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Northern Giant-Petrel Macronectes halli


The Northern Giant-Petrel is, as the name implies, the northern half of the giant-petrel superspecies. Both species are broadly sympatric over much of the Southern Oceans and though it has a circumpolar foraging range the northern species shies away from Antarctic waters and breeds only on islands in the south Indian Ocean and off of New Zealand. Both species are highly opportunistic and though they generally prefer carrion, they have been known to kleptoparasitize albatrosses and even drown and consume some species of small albatrosses. The giant-petrels are unique in their order, Procellariiformes, in their ability to walk well on land, presumably an adaptation for scavenging washed up carcasses. Such carcasses are a highly contested resource and dominant males will often completely exclude the smaller females. In response these females generally have a diet that includes more live marine prey, e.g. krill, fish, and squid, for which there is less heated intergender competition.

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© Andrew Spencer

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Recommended Citation

Northern Giant-Petrel (Macronectes halli), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: