Southern Giant Petrels~

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~

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Beautifully captured, Cindy! They are so special, I haven’t seen photos of these birds before. πŸ™‚ Thank you for making posts for us to enjoy while you are on vacation. <3

  4. 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. πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘

  5. 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.

  6. 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. πŸ™‚

  7. 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!

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. 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! 🌈 πŸ•Š

  11. 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.

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