penguin snipping

PENGUINS

Emperor Penguins – They are the tallest of all the penguins (1.15 meters) and the most colourfully outfitted species. Unfortunately they are the least numerous of all species.

The breading season start late March with the onset of winter approaching and the eggs begin to hatch between May and late – June or July.

Adélie Penguins – These penguins are relatively small compared with the Emperor, just 70 centimetres.

During the winter they stay near the outer edges of the pack ice where the conditions are less harsh. When summer season is coming they migrate towards the continent and form rookeries, after chicks grow up the colonies are abandoned by late February.

Macaroni Penguins>- They are similar in size to the Adélie but they have a particularly ornate yellow plumage above each eye.

Macaronis typically inhabit the islands around Antarctica and don’t move onto the main continent. Breeding season starts in December and by March the chicks generally are big enough to leave the colony.

 

SEALS

Leopard Seals – They are the largest seal in Antarctica. Leopard Seals reached to over 3.4 meters. Instantly recognizable they are identified by the reptilian-like head, long sinewy neck and arched thorax.

These types of seals spend a good part of their time patrolling the shores of penguin rookeries because as they feed on penguins and crab seals.

Antarctic Fur Seals – these seals can reach a weight of 160 kilos and being sociable among other Fur Seals. So sociable in fact that they are known to bite humans as well as outrun them on land. So enjoy them from a distance!

Fur seals were positioned under protection after being heavily hunted that caused a severe reduction in their total population.

Crabeater Seals – Despite their name, they eat mainly krill and crabs is only an small part of the diet. Usually there are solitary animals and in the breeding season they form small family groups. Crabeaters live at the edge of pack ice and their main predator, killer whales, occasionally bump a floating piece of ice in order to knock seal into the water.

 

BIRDS

Wandering Albatross – One of the most characteristic birds of Antarctica and the largest of seabirds this majestic species can reach a 3 metre wingspan and a weight of 8-12 kg.

The Wandering Albatross has one of the lowest reproductive rates of any bird and the population is declining, especially on South Georgia.

Petrels – Their name means ‘’little Peter’’, taken from the Apostle who walked with Christ on the Sea of Galilee. This is because most of them have a skittering taken off and skimming-type flight.

Petrels are an unusual kind of bird because of their long nostrils, affording them a strong sense of smell.

 

WHALES

Humpback Whale – the name humpback makes allusion to the high arch of their backs when they dive. These whales are well known for their captivating and mysterious singing and dramatic acrobatics.

Orca/Killer Whale –They are called ‘’Wolves of the Sea’’ as well, for their closely-related pack-like behaviour.

Orcas are known for their incredible acrobatics in the water, the whale speeds to the surface and jumps completely out of the sea and fall back with a fantastic splash.

Blue Whale – this whale is the biggest and the loudest animal that has ever existed on Earth.

Frequently Blue Whales migrate alone or in pairs. There were around 200,000 individuals but they were hunted mercilessly in the last century which caused a devastating drop in the population reducing it almost to extinction.