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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Snowy Sheathbill Chionis alba

Sheathbills are the only birds with non-webbed feet that breed on the shores of Antarctica. Stocky and short-legged, they bear a superficial resemblance to chickens, particularly when they escape from danger by running away. Almost wholly carnivorous, they scavenge carrion along the shoreline, and also loiter around penguin colonies to steal eggs and food from adult birds.

Snowy Sheathbillzoom image
  • Order Charadriiformes
  • Length 13–16 in (34–41 cm)
  • Weight 1–1 lb (450–775 g)
  • Habitat Rocky coasts, inshore waters, sea ice
  • Distribution Antarctic Peninsula, subantarctic islands, southern South America, Falkland Islands
Snowy Sheathbill habitat mapzoom image