Southern Giant Petrels (SGP’s) are the largest birds in the pelagic petrel family with wingspans of up to 6.7 feet.
They live in the southern hemisphere and are circumpolar, distributed in the sub-antarctic to Antarctica.
They are bigger than Northern Giant Petrels and are rated one of the ten oddest looking birds in the world due to their unusual stacked bi-valve nostrils joined together on the top of their beaks.
This bivalve, in combination with a saline eliminating gland, helps them eliminate salt from the large quantities of saltwater they consume.
Like pelagic Albatrosses, SGP’s spend the first two to three years of their lives entirely at sea. White phase SGP’s, like the one flying here, are rare, constituting less than 5% of the SGP population.
It is incredible to watch them mid-ocean taking off, catching wind drafts and soaring like kites.
They are aggressive predators and scavengers, and incredibly skillful fliers, navigating the storms, waves and winds of the southern ocean with apparent ballet-like ease.
SGP’s were a vulnerable to near-threatened species for a long time, due mostly to fishing practices, but may be making a comeback.
It is also amazing to see them in the open ocean, resting in their pelagic home.
Cheers to you from the amazing birds of the southern hemisphere~
139 thoughts on “Southern Giant Petrels~”
Very interesting looking bird. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos ❤️
Thank you more for appreciating them!
Thank you for this post. Living in New York I have never seen such an odd looking bird.
Yes, they definitely get your attention!
Stunning photos, Cindy. How you capture these close-ups and flying birds so well is amazing! Great birds, too!
You are a lovely person. Thank you & cheers too~
Cindy, these are beautiful! Such an unusual looking bird! Thanks for sharing your adventure. 🙂
Thanks much & I so enjoy traveling with you virtually~
I enjoy traveling with you virtually, too, Cindy! 🙂
Those are great photos of birds that I haven’t seen any information on. I was trying to understand what circumpolar was and wikipedia wasn’t a lot of help. I like it when I learn something new. Thank you.
I learn too, both from writing my own blog, and reading other blogs. Bloggers rock!
Wow. That is some wingspan! I saw the giant albatross in NZ on a Whale Watch trip, and thought they were big!
I simply love albatross. They are such elegant birds. I got photos of Wandering Albatross’s on this trip and they have the longest wingspan in the world.
I love the word pelagic. And the word benthnic. That’s a good ‘un too. 🙂
I love all those words that evoke the mystery of the open ocean~
Fantastic pictures Cindy and the birds too are amazing…seem to be from duck family. Loved an introduction to a new word and bird. Thanks!
Thank you so much & your kind words made me glad I posted! <3
No kidding, this is a odd looking bird.
Yes, but you should see them fly and navigate in ocean storms. They are simply stunning! <3
Wow. Nature is filled with reminders of the blessings that are all about us.
It is indeed, everywhere and everyday!
Oh – wow! What a privilege to see these creatures; and your photos, as usual, are stunning.
Thank you so much. You are very kind <3
I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this bird before, Cindy — thanks for educating me! He’s not exactly “cute,” is he, but I imagine he presents an impressive sight in his habitat.
They are incredibly gorgeous in flight, soaring along with the boat!
I’ve also learned recently that otters are capable of drinking sea water. How crazy is that? Thanks for the great pics, as always, Cindy.
A fair number of sea critter do this including sea birds. It is a remarkable adaptation isn’t it!
Beautifully captured, Cindy! They are so special, I haven’t seen photos of these birds before. 🙂 Thank you for making posts for us to enjoy while you are on vacation. <3
Thank you for the wonderful company while I travel <3
I love the shots of the giant Petrels, thank you for sharing Cindy. 🙂
You are such a wonderful friend <3
Great photos, Cindy, and good info to go with them. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of these birds. They do have an interesting schnozz.
Thanks much & lovely to meet you! They are amazing birds to see in flight in the open ocean.
Magnificent! Stacked nostrils – who knew?! Straight off the read more about these guys. Thanks Cindy.
Everyday blogging is another day learning, one of the many reasons I love blogging! <3
Amazing birds! Amazing photos! I really enjoyed reading about these odd looking birds.
Thanks so much Lynette! Makes me happy I posted <3
And to think I initially read Southern Giant Pretzels.
Cracking up…..I’ve never seen these. I will have to keep my eyes peeled!
What an interesting bird and your images are amazing, especially the ones of the birds in flight.
They truly are the most amazing fliers, catching wind-drafts and dipping the tips of their wings in the waves as they fly!
They’re amazing and impressive birds, although I have to admit they look better from a distance where one can appreciate their magnificent wings and not see the beak in too much detail.
Very true! They definitely are quite impressive in the air~
Great photos and so full of life and information about nature
Thank you so much Diana & I am very pleased you enjoyed!
Their beaks remind me of the extinct dodo’s… I wonder if they were related?
Oh my God, that’s right! I didn’t think of that!
Wonderful shots and beautiful birds.
Love you because you love all the creatures great & small!
Reblogged this on Voices and Visions.
Thank you Sharon on behalf of the birds & I~
It’s amazing how they’ve evolved for life on the sea. 2-3 years! Wow. Thanks for the wonderful pictures and the info, Cindy. I’m glad they’re making a comeback. 🙂
I really fell for these birds. Fishermen don’t like them because they are more competent fishers. I hope they do well too!
An awesome stories and pictures of these birds!
Awww, thanks so much & cheers to you my friend 🐤
Your photos are always so amazing, Cindy! These birds are pretty cool looking!
