Seabirds of the Southern Ocean

This information comes from a presentation made by the expedition crew on board the boat. My recollection is more or less accurate but I do not take responsibility for any inaccuracies.

There were three types of seabirds that we were exposed to: Coastal, Off-Shore, and Pelagic.

Coastal Seabirds include Gulls, Cormorants/Shags, and Skuas.

Skuas can be considered the rodents of Antarctica. When reading books about the Bases in Antarctica, skuas are at every turn picking up the scraps. They even came around for an on-deck BBQ, ready to pounce on any food left unattended.

Shags could be seen nesting in some of the same areas as penguins, almost blending in but not quite.

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Off-Shore Seabirds include Penguins and Terns. More on Penguins later.

Pelagic Seabirds include Albatrosses, Shearwaters, and Petrels. These type of birds are generally airborne or on the ocean. We were fortunate to have an Albatross following us for awhile out in the open ocean. It’s wingspan was the longest one I have ever seen!

There are 22 species of Albatross. The Royal Albatross doesn’t breed until 9-10 years old but it lives for 50 years. They only breed every two years.

We saw many Petrels, including some that ran on the water. It was quite fascinating!

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