Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Snow petrel

Pagodroma nivea

(Photo from Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:

Order Procellariiformes
Family Procellariidae

This species is confined to the pack ice of Antarctica and the adjacent Antarctic seas. They breed in the islands of South Georgia, South Shetland, South Sandwich, South Orkney, Bouvet and Scott, and in several location on the Antarctic mainland.

The snow petrel is 30-40 cm long and has a wingspan 75-95 cm. They weigh up to 570 g.

They are typically found over the pack ice or out at sea, often seen flying in between icebergs. Although mostly staying near the breeding colonies, they may wander the seas north to 55º S.

They mostly take their food on the wing, but will also forage from the edges of the pack ice. They feed mainly on fish, some cephalopods, mollusks and krill as well as carrion.

Snow petrels breed in November-May. The nests are simple pebble-lined scrapes usually in a deep rock crevices with overhanging protection. The female lay a single white egg which is incubated by both parents for 41-49 days. The chick is fed by both parents and fledges 7 weeks after hatching.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
With a population of 4 million and a very large breeding range, the species is not considered threatened at present.

No comments:

Post a Comment