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Southern Giant Petrel

Macronectes Giganteus
Sometimes called the 'Vulture of the Antartic', the Giant Petrel is a large scavenging bird found in the southern oceans.

The Southern Giant Petrel grows as large as 100 centimetres in body length. Adult birds have a wingspan of between 1.5 and 2 metres. Younger birds are dark grey or brown, but gradually develop white plumage on the head and neck.

The bird breeds in the southern summer on the subantartic idlands and the coast of Antartica, building nests on flat sheltered ground. They breed annually raising a single chick.

Southern Giant Petrels are mostly scavengers living on dead birds and animals, although they also hunt fish, smaller birds and various species of marine life.

Seaman nick-named the bird the "nellie" or the "stinker" because when threatened it spits regurgitated food at its attacker.


Created: 23 March 2004
Modified: 24 March 2004

Published by South Seas, 1 February 2004
Comments, questions, corrections and additions: Paul.Turnbull@jcu.edu.au
Prepared by: Paul Turnbull
Updated: 28 June 2004
To cite this page use: http://nla.gov.au/nla.cs-ss-biogs-P000396

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