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Snowy Sheathbill

The Snowy Sheathbill (Chionis alba) also known as the Pale-faced Sheathbill, is a species of bird that is mostly terrestrial (ground dwelling). It is Antarctica’s only permanently land-based bird species. It occurs in Antarctica, the Scotia Arc, the South Orkneys and South Georgia. The extreme southern populations migrate northward in the winter.

The adult is about 15 to 16 inches long with a wingspan of 30 to 31.5 inches. It is pure white except for its bill and pink warty face. Its scientific name means “snow white”. It is a scavenger that will eat anything, including any kind of droppings and will steal penguin eggs. This bird has been observed eating a tapeworm that had been living in a Chinstrap Penguin’s intestine.

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Snowy Sheathbill


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