Family Petrels, Shearwaters (Procellariidae)

Least Concern

Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis)


French: Fulmar boréal German: Eissturmvogel Spanish: Fulmar boreal

Procellaria glacialis


, 1761,

within the Arctic Circle = Spitsbergen


Closely related to F. glacialoides. Validity of race auduboni has often been questioned. Birds from N Greenland sometimes considered to represent separate race, minor, but size variation of species is clinal. Three subspecies normally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • F. g. glacialis (Linnaeus, 1761) – high Arctic of N Atlantic Ocean, from NE Canada and N Greenland E to Svalbard, Bear I and Franz Josef Land.
  • F. g. auduboni Bonaparte, 1857 – low Arctic and boreal zones of N Atlantic, from SE Canada (Newfoundland) and W & SE Greenland E to Jan Mayen and Iceland, and W & N Europe E to Novaya Zemlya.
  • F. g. rodgersii Cassin, 1862 – N Pacific Ocean, from Wrangel I, E Siberia (S to Kamchatka and Kuril Is) and St Lawrence I E to Pribilofs, Aleutians and S Alaska.
  • Descriptive notes

    45–50 cm; male 730–1050 g, female 535–855 g (nominate), male 689–957 g, female 661–760 g (auduboni); wingspan 102–112 cm.... read more


    Highly variable cackling calls in antagonistic interactions have been variously likened to “like... read more


    Marine, mostly in waters over continental shelf; ranges from pack ice through Arctic and subarctic... read more

    Food and feeding

    Variable quantities of fish (e.g., capelin Mallotus villosus, Norway pout Trisopterus esmarkii, whiting Merlangius... read more


    Starts May, but colonies at lower latitudes are scarcely ever empty, being occupied in all months except Aug–Oct (when birds are... read more


    N populations migratory, retreating S as sea freezes over, and mostly absent Nov–Feb (though... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Total population c. 7,000,000 pairs and 20,000,000 individuals, with following national or regional totals reported: c. 1,000,000... read more

    Recommended citation

    Carboneras, C., Jutglar, F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 24 January 2020).