Antarctic Giant-Petrel
Macronectes giganteus
The Antarctic Giant-Petrel (Macronectes giganteus), also known as Southern Giant-Petrel by some authors, is a circumpolar resident of the southern oceans and Antarctic seas as far south as the pack ice. The species has several color morphs including the fairly unusual white morph seen at right. This bird (with a tiny chick visible) was photographed at Hannah Point, Livingston Island, Antarctica, in January, 1996. The photograph was taken with a Canon T-90 & FD 400mm F4.5 lens mounted on a tripod with Fuji Sensia 100 film.
A more typical color morph of the Southern Giant-Petrel is the gray bird at right. The very similar Hall's (also known as Northern) Giant-Petrel has a reddish tipped bill rather than the greenish tipped bill displayed by these birds. The bill tip can be hard to see under most field conditions, however. This bird was photographed in January, 1996 near Elephant Is., Antarctica as it passed by our ship. Same photo gear as above but the camera and lens were hand-held and Kodachrome 200 was used.
Visitors to the southern oceans sometimes do not realize that Antarctic Giant-Petrels fill the niche of vultures in these areas. The pair of birds at right was feeding on a fur seal carcass at Fortuna Bay, South Georgia, on 26 January 1999. The photo, from a series of nearly 90 images, was taken with a Canon EOS 1N & ED 70-200mm F2.8L lens with fill flash on Fuji Sensia 100. The camera and lens were hand-held.
The Antarctic Giant-Petrel here and the image following were photographed in February, 2005, off the Antarctic Peninsula with a Canon EOS 1D Mark II and EF 70-200 F/2.8 L IS lens and 2X extender.
Here are several shots taken on the island of South Georgia, in January, 2002, with a Canon EOS 1V and EF 70-200 F/2.8 L IS lens. These Antarctic Giant-Petrels are feeding on a fur seal carcass and showing some of the interesting posturing and displays they often do in this situation to try to keep other giant-petrels and skuas away from the carcass.
The next 4 shots were all taken in January and February, 2005, in the Southern Atlantic Ocean, between South America and Antarctica.
This image shows a close-up of the bill of an Antarctic Giant-Petrel in flight.