Snow Petrel Pagodroma nivea

  • Order: Procellariiformes
  • Family: Procellariidae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
  • Authors needed...
  • © Robert Lewis

The Snow Petrel is a striking resident of the oceans surrounding Antarctica and the islands of South Georgia, South Sandwich and the Scotia Archipelago. Unmistakable within their range, these birds are pure white with a small black bill. When out to sea, the Snow Petrel prefers areas with 10 to 50% ice cover, where they can be seen resting on icebergs and ice floes. Colonial nesters, Snow Petrels breed on cliffs and rock faces sometimes as far as 325 km inland. Snow Petrels mainly feed on krill, fish and squid which they catch while on the wing, but also carrion which they will occasionally scavenge on land. The buoyant and erratic style of flight employed by the Snow Petrel is not well suited for long distance flights, thus restricting the range of this species to the waters adjacent to colonies and near pack ice.

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© Ted Parker

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

Recommended Citation

Snow Petrel (Pagodroma nivea), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: