Latin name: Fulmarus glacialoides

Southern Fulmar (Photo © Samuel Blanc)

Southern Fulmar (Photo © Samuel Blanc)

Population: The Southern Fulmar has a large global population estimated to be at least 4,000,000 individuals.

Cites classified: Least Concern (IUCN, 2008)

Where found: The Southern Fulmars are circumpolar, and normally frequent cold water areas on the edges of the pack ice. There are colonies on a number of the islands around Antarctica such as the South Sandwich Islands, South Orkney Islands, South Shetland Islands, Bouvet Island and Peter I Island. The bird also breeds at several sites along the mainland coast of Antarctica.

Wingspan: 114-120 cm

Length: 45-50 cm

Weight: 0.7-1 kg

Mating/Breeding: The Southern Fulmar’s breeding colonies may contain hundreds of birds and are on cliffs in ice-free areas with the birds arriving in October. The courtship display consists of a pair sitting alongside each other while calling, waving their heads and nibbling and preening each other. The nest is a shallow scrape lined with stone chips. It is built in a spot sheltered from the wind on a ledge or scree slope or in a crevice. A single egg is laid during late November or early December. It is incubated for about 45 days with both parents taking turns in stints of 3-9 days. The Southern Fulmar’s young fledge after around 52 days.]

Eggs: White. It measures 76 by 51 mm and weighs about 103 grams.

Hibernation: In winter, the Southern Fulmar regularly ranges north to around 40°S. It occurs further north in the cool waters of the Humboldt Current, reaching Peru. Small numbers are seen off the coasts of South Africa, southern Australia and New Zealand.

Hunting Habits: The Southern Fulmar frequently gather in flocks, often with other species of seabird such as Cape Petrels, when there is a concentration of food like a school of krill or around whaling ships and trawlers. Food is usually picked from the surface of the water but the bird will occasionally dive.

Feed on: The Southern Fulmar feeds mainly on crustaceans (krill) and fish, with varying amounts of squid, carrion and offal, depending on the location.

Threats: Skuas may take some abandoned eggs and chicks, but extreme weather conditions are much more significant causes of egg and chick mortality.

Colour/Looks: The Southern Fulmar is easily recognized by its pale grey upper parts and white underparts. Its wings have a dark trailing edge, a white flash at the base of the primaries and variable amounts of black at the wingtips.

Interesting Trivia:

  • The Southern Fulmars are believed to feed nocturnally.

More info:

For additional photos of Samuel Blanc: click here