Antarctic Petrel

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Description:


The Antarctic Petrel, Thalassoica antarctica, is a boldly marked dark brown and white petrel, found in Antarctica, most commonly in the Ross and Weddell seas. They eat Antarctic krill, fish, and small squid. They feed while swimming but can dive well from the surface and the air.

Taxonomy

The Antarctic Petrel is the only known species in the genus Thalassoica, and is a member of the Procellariidae family, and the Procellariiformes order. Also, this Petrel along with the Snow Petrel, the Cape Petrel, both Giant Petrels, and the two species in the Fulmarus family, are considered to be a separate group from the other Procellariidae members. They share certain identifying features. First, they have nasal passages that attach to the upper bill called naricorns. Although the nostrils on the Petrels are on the top of the upper bill. The bills of Procellariiformes are also unique in that they are split into between 7 and 9 horny plates.On Petrels, one of these plates forms the hooked portion of the upper bill. They produce a stomach oil made up of wax esters and triglycerides that is stored in the proventriculus. This is used against predators as well as an energy rich food source for chicks and for the adults during their long flights. Finally, they also have a salt gland that is situated above the...
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