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Snow Petrel

Pagodroma nivea


A beautiful, pure white petrel with a short, black beak. They are monogamous, and can live for 15-20 years. Their wings are less stiff than most petrels in flight, sometimes described as "elastic", which gives it a quite ethereal look as it flutters through sea ice. One of three birds that breeds exclusively in Antarctica. Interestingly, its under-down is black, probably to retain heat. Reminiscent of the all-white ivory gull ( in the Arctic, though not related.


We came across this bird rarely in open water, mainly spotted in the sea ice between the South Shetlands and the South Orkneys.


One of my favourite spottings of the trip! These beautiful birds were hard to follow as they glided through the ice. They were very fast and adept at aerial manoeuvres. These are basically the only photos I got of them.

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LauraMaria 11 years ago

Thanks Hemma :)

Hema  Shah
Hema Shah 11 years ago


LauraMaria 11 years ago

Thank you both! It was an exciting and beautiful spot for me :D

Liam 11 years ago

How awesome!

What a lovely, rare spotting Laura.

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Spotted on Jan 17, 2013
Submitted on Mar 18, 2013

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