Southern Giant Petrel

Southern Giant Petrel

Southern Giant Petrel

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The Southern Giant Petrel (Macronectes giganteus), also known as the Antarctic Giant Petrel, Giant Fulmar, Stinker, and Stinkpot, is a large seabird of the southern oceans. Its distribution overlaps broadly with the similar Northern Giant Petrel, though it overall is centered slightly further south. Adults of the two species can be separated by the colour of their bill-tip: greenish in the Southern and reddish in the Northern.


The Southern Giant Petrel is one of two members of the genus Macronectes, which in turn, along with 14 other genera, comprise the Procellariidae family. Macronectes, also referred to as the Giant Petrels, along with the genus Fulmarus, Cape Petrel, Antarctic Petrel, and the Snow Petrel form a sub-family within the larger family.

The Southern Giant Petrel was first described as Macronectes giganteus by Johann Friedrich Gmelin, in 1789, based on a specimen from Staten Island off Tierra del Fuego.


Macronectes giganteus can be broken down as makros a Greek word meaning long or large and nēktēs meaning swimmer, and giganteus from the Latin for gigantic. Southern Giant Petrel starts with southern referring to their habitat being further south than their counterpart the Northern Giant Petrel, and Petrel refers to St. Peter and from the story of him walking on water, which refers to how they run on top of the water as they are getting airborne. They were also called Fulmar, which comes from full an...
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