IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

Comprehensive Description

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Comprehensive Description

The Snow Petrel (Pagodroma nivea) is a fairly small petrel (30 to 40 cm in length with a wingspan of 75 to 95 cm and a mass of 240 to 460 g) with entirely white plumage. It has conspicuous dark eyes, a very small black bill, and bluish gray feet. In poor light the plumage appears gray, especially on the underparts. Females average slightly smaller than males and juveniles have more extensive grayish barring on the upperparts. (Watson 1975; Carboneras 1992)

Snow Petrels are year-round residents of Antarctica and are very closely associated with pack ice or icebergs and ice floes. Snow Petrel flight is very erratic, almost batlike, with short, rapid wingbeats and infrequent gliding. Snow Petrels tend to fly around 10 meters above the water and may fly very high over land. They are frequently seen hovering low over the water, but rarely observed swimming, preferring to rest on icebergs or ice floes.They eat mainly fish, along with cephalopods, other mollusks, and euphausiids (krill). They apparently also feed on seal placentas and carcasses of seals, whales, seabirds, and penguins, as well as excreta. (Watson 1975; Carboneras 1992)


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© Shapiro, Leo

Source: EOL Rapid Response Team


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