List of birds of Antarctica

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Adelie penguins in Antarctica

This is a list of the bird species recorded in Antarctica. The avifauna of Antarctica include a total of 61 species, of which 1 is endemic. This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) follow the conventions of The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 2019 edition. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflect this taxonomy, as do the species counts found in each family account.


Ducks, geese, and waterfowl[edit]

Order: Anseriformes   Family: Anatidae

Yellow-billed pintail, Anas georgica

Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These birds are adapted to an aquatic existence with webbed feet, flattened bills, and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to an oily coating.

Sheathbills[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Chionididae

Snowy sheathbill, Chionis alba

The sheathbills are scavengers of the Antarctic regions. They have white plumage and look plump and dove-like but are believed to be similar to the ancestors of the modern gulls and terns.

Sandpipers and allies[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Scolopacidae

Scolopacidae is a large diverse family of small to medium-sized shorebirds including the sandpipers, curlews, godwits, shanks, tattlers, woodcocks, snipes, dowitchers and phalaropes. The majority of these species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Variation in length of legs and bills enables multiple species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food.

Skuas and jaegers[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Stercorariidae

South polar skua, Stercorarius maccormicki

The family Stercorariidae are, in general, medium to large birds, typically with grey or brown plumage, often with white markings on the wings. They nest on the ground in temperate and arctic regions and are long-distance migrants.

Gulls, terns, and skimmers[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Laridae

Kelp gull, Larus dominicanus
Antarctic tern, Sterna vittata

Laridae is a family of medium to large seabirds, the gulls, terns, and skimmers. Gulls are typically grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet. Terns are a group of generally medium to large seabirds typically with grey or white plumage, often with black markings on the head. Most terns hunt fish by diving but some pick insects off the surface of fresh water. Terns are generally long-lived birds, with several species known to live in excess of 30 years.

Penguins[edit]

Emperor penguin, Aptenodytes forsteri

Order: Sphenisciformes   Family: Spheniscidae

The penguins are a group of aquatic, flightless birds living almost exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere. Most penguins feed on krill, fish, squid and other forms of sealife caught while swimming underwater.

Albatrosses[edit]

Wandering albatross, Diomedea exulans

Order: Procellariiformes   Family: Diomedeidae

The albatrosses are among the largest of flying birds, and the great albatrosses from the genus Diomedea have the largest wingspans of any extant birds.

Southern storm-petrels[edit]

Wilson's storm-petrel, Oceanites oceanicus

Order: Procellariiformes   Family: Oceanitidae

The southern storm-petrels are relatives of the petrels and are the smallest seabirds. They feed on planktonic crustaceans and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. The flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like.

Shearwaters and petrels[edit]

Order: Procellariiformes   Family: Procellariidae

The procellariids are the main group of medium-sized "true petrels", characterised by united nostrils with medium septum and a long outer functional primary.

Broad-billed prion, Pachyptila vittata

Cormorants and shags[edit]

Antarctic shag, Phalacrocorax bransfieldensis

Order: Suliformes   Family: Phalacrocoracidae

Phalacrocoracidae is a family of medium to large coastal, fish-eating seabirds that includes cormorants and shags. Plumage colouration varies, with the majority having mainly dark plumage, some species being black-and-white and a few being colourful.

Herons, egrets, and bitterns[edit]

Order: Pelecaniformes   Family: Ardeidae

The family Ardeidae contains the bitterns, herons and egrets. Herons and egrets are medium to large wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more wary. Members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted, unlike other long-necked birds such as storks, ibises and spoonbills.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Lepage, Denis. "Checklist of birds of Antarctica". Bird Checklists of the World. Avibase. Retrieved 27 April 2020. Cite has empty unknown parameter: |coauthors= (help)
  • Clements, James F. (2007). Birds of the World: a Checklist. Cornell University Press. p. 880. ISBN 0-934797-16-1.

Further reading[edit]

  • Harris, C.M., Lorenz, K., Fishpool, L.D.C., Lascelles, B., Cooper, J., Coria, N.R., Croxall, J.P., Emmerson, L.M., Fijn, R.C., Fraser, W.L., Jouventin, P., LaRue, M.A., Le Maho, Y., Lynch, H.J., Naveen, R., Patterson-Fraser, D.L., Peter, H.-U., Poncet, S., Phillips, R.A., Southwell, C.J., van Franeker, J.A., Weimerskirch, H., Wienecke, B., & Woehler, E.J. 2015. Important Bird Areas in Antarctica, 1–301. BirdLife International and Environmental Research & Assessment Ltd., Cambridge. Accessed 2017-10-13.