I’m glad you think they are cool! I do too 🐤
It is difficult to comprehend how large they are without other objects to reference them to.
Yes. I wish there was a way to provide scale, but there isn’t on the ocean. They are just very large and impressive birds!
All those fabulous Petrels… and an Albatross to boot! 😀 Chapeau!
I am in 🐤🐤 heaven. Hugs to you Resa <3
I’ve never seen petrels. Thanks for contributing these fabulous photos to your already wonderful blog.
Awww, I love bloggers! Thank you so much & cheers to you <3 🐤
Visa versa 2UX2!
It’d be interesting to see such a honkin’ huge bird next to say, a sparrow for context.
Yes! The lack of scale doesn’t give an accurate sense of these bird’s size~
I couldn’t have imagined a bird to huge and dramatic, if it weren’t for your pictures Cindy!! thanks.
Thank you Rhonda. Our world is full of wonderous things 🐦
What a fantastic and beautiful bird Cindy. I knew nothing of this previously and I love it’s colours and patterns. Thanks for the introduction. 😊👍
I love it that you see the beauty in these amazing creatures! I do too 🐦
You make stunning images again and again
Ahhh, you are very kind. Thank you!
Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
More pictures of our feathered friends taken by Cindy Knoke on her trip.
Thank you for supporting the 🐦🐦🐦 my dear friend & cheers to you!
That’s a big bird, literally. All of your pictures are amazing but if I had to choose a favorite I think the one soaring followed by the other skipping across the water are brilliant.
Thank you very much for taking the time to tell me. It means a lot to me. Cheers to you!
You’re welcome Cindy! <3
Wonderful storytelling (and photos) Cindy! I had never heard of giant petrels. They sound like a fascinating bird. May we learn to live in harmony with all creatures on earth.
Amen Brad. Can’t possibly say it better 🐦 <3
They are indeed strange looking birds with those odd nostrils but look very elegant almost running across the water!
I love the shot of the albatross flying high in the sky, it is so beautiful, Cindy! You really are so talented at photography. 🙂
You touched my <3 with your very thoughtful comment Judy. Thank you so much & cheers to you 🐦
My pleasure, Cindy! 🙂
Wow! I’ve never heard of this bird – I stretched out my arms to get a sense of the wing-span.
Great photos and I like the way you add a bit of commentary beneath each photo rather than dumping all the info into several paragraphs – very informative!
So thoughtful of you and so appreciated too! Thanks much and Happy Thursday 🐦
Amazing how long the albatross stay out at sea when young and what a funny face the SGP has
Yes to both points. They are mysterious and amazing creatures~
I’m fascinated by birds that can live out on the world’s oceans surviving everything that the weather and oceans have to throw at them, Cindy. Interesting about their odd rating. Those bivalve beaks are something else! –Curt
Can you imagine two-three years living on the southern ocean! They are incredible creatures~
Nope and yes. 🙂
You certainly take beautiful pictures Cindy, so colorful and showing every detail, the Petrels Bivalve Beak is quite intriguing and very unusual.
Thanks for sharing a great post.
Ahhh, what a thoughtful comment and it is much appreciated too! Cheers to you~
You are very kind Charles & most appreciated. Thank you~
You are welcome!
Lovely pictures Cindy.☺
Thank you my friend~
Wow, these Southern Giant Pretzels….err I mean Petrels are spectacular. LOL!
They are so BIG for pretzels! 🐦
Hehehe…silly me! ٩(ˊᗜˋ*)و
You rock 🐦
Amazing photos and wow huge birds!
They are huge birds, but Wandering Albatross are even bigger, up to 11.6 feet. I have photos of them too!
Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
Here are more beautiful photographs from Cindy Knoke!
I am so lucky to virtually know people like you 🐦
My goodness, I feel like these fascinating birds could actually walk right out of this photographic group on to this page!! Wow.!!
If they actually did that, you would have to find some fish fast to appease them! Laughing….. they are very big, very tough, and very hungry birds! 🐦
mache es dir gemütlich und genieße das Wochenende, Klaus
Ihre Freundlichkeit wird sehr geschätzt! Danke und habe ein wundervolles Wochenende.
You are so good at capturing birds with your lens! It’s a gift you have. As always, I really enjoy your posts.
Ahhhh, your thoughtful comment touched my <3 Thank you very much & cheers to you~
Thank YOU! 🙏
There’s so much amazing wildlife in the southern reaches of the world…I had no idea these petrels existed until now!
I am very happy I could introduce you and so appreciate your appreciation of them! Have an
I’m learning a lot about the Southern Hemisphere from your posts. You’re making me want to go there!
It will make you, and me, very happy if you go!
Then it’s determined, I’ll have to make it down south one of these days. Hopefully sooner rather than later.
They really are amazing! And beautiful in their own right! 🙂
I love you for seeing their beauty. I see it too <3
They are unusual looking birds but very interesting. 6.7 feet is some wing-span!
They are very big birdies and very tough birdies because they have to withstand the southern winter~
This bird species is fascinating, Cindy! I am thrilled they are able to drink sea water and why their double beak (nostrils) work is due to one incredible Creator! 🌈 🕊
Yes indeed. We live in the most beautiful world. All the best to you Robin 🕯️
Fantastic photos and introduction to this wonderful bird, Cindy. Pelagic birds are fascinating, how they live their lives on the sea. This large Southern Giant Petrel is a marvel.
Ahhh, love that you appreciate the birdies my friend & cheers to you!
Honored. Thank you!
My pleasure, Cindy.