Falklands Conservation Southern Giant Petrel
Southern Giant Petrel

Environmental Research Unit, PO Box 434, Stanley, Falkland Islands

Southern Giant Petrel

Macronectes giganteus
Local Name: Stinker
Breeding Range: Circumpolar on subantarctic islands
Length: 88cm
Falklands Population: ~10,000 breeding pairs
World Population: ~36,000 breeding pairs

Giant Petrels breed in colonies on remote coastal flats at more than 50 sites around the Falklands, with the largest colony being found on Elephant Cays. Adults make a simple scrape in which they lay a large single egg during October and November, and chicks remain in the nest until they fledge in late March. Breeding adults will often abandon their nests if people approach too close. Giant Petrels are often seen around Stanley and other settlements scavenging for debris throughout the year, but their main diet comprises of squid and crustaceans at sea, the eggs and chicks of seabirds, and carrion. Sexes are similar in appearance. The Falklands population has declined over recent years, probably as a result of increased disturbance during the breeding season.

Web page created by Mike Bingham