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Southern Fulmar

Southern Fulmar

Admire these amazing gliders as they follow your expedition ship to Antarctica

What you need to know about the Southern Fulmar

Our Expert Says… "Slightly more delicate than the northern fulmar, this bird is often seen with petrels following the ships. A lovely sight, and you will often find your guides call you on deck to experience them if they are spotted overhead."

The southern fulmar (also known as the Antarctic Fulmar) is a large petrel, growing up to 50cm (20”) long and with a wingspan of almost 1.2m (4ft).

Good gliders, you will often see southern fulmars following your expedition ship alongside Cape petrels. Their flight is a series of long glides with intermittent wing flaps, and they are almost always silent when on the wing. Their bodies are mainly white to the underside, with a pale silver or grey upper, darker wings, and pale blue legs and feet.

Although silent when in the air, they can make plenty of noise when they are in their breeding colonies in November and December, giving out loud, crackling cries. There are colonies on several of the Antarctic islands including the South Shetland Islands, South Sandwich Islands, and the South Orkney Islands. They nest communally on ice-free rocky cliffs.

Southern fulmars are often seen feeding in flocks alongside Cape petrels and other seabirds. They will follow trawlers or whaling ships in the hope of a meal, as well as your Antarctic cruise ship! They will also gather in large numbers around dense concentrations of krill or other crustaceans as these make up the bulk of their diet, although they also take small fish and squid.

Southern Fulmar: Pictures & Videos

Southern Fulmar

Spots where the Southern Fulmar can be observed

Port Charcot, Booth Island

Port Charcot is a small bay at the north end of Booth Island. Booth Island is a rocky and rugged Y-shaped island off the Kiev Peninsula in Graham Land. It was first mapped in 1904 when the French Antarctic expedition led by Jean-Baptise Charcot over-wintered here.

After building a few rudimentary shelters and the cairn that can still be seen at the top of the hill, the expedition used Port Charcot as its base for exploring the area, that is close to the Lemaire Channel and the division between the NW and the SW peninsula . There is the remains of a stone hut used for astronomical observations and a wooden pillar with a plaque here where you can still make out the names of the first expedition members who wrote them almost 120 years ago.

In the bay where the Français was anchored (but difficult to reach with the ice) the letter 'F' was carved onto the rocks and can still be seen.

The walk to the cairn is delightful, although you’ll be carefully led by guides as wandering off the path can be treacherous, with loose rocks and crevasses. Visitors can also walk to the east where there is a noisy Gentoo penguin colony. Chinstraps and Adelies can also be seen on the beaches here. If you are lucky, you might get all three together!

From the top the views are stunning, especially the view to the SW, towards Pléneau Island Island, overlooking 'the iceberg graveyard'. This iceberg graveyard can be explored on a spectacular Zodiac cruise, either from ships anchored off Port Charcot to the 'NW' of the Lemaire Channel, or from ships anchored off Pléneau Island and Booth Island that had sailed through through the Lemaire Channel. For full details of this Zodiac cruise refer to the details under Pléneau Island.

Our trips to spot the Southern Fulmar

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