Saunders Island is a diverse and stunning location situated in the Falkland Islands. This island is a paradise for bird lovers, providing them with an amazing opportunity to witness a wide range of seabirds and other fascinating bird species.
Saunders Island boasts a vibrant birdlife, and visitors can explore the vast array of different bird species that are native to this location.
The island hosts a large number of bird species throughout the year, making it one of the most popular birdwatching destinations in the Falkland Islands.
In this article, we will explore the fascinating world of birds in Saunders Island, their unique behaviors, and the best locations to observe them in their natural habitats.
1. Southern giant petrel
The Southern giant petrel is a large seabird native to the southern oceans, and it overlaps broadly with its similar counterpart, the Northern giant petrel.
Adults of both species can be distinguished by their bill-tip color: greenish in the south and yellowish in the north.
The Southern giant petrel also goes by other names such as Antarctic giant petrel, Giant fulmar, Stinker or Stinkpot.
These birds are around 75 cm (30 inches) long on average and have striking white plumage combined with brown wings that give them an impressive appearance while they soar through skies above open waters searching for food like fish, krill and squid - which they can catch up to 100 meters below sea level.Scientific classification:
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2. Magellanic penguin
The Magellanic penguin is a beloved South American bird that breeds in coastal Patagonia, including Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands. It migrates to Brazil and Uruguay occasionally as far north as Espirito Santo.
Vagrants have even been spotted in El Salvador, Antarctica's Avian Island and Australia/New Zealand.
This species of penguin is perhaps most recognizable for its striking black-and-white plumage - it has an entirely white underbelly with two distinctive stripes across its back which are black above and white below.
Additionally, they possess large pinkish feet which act like paddles when swimming underwater; these birds can swim up to 20 mph.
The Magellanic Penguin typically lives around 15 years but some may live longer due to their strong social bonds within colonies.
All in all this majestic creature makes quite the statement both on land or sea - making them a unique addition our planet’s wildlife population.Scientific classification:
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3. Brown-headed Gull
The Brown-headed Gull is a small species of gull that breeds in the high plateaus of Central Asia, from Tajikistan to Inner Mongolia.
During winter it migrates southward and can be seen along coastal areas and large inland lakes throughout the Indian Subcontinent.
They usually breed in colonies within reedbeds or marshes, constructing nests out of sticks on top of trees or among tall vegetation.
These birds have brown heads while their bodies are white with black wing tips; they also feature bright yellow eyes which give them an intense yet endearing look.
Their diet consists mainly fish but they’ll also consume insects, molluscs, crustaceans as well as other invertebrates and even plant matter during seasons when food is scarce.
Despite their shy nature towards humans these amazing birds make for wonderful wildlife watching opportunities.Scientific classification:
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Oystercatchers are a family of waders forming the Haematopodidae, with one genus; Haematopus.
They live in coastal regions around the world excluding both polar and some tropical areas of Africa & South East Asia.
Eurasian, South Island & Magellanic oystercatcher species also breed far inland - breeding grounds being found much deeper than other members of the family.
They have long beaks used to feed on molluscs such as mussels, clams and oysters which they crack open using their strong bills.
Oystercatchers are usually quite vocal birds making various loud calls when disturbed or alarmed.
The males tend to display more brightly coloured plumage compared to females who share similar brown/black hues for camouflage purposes during nesting season.Scientific classification:
|Family||Haematopodidae Bonaparte, 1838|
|Genus||Haematopus Linnaeus, 1758|
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Albatrosses are majestic, large seabirds belonging to the Diomedeidae family in the Procellariiformes order.
These birds have an impressive wingspan and can fly great distances over oceans with minimal effort.
They inhabit all of the world’s southern oceans, ranging from Antarctica up through New Zealand and Australia as well as parts of the northern Pacific Ocean region.
Albatross populations were once abundant throughout much of their range but they now face threats such as longline fishing gear entanglement which has caused a significant decline in numbers in some areas.
Furthermore, occasional vagrants have been found outside their native ranges including fossil remains suggesting that albatrosses previously existed on other regions too.Scientific classification:
|Family||Diomedeidae G.R. Gray 1840|
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6. Black-browed Albatross
The Black-browed Albatross is a majestic seabird that belongs to the albatross family known as Diomedeidae.
It is an impressive bird, with its black beak and brow contrasting against white plumage on its wings and body.
The most widespread and common member of this group, it can often be seen flying around oceans in different parts of the world.
These birds share many features with other members of their order Procellariiformes, such as shearwaters, fulmars, storm petrels and diving petrels; they all have long wingspans for gliding effortlessly above water surfaces.
They feed mainly by scavenging or hunting small fish near sea surface while flying low over waters.
Its population has unfortunately declined due to commercial fishing vessels which attract them closer to shore resulting in entanