Our Beautiful World

Scotia Sea
Part 4. Even more Seabirds.
From a rearranged translation from Vladimir Dinets translation to norwegian, with supplements.

Click on flag for the original english version

Light-mantled albatross, Phoebetria palpebrata,
off South Georgia

Even more Seabirds.

bird bird
Snowy sheathbills, Chionis alba, Grytviken, South Georgia.ia.

Snowy sheathbill, Grytviken..
Sheathbills' diet is similar to that of skuas. Their flight is a bit clumsy, but they are mostly migratory, breeding from South Georgia south and wintering in South America and the Falklands. They are related to plovers and, unlike other seabirds, don't have webbed feet. This species only breeds in Scotia Sea area, with total population estimated at 10,000 pairs. Most of them hang out around penguin colonies in summer, and garbage dumps in winter. They are very tame.
Snowy sheathbill,
Drygalski Fjord, South Georgia.

The sheathbills are a family of birds, Chionidae. Classified in the wader order Charadriiformes, the family contains one genus, Chionis, with only two species. They breed on subantarctic islands and the Antarctic Peninsula, and the Snowy Sheathbill, Chionis alba, migrates to the Falkland Islands and coastal southern South America in the
southern winter; they are the only bird family endemic as breeders to the Antarctic region. They are also the only Antarctic birds without webbed feet.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheathbill

The other specimen is the Black-faced Sheathbill, Chionis minor, also known as the Lesser Sheathbill or
Paddy bird, is an aberrant shorebird which are terrestrial scavenger of subantarctic islands.

Restricted to subantarctic islands in the southern Indian Ocean: the South African territory of the Prince Edward Islands, the French territories of the Crozet Islands and Kerguelen Islands, and the Australian territory of Heard Island. The race Chionis minor nasicornis is endemic to Heard Island, while the race Chionis minor marionesis
is endemic to the Prince Edward Islands.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-faced_Sheathbill

Imperial shags, Phalacrocorax atriceps,
Beagle Channel, Tierra del Fuego.
South Georgian shags, Phalacrocorax georgianus,
Elsehul, South Georgia.

Antarctic shags,
Ph. bransfieldensis,
Hope Bay,
Antarctic Peninsula

Blue-eyed shags inhabit rocky cliffs on all island groups around the Scotia Sea. Recent DNA research suggested that three very similar races are,
in fact, separate species: Imperial shag, Phalacrocorax atriceps, in South America and the Falklands, South Georgian Shag, Phalacrocorax georgianus, on South Georgia, South Orkney and South Sandwich Islands, and Antarctic shag, Phalacrocorax bransfieldensis, on South Shetlands
and the Peninsula.
Three more species of cormorants occur on Tierra del Fuego. All are mostly sedentary, and hunt for fish not far from shore, sometimes in large flocks.

Rock shag,
San Julian,

Imperial shags,
Beagle Channel,
Tierra del Fuego
Grey cormorants or
Red-legged Cormorant
Phalacrocorax gaimardi,
San Julian.
Imperial shag,
Tierra del Fuego

Imperial Shags in the Beagle Channel, Southern Argentina

Note the blue eyes!

Photo: Calyponte. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Phalacrocorax_atriceps2.jpg

The Imperial Shag
, Phalacrocorax atriceps, is a black and white cormorant native to many subantarctic islands, the Antarctic Peninsula and southern South America, primarily in rocky coastal regions, but locally also at large inland lakes. It is sometimes placed in the genus Leucocarbo instead. It is also known as the Blue-eyed Shag, Blue-eyed Cormorant and by many other names, and is one of a larger group of cormorants called blue-eyed shags.
The taxonomy is very complex, and several subspecies are often considered separate species instead.

The Imperial Shag has a total length of 70–78 cm (28–31 in) and weighs 1.8-3.5 kg (4-8 lbs), with males averaging larger than females.[3] It is endowed with glossy black feathers covering most of its body, with a white belly and neck. It possesses a distinctive ring of blue skin around its eyes, an orange-yellow nasal knob, pinkish legs and feet, and an erectile black crest.[7] During the non-breeding season, adults lack the crest, have a duller facial area, and less/no white to the back/wings.
Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_Shag

Phalacrocorax gaimardi North of Bahía del Oso Marino, near Puerto Deseado, Santa Cruz (Argentina).
Photosource: Sergio Bogan, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cormoran_gris_en_Puesto_del_japones.jpg

The Red-legged Cormorant, Phalacrocorax gaimardi, also known as the Red-legged Shag, Red-footed Cormorant, Red-footed Shag, Gaimard’s Cormorant and Grey Cormorant, is a resident of the coastline of
South America. It is non-colonial unlike most seabirds.

The Red-legged Cormorant has not been observed wing-spreading, which is characteristic of most cormorant species. It is considered near threatened under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

The Red-legged Cormorant is a medium sized seabird, with a long neck, streamlined body, webbed feet and a long, thin hooked bill. Its body length is 71–76 centimetres (28–30 in), with an average wingspan of 91 cm (36 in).[4]
It weighs 1.3–1.5 kilograms (2.9–3.3 lb).[2] There is no sexual dimorphism between the male and female
Red-legged Cormorants
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-legged_Cormorant

Flying steamerduck, Ushuaia,
Tierra del Fuego..
Steamerducks are so called because their often run across water surface, flapping their wings as an old steamer boat with sidewheels. The widespread flying species, Tachyeres patachonicus, is apparently the ancestor of flightless Magellanic steamerduck, Tachyeres pteneres, on Tierra del Fuego, and Falkland steamerduck, Tachyeres brachypterus, on the Falklands.
See more here
Falkland steamerduck, Gypsy Cove,
Falkland Islands.

Kelp geese, Chloephaga hybrida.
Beagle Channel, Tierra del Fuego..
Kelp goose and Magellanic steamerducks with chicks,
Beagle Channel

A female Kelp Goose on the far end of Bertha's Beach, East Falkland.
Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Chloephaga_hybrida_-East_Falkland_-female-8.jpg

The Kelp Goose
(Spanish: Caranca or Cauquén Marino), Chloephaga hybrida, is a member of the duck, goose and swan family Anatidae. It is in the shelduck subfamily Tadorninae. It can be found in the Southern part of South America; in Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego, and the Falkland Islands.
Kelp geese inhabit areas of southern Chile and Argentina, mainly in Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego, and the Falkland Islands. They habitat rocky coasts around their food sources.

Males are a white color, with a black beak, and yellow feet. The females are dark brown, with
transverse gray lines on the chest, and yellow feet.

Kelp geese generally have clutches of 2-7 eggs. They prefer to hide their eggs in long grass.
The eggs hatch about a month later.

There are about 15,000 breeding pairs in existence. Kelp geese are noted for only eating kelp and
will migrate along the coast of South America in order to find kelp, hence the name 'kelp geese'.
Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelp_Goose

Black-necked swans,
Cygnus melanocorypha,
Gypsy Cove, Falkland Islands.

On rocky shores of Tierra del Fuego and the Falklands, steamerducks are often joined by kelp geese, beautiful birds with striking sexual dimorphism. Numerous other coastal waterbirds that occur there range in size from tiny grebes to black-necked swans.
Black-necked swan with chicks,
Gypsy Cove, Falkland Islands.

Black-headed Swan at Paignton Zoo, Devon, England.
Photographed by Adrian Pingstone in July 2003

The Black-necked Swan, Cygnus melancoryphus, is the largest waterfowl native to South America.
Males are 115 to 140 cm (45 to 55 in) and weigh 4.5-6.7 kg (10-14.8 lbs); females are 100 to 124 cm
(39 to 49 in) and weigh 3.5-4.4 kg (7.7–9.7 lbs). The wingspan ranges from 135 to 177 cm (53 to 70 in).
The body plumage is white with a black neck, head and greyish bill. It has a red knob near the base of the bill
and white stripe behind eye. The sexes are similar, with the female slightly smaller. The cygnet has a light grey plumage with black bill and feet. The Black-necked Swan was formerly placed in monotypic genus, Sthenelides.

The smallest member in its genus, it is found in freshwater marshes, lagoon and lake shores in southern South America. The Black-necked Swan breeds in Chilean Southern Zone, Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego and on the Falkland Islands. In the austral winter, this species migrates northwards to Paraguay and southern Brazil
The wetlands created by the Great Chilean Earthquake like Carlos Anwandter Nature Sanctuary in Cruces River have become important population centers for the Black-necked Swan.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-necked_Swan

bird bird
Crested ducks, Anas specularioides, Tierra del Fuego National Park

Crested Ducks (Lophonetta specularioides) on Seno Ultima Esperanza, Chile.
Photo: Mirko Thiessen

The Crested Duck
, Lophonetta specularioides, is a species of duck native to South America, the only member of the monotypic genus Lophonetta. It is sometimes included in Anas.

There are two subspecies: Andean Crested Duck, Lophonetta specularioides alticola and Patagonian Crested Duck, Lophonetta specularioides specularioides. The Patagonian Crested Duck is also called the Southern Crested Duck and its range lies in the Falklands, Chile, and Argentina.

It feeds on invertebrates and algae, and prefers shallow coastal regions. It nests in tall grass near water
and lays 5 to 7 eggs.
Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crested_Duck

Black-crowned night heron
Nycticorax nycticorax, Gypsy Cove.
This coastal bird community also includes night-herons, plovers, oystercatchers, snipes, kingfishers, birds of prey, four species of small birds called cinclodes, and numerous wintering waders from the Northern hemisphere. Of all those, only two species of ducks have made it to South Georgia. The islands further south have only seabirds.
Let's start the tour of Scotia Sea islands from where all diversity is.
Dark-bellied cinclodes (Cinclodes patagonicus), Ushuaia.

Black-crowned Night Heron
Photo: Alain Carpentier, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bihoreau_Gris.jpg

The Black-crowned Night Heron
, Nycticorax nycticorax, commonly abbreviated to just Night Heron in Eurasia, is a medium-sized heron found throughout a large part of the world, except in the coldest regions and Australasia (where replaced by the closely related Rufous Night Heron, with which it has hybridized in the area of contact).

Adults are approximately 64 cm (25 in) long and weigh 800 g (28 oz). They have a black crown and back with the remainder of the body white or grey, red eyes, and short yellow legs. They have pale grey wings and white underparts
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black-crowned_Night_Heron

Dark-bellied Cinclodes, Cinclodes patagonicus , Salto de Laja, Chile
Copyright © Arthur Grosset

The Dark-bellied Cinclodes, Cinclodes patagonicus, is a species of bird in the Furnariidae family. It is found in Argentina and Chile. Its natural habitats are rivers and rocky shores. The Dark-bellied Cinclodes is distributed in Chile from about Santiago southwards to Tierra del Fuego and in adjacent areas of extreme western Argentina. It is found near streams, lakes and marshlands from sea level up to 2,500 m. It has a bold white supercilium and throat. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark-bellied_Cinclodes

Austral thrush, Turdus falklandii,
Stanley, Falkland Is.
The Falklands don't have the dramatic mountain landscapes of other Scotia Sea islands. It's a land of low rolling hills and countless small bays, channels, and inlets. It is a perfect place for hiking, with trails leading across the grasslands to cozy hidden coves full of seabirds.
Upland goose, Chloephaga picta,
Tierra del Fuego Nat'l Park.

The Austral Thrush ( Turdus falcklandii ) is a species of bird, passerine of the family Turdidae .
It inhabits the southern tip of South America. From the southern Atacama Desert , to Tierra del Fuego .
It measures about 24 centimeters. His head and tail are brownish, with white feathers on the underside.
Its legs are yellow-orange, and the peak somewhat clearer.
It is interesting to see the skill with which it sought and found the worms in the earth, which constitute an important part of its diet. Eats insects and snails. Their flight is fast, short and wavy.
Source: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turdus_falcklandii

Chloephaga picta (Upland goose - Cauquén Comun), El Calafate, Santa Cruz, Argentina. August 2007
Photo: Fabien Dany - www.fabiendany.com

The Upland Goose or Magellan Goose, Chloephaga picta, is a South American member of the duck, goose and swan family Anatidae. It is in the shelduck subfamily, Tadorninae. Males have a white head and breast, whereas
the females are brown with black-striped wings and yellow feet, and could be mistaken for Ruddy-headed Geese. These birds are 60–72.5 centimetres (24–28.5 in) long and weigh 2.7–3.2 kilograms (6.0–7.1 lb).[2]
They are found in open grasslands.

Upland Geese are noted in Chapter VI of The Origin of Species for having vestigial webbing between their toes.

Correndera pipit
Anthus correndera,
Stanley, Falkland Islands.

