Family Petrels, Shearwaters (Procellariidae)

Least Concern

Snow Petrel (Pagodroma nivea)


Taxonomy

French: Pétrel des neiges German: Schneesturmvogel Spanish: Petrel níveo
Taxonomy:

Procellaria nivea

G. Forster

, 1777,

latitude 52° S, longitude 20° E

.

Races may constitute two separate species, as sympatry without interbreeding reported from E Antarctica; alternative view claims that most colonies are mixed, with extensive zone of hybridization; subspecific distribution confused, and some authors prefer to recognize a single monotypic species#R#R. Race major previously listed as confusa, but major has priority#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. n. nivea (G. Forster, 1777) – Lesser Snow Petrel – Antarctic Southern Ocean, breeding in Antarctica, Scotia Arc and South Georgia.
  • P. n. major Schlegel, 1863 – Greater Snow Petrel – Antarctica and adjacent islands; South Sandwich Is.
  • Descriptive notes

    30–40 cm; 202–570 g; wingspan 75–95 cm. Unmistakable; all-white, short-billed petrel, with wedge-shaped tail when fanned. Adult has entirely white plumage (... read more

    Voice

    At sea, although usually silent (like many petrels), foraging flocks have been reported to give... read more

    Habitat

    Marine; closely linked with pack ice, occurring mainly in areas with 10–50% ice cover; does... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mainly krill (Euphausia), fish, squid and carrion, e.g. whale blubber, seal carcasses and placentae, dead seabirds, excreta.... read more

    Breeding

    Starts late Oct/early Nov in most areas, typically males returning first to colonies (exceptionally even in Aug), with copulation occurring... read more

    Movements

    Little known; relatively sedentary in places, most birds staying within vicinity of colony year-... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Apparently abundant, with no evidence for long-term overall trends, only marked inter-annual variation at colonies, though there was... read more

    Recommended citation

    Carboneras, C., Jutglar, F. & Kirwan, G.M. (2018). Snow Petrel (Pagodroma nivea). 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 https://www.hbw.com/node/52518 on 23 January 2018).