A photo of a Southern Giant Petrel (Macronectes giganteus)
Southern Giant Petrel

Southern Giant Petrel

Macronectes giganteus

The southern giant petrel (Macronectes giganteus), also known as the Antarctic giant petrel, giant fulmar, stinker, and stinkpot, is a large seabird of the southern oceans. Its distribution overlaps broadly with the similar northern giant petrel, though it overall is centered slightly further south. Adults of the two species can be distinguished by the colour of their bill-tip: greenish in the southern and reddish in the northern. Both this and the northern giant petrel vary considerably in size, with southern colonies averaging larger than northern colonies, in line with Bergmann's rule. Due to the large amount of size variability, it is difficult to determine which is the larger species, but the largest-bodied colonies of the southern species are slightly larger on average, in both mass and linear dimensions, than the largest in the northern giant petrel. They have a very large yellow bill, with a green tip and greyish-brown legs. There are two different morphs, the dark which resembles the northern giant petrel, and the more distinct light morph. On the dark morph the upper breast, head and neck are light with the remainder of its plumage being mottled brown. The leading edge of its wing is lighter as is the base of the inner primaries, on the underside. The light morph is rarer and very distinct with only slight black speckles on an otherwise all white look. As juveniles, the dark morph starts off more sooty brown and pales as it ages. Both giant petrels have strong legs and can move around on land effectively. Finally, when in flight this species has a somewhat hunchbacked appearance
Birda logo
Download Birda for free and join the community of curious everyday people connecting with the natural world
Birda logo
Download Birda for free and join the community

Southern Giant Petrels on Birda


A map showing the sighting location
Aart Verrips
Saturday 29 Apr 2023 - 8:22am
South Africa
A photo of a Southern Giant Petrel photographed in ANP Península Valdés (AICA CU01)--Punta Norte Argentina
Profile picture for Xristina K
Xristina K
Wednesday 22 Mar 2023 - 1:50pm
A map showing the sighting location
Sue Roellig
Friday 13 Jan 2023 - 4:49pm
A map showing the sighting location
Profile picture for Lucas Quivira
Lucas Quivira
Saturday 24 Sep 2022 - 12:16pm
Connect with nature,
Find your flock
Copyright © 2023 Chirp Birding Ltd. All rights reserved.