Unfortunately, the only native land mammal, Falkland Islands fox (D. australis), has been exterminated in the 19th century. Introduced mammals include Patagonian foxes, feral cats, rabbits, rats, mice, and, on one small island, guanaco. Numerous marine mammals inhabit surrounding waters. Of about 70 breeding bird species, two - Cobb's wren (above) and Falkland steamerduck are endemic; two more are very rare on the mainland. There are also many endemic bird subspecies, four unique freshwater fishes, and at least twelve endemic plants.
Correndera pipit
Fipsy Cove,
Falkland Islands.

The Correndera Pipit, Anthus correndera, is a species of bird in the Motacillidae family. It is found in Argentina, Bolivia, southern Brazil, Chile, the Falkland Islands, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. Its natural habitats are temperate grassland, subtropical or tropical high-altitude grassland, and pastureland.

Embothrium coccineum is called "notro" on Tierra del Fuego,
and "duddle-dee" on the Falklands..

Chilean firetree, Chilean firebush, Notro in Spanish, Embothrium coccineum, is a small evergreen tree
in the family Proteaceae. It grows in the temperate forests of Chile and Argentina.

It produces deep red flowers (occasionally pale yellow) which group in clusters; blooming occurs in spring.
The fruit is a dry follicle, with about 10 seeds inside.

Embothrium tree in flower
Photo: Velela
, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:EmbothriumTreeinFlower_w.jpg

They are large shrubs or trees growing to 4–15 m (13–50 ft) tall and can reach 50 cm (20 in) in diameter.
The bark is dark grey with light spots.
Its wood is light pink color, and besides for being very soft but durable, is used for elaborating spoons,
kitchen vessels and another craft articles.
different sources.

Southern Royal Albatross, Diomedea epomophora, Scotiahavet

Southern Royal Albatross, Albatros real del sur, Diomedea epomophora
Mar afuera, frente a Valparaiso.
Copyright ©
Pablo Caceres

The Southern Royal Albatross, Diomedea epomophora, is a large seabird from the albatross family.
At an average wingspan of around 3 m (9.8 ft), it is the second largest albatross, behind the Wandering Albatross.

The Southern Royal Albatross has a length of 112–123 cm (44–48 in)[10] and a mean weight of 8.5 kg (19 lb).
Males are about 2 to 3 kg (4.4 to 6.6 lb) heavier than females. Average wingspan has been reported from
2.9 to 3.28 m (9.5 to 10.8 ft), with an upper limit of about 3.51 m (11.5 ft).
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Royal_Albatross

The Striated Caracara, Phalcoboenus australis

The Striated Caracara, Phalcoboenus australis, is a bird of prey of the Falconidae family.
The adults' plumage is almost black in colour, while the legs and lores are orange and the neck is flecked with grey.
The first year juveniles have an orange or light red down, which they lose after their first molt. Full adult plumage is
acquired only in the fifth year.

Striated Caracara (Phalcoboenus australis), Falkland Islands
Photo: Ben Tubby

It breeds in several islands in Tierra del Fuego, but is more abundant in the Falklands. Though it was once considered
common in the Falklands archipelago, it now only nests in the outlying islands where it breeds around penguin and
albatross colonies.

The Striated Caracara is primarily a scavenger, feeding on carrion, offal and small invertebrates that it digs up with its claws. However it will also prey on weak or injured creatures, such as young seabirds. Its habit of attacking newborn lambs and
weakened sheep has led it to be ruthlessly persecuted by sheep farmers.

Often it is known to steal red objects such as clothing or handkerchiefs, possibly because red is the colour of meat.
Like all falconiformes it has excellent colour vision which easily surpasses that of any known mammal. Often it will
also raid dustbins and move rocks to get food from underneath, thus proving themselves to be one of the most
intelligent of the birds of prey.

ARKive video - Striated carcara - overview
Striated Caracara, Phalcoboenus australis
National Geographic Digital Motion, London

The nest is built on the ground or on a cliff ledge, where the female will lay up to 4 eggs. Their hatching is timed to coincide
with the nesting season of seabirds, providing a constant food supply for the chicks. Once these have fledged, they gather
into flocks and roam through the islands, often close to human settlements.

The population in the Falklands is estimated at 500 breeding pairs. Juveniles and indeed, adults, are almost entirely
fearless of humans and treat their approach with indifference. Over time, conflict with the sheep farmers has led to a
great reduction in their numbers. This is now being corrected by the Falkland Islanders.

Part 5: The Great Marine Mammals

Back to part 3.

All pictures, unless otherwise stated, Copyright © Vladimir Dinets


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