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Snowy Sheathbill

Chionis albus


All white and short billed. Similar to a feral pigeon in size but slightly larger and longer winged. The Sheathbill family is the only bird family that breeds solely in Antarctica. It's also the only regularly occurring bird in Antarctica without webbed feet. The common name comes from the bony casing (sheath) in which the bill is encased.


Breed only in Antarctica, overwinter as far north as Buenos Aires province in Argentina.


I just came back from an 11 day cruise to the Antarctic peninsula and the wildlife was fantastic! Snowy Sheathbills were a fairly common sight on the ship and on land. I was photographing this one with my telephoto lens on the railing of the ship when it got too close to focus on, that's when I pulled out my iPod Touch and took this shot.

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maplemoth662 3 years ago

A very beautiful photo....a very beautiful Antarctica photo....

dandoucette 3 years ago

Thanks everyone! Sorry for the late response. I'll be adding more spotting from my Antarctica adventure very soon.

triggsturner 3 years ago

Great spotting Dan. Sorry I missed it at the time.

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 3 years ago

Congratulations, Dan. Great spotting, awesome location.

Felix Fleck
Felix Fleck 3 years ago


Congratulations Dan!

Congrats again Danon the well deserved SOTW,awesome capture

Brian38 3 years ago

Congrats Dan on a well deserved SOTW!

Congratulations for the SOTW

DanielePralong 3 years ago

Congratulations Dan, this special and rather spontaneous encounter was voted Spotting of the Week!

"Sometimes a little bit of serendipity goes a long way. World traveller and long time Project Noah member Dan Doucette was on his way back from a trip to the Antarctic peninsula when a Snowy Sheathbill (Chionis albus) he was working on with a telephotolens came so close on the ship's railing that he managed this shot with a small pocket device, complete with spectacular background. The sheathbills are a family of birds (Chionidae) that contain only one genus (Chionis), with only two species. These odd looking birds are the only bird family endemic as breeders to the Antarctic region. They do not possess webbed feet, and are opportunistic feeders, eating just about anything they can find or steal. This spotting won the votes as a well documented experience with a rather special bird, from a part of the world most of us will never visit.
Read more about the Snowy Sheathbill here: "



AshleyT 3 years ago

Your spotting has been nominated for the Spotting of the Week. The winner will be chosen by the Project Noah Rangers based on a combination of factors including: uniqueness of the shot, status of the organism (for example, rare or endangered), quality of the information provided in the habitat and description sections. There is a subjective element, of course; the spotting with the highest number of Ranger votes is chosen. Congratulations on being nominated!

dandoucette 3 years ago

Thanks Antonio, Daniele, Christine and Malcolm!

Gret photograph of a rarely photographed or even heard of bird.

Christine Y.
Christine Y. 3 years ago


DanielePralong 3 years ago

That's close! Beautiful bird. Welcome back Dan! Looking forward to see more from your Antarctica trip.

Beautiful capture Dan,congrats and thanks for sharing

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Spotted on Nov 10, 2017
Submitted on Nov 15, 2017

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