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Snowy Sheathbill Chionis albus

  • Order: Charadriiformes
  • Family: Chionidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Emerson D. Fang

A species of southern coasts, the Snowy Sheathbill is closely associated with colonies of marine birds and mammals. In these colonies, sheathbills scavenge food and eat the feces of other animals, especially penguins. Sheathbills are instantly recognizable by their all white plumage, pinkish facial skin and gray legs. Sheathbills are odd birds, which have been described as "a genus with the general appearance, gait, and flight of a pigeon, with the beak and voice of a crow; with the habits of a wader, yet dreading the water, and with pugnacity and familiarity with man of a rasorial [gallinaceous] bird" (Kidder and Coues 1876).


© Jessie Barry

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Fang, E. D. (2010). Snowy Sheathbill (Chionis albus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.