Bird of the Week – Southern Giant Petrel
We’re still in the far south of the planet. This is a Southern Giant Petrel, a big, bad bird. Both a predator and a scavenger, it’s near the apex of the food chain in the South Atlantic Ocean.
This is a “tube nose,” a bird adapted to living its life on salt water, coming ashore only to breed. The structure on top of her bill helps her to excrete salt in the water she drinks. She’s on eggs, and not especially happy about the big guy in the red coat.
How big? A big female might weigh 18 pounds and have a wingspan of 80 inches. This photo is from about 20 feet away.
The species is threatened by long-line fishing. Bait looks like carrion. They get caught by the hook, dragged down and drown.
For more bird images, visit Frozen Feather Images.