Snow petrel

antarctic adventures


Snow petrels are an all-white, small fulmarine petrel with dark eyes, small black bill and bluish-grey feet. There are two subspecies of snow petrel that different only in size.


The nest is a simple pebble-lined scrape usually in a deep rock crevice with overhanging protection. One white egg is laid in late November to mid-December. The egg is incubated for 41–49 days and the chick is brooded for eight days.


They feed largely on krill and must always be near to the sea in order to feed. They are found therefore particularly along coasts and along the Antarctic peninsula.


Skuas are major predators, but severe weather conditions, especially heavy snow that blocks nest entrances, may cause adults to abandon their eggs or chicks to starve.


Snow petrels are birds of the Antarctic, they don't migrate as such but move further north in winter as the cold weather sets in.They frequently arrive surprisingly far south in the winter in ridiculously low temperatures and high winds for such small creatures and rest overnight on totally exposed sea-ice


The snow petrels space themselves out along the tide crack and sit patiently waiting for a krill to swim by at which point they jump out and hover just above the surface to take the tasty morsel.


Restricted to Antarctic waters, the snow petrel is most commonly found in areas with pack ice and icebergs. It breeds on cliffs and rock faces up to 440 kilometers inland and 2,400 meters above sea level.