|Aside from penguins, Antarctica has many other species of birds. Even if you include penguins, there are only 35 species of sea birds in Antarctica, with the most famous probably being the giant albatross. Each year when the Austral summer begins, millions of birds arrive for breeding purposes which from their perspective is mostly a paradise. Although there are predators in Antarctica from the sea and other birds; there are no land predators. The birds also enjoy a basically unlimited food supply due to rich marine wildlife in the oceans.|
|On the left is a picture of a black-browed albatross. This species of albatross typically have wingspans between 7 and 8 feet. Albatrosses spend the majority of their life in the air using their giant wingspans to glide. Their wings are capable of locking in place so they can glide effortlessly, sometimes they cover up to a thousand miles in a few days! On the right is a giant petrel which usually have wingspans above 6 feet. Like the albatross, the giant petrel uses the strong winds of the Antarctic Ocean to glide while they search for food. The giant petrel also is known for spending more time on land, and it will also kill other birds for food.|
|Above is the Antarctic Skua, which is an aggressive bird that hunts it’s prey. They are known for raiding colonies and attacking baby penguins, earning their nickname, ‘raptor of the south’.|
On the left is Antarctica’s wild side; a giant petrel eating a baby penguin. While the petrel was eating several other penguins gathered around and would chase the petrel away, but he would always return. The giant petrel is the largest of the almost 100 different species of petrels. The smaller species of birds seen in the upper left are known as cape petrels that are pretty common in Antarctica. As you can see these petrels fly together in groups and they would often circle around our ship. Directly above is another type of petrel called the snow petrel. It’s said that if you get too close to a snow petrels nest they will throw up some smelly orange type of fluid on you that is almost impossible to remove!
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