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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Southern Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus

Part-scavenger and part-predator, this large petrel is often seen on the fringes of penguin colonies or near the carcasses of dead seals and whales. It uses its powerful bill to tear apart carrion and to kill young birds. Most adults have a pale head and a dark grayish brown back, but some are almost completely white with scattered black flecks.

Southern Giant Petrelzoom image
  • Order Procellariiformes
  • Length 34–39 in (86–99 cm)
  • Weight 11 lb (5 kg)
  • Habitat Coasts, open sea; nests on ice-free coasts
  • Distribution Southern hemisphere, from Antarctica as far north as the tropics
Southern Giant Petrel habitat mapzoom image