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.