The subantarctic oceans are cold but rich in oxygen, nutrients and sea birds and mammals...

Class Aves: Birds

Order Charadriiformes: Waders & Shorebirds

Family Chionidae: 'Sheathbills'

Snowy Sheathbills over Scotia Sea. Try saying that three times fast!

Chionis albus, 'Snowy Sheathbill'. Flock flying at sea.


Order Procellariiformes: Tubenoses, including Albatross & Petrels

Family Diomedeidae: Albatross

Diomedea spp. 'Great Albatross'

(between Falklands and South Georgia)

Diomedea exulans, 'Wandering Albatross'.

Thalassarche spp. 'Mollymawk Albatross'

(off Falklands)

The 'Mollymawk' Albatross are smaller than the Great Diomedea Albatross. Unlike the latter birds, the Mollymawks have a dark back. The different species in the genus can usually be distinguished from each other by their slightly different coloured bills.

(between Falklands and South Georgia)

Thalassarche melanophris'Black-browed Mollymawk', view of upperside.

Black-browed Mollymawk, view of underside

Family Procellariidae: Petrels, Giant Petrels, Shearwaters, Fulmars, Prions

Procellaria spp., 'Petrels'

Mostly dark medium sized seabirds that often glide just above colder southern ocean waters, similar to Shearwaters.

(Scotia Sea)

Procellaria aequinoctialis, 'White-chinned Petrel'. The common name comes from a small patch of white underneath the base of the bill; this is not always visible in the field, but can be seen in the photograph above.

Macronectes spp., 'Giant Petrels'

(between South Georgia and Falklands)

Macronectes giganteus, 'Southern Giant Petrel'.


(Scotia Sea)

Fulmarus glacialoides, 'Southern Fulmar'.

Pagodroma sp.

(Scotia Sea)

Pagodroma nivea, 'Snow Petrel'.


Rhymes with iron, Pry-on, not Pree-on.

(between Ushuaia and Falklands)

Pachyptila belcheri, 'Slender-billed Prion'. Long thin bill, large white eyebrow.

(Scotia Sea)

Pachyptila desolata'Antarctic Prion'.

Family Oceanitidae: Storm Petrels


Oceanites oceanicus'Wilsons Storm Petrel'. One of the most abundant birds in the world.

Class Mammalia

Pinnipeds: Seals

True Seals

Cetaceans: Whales & Dolphins

Whale blow.

Odontoceti: Toothed whales

(Saunders Island, Falklands)

Cephalorhynchus commersonii, 'Commerson's Dolphin'.

Mysticeti: Baleen Whales

(Scotia Sea)

Balaenoptera physalus, 'Fin Whale'. Very long whale, with small curved fin set very far back.

Megaptera novaeangliaeHumpback Whale 'hump back' and fin.

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