Antarctic Petrel

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Antarctic Petrel
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Procellariiformes
Family: Procellariidae
Genus: Thalassoica
L. Reichenbach, 1853
Species: T. antarctica
Binomial name
Thalassoica antarctica
(J. F. Gmelin 1789)[2]

The Antarctic Petrel (Thalassoica antarctica) is a boldly marked dark brown and white petrel, found in Antarctica, most commonly in the Ross and Weddell seas. They eat Antarctic krill, fish, and small squid. They feed while swimming but can dive well from the surface and the air.[3]

Taxonomy[edit]

The Antarctic Petrel is the only known species in the genus Thalassoica, and is a member of the Procellariidae family, and the Procellariiformes order. Also, this Petrel along with the Snow Petrel, the Cape Petrel, both Giant Petrels, and the two species in the Fulmarus family, are considered to be a separate group from the other Procellariidae members.[4] They share certain identifying features. First, they have nasal passages that attach to the upper bill called naricorns. Although the nostrils on the Petrels are on the top of the upper bill. The bills of Procellariiformes are also unique in that they are split into between 7 and 9 horny plates.On Petrels, one of these plates forms the hooked portion of the upper bill. They produce a stomach oil made up of wax esters and triglycerides that is stored in the proventriculus. This is used against predators as well as an energy rich food source for chicks and for the adults during their long flights.[5] Finally, they also have a salt gland that is situated above the nasal passage and helps desalinate their bodies, due to the high amount of ocean water that they imbibe. It excretes a high saline solution from their nose.[6]

Etymology[edit]

The word Petrel is derived from St. Peter and the story of his walking on water. This is in reference to the Petrels habit of appearing to run on the water to take off.[7]

Description[edit]

The adult Antarctic Petrel has a brown head, sides, throat, and back. Their bill is black and their feet are yellow. Their underparts are white and their tail and secondaries on their wings are white with brown tips.[8]

Range and habitat[edit]

The Antarctic Petrel, as its name implies, lives and breeds in the southern oceans, and on the Antarctic islands.[9]

Conservation[edit]

This Petrel has an occurrence range of 35,200,000 km2 (13,590,796 sq mi) and between 10,000,000 and 20,000,000 adult birds based on a 2009 estimate. With these numbers and the large range, this bird has been classified as Least Concern, by the IUCN.[1][10]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2012). "Thalassoica antarctica". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ BirdLife International (2009a)
  3. ^ ZipCode Zoo (16 Jul 2009)
  4. ^ Tree of Life (27 Jun 2008)
  5. ^ Double, M. C. (2003)
  6. ^ Ehrlich, Paul R. (1988)
  7. ^ Gotch, A. T. (1995)
  8. ^ ZipCode Zoo (19 Jun 2009)
  9. ^ Clements, James (2007)
  10. ^ BirdLife International (2009)

References[edit]

External links[edit]