectes sp.)

flying on nest

Giant petrels will take eggs and chicks from other birds, including penguins. There are two species, northern (M. halli) and southern (M. giganteus).

Pintado (Cape) petrel (Daption capense)

on water in flight flying in formation

Pintado ("painted") petrels will eat almost anything and so often follow ships.

Snow petrel (Pagodroma nivalis)


Snow petrels breed on the Antarctic continent. They roost on icebergs.

Snowy (Yellow-billed) sheathbill (Sore-eyed pigeon) (Chionis alba)

walking at Gold Harbor nest in whale vertebrae at macaroni colony

Sheathbills are the only birds in Antarctica that have clawed instead of webbed feet. They are not good flyers, but swim well, and tend to walk long distances. They scavenge food in penguin colonies. They nest in cavities, this one in a whale bone.

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Last modified 7 November 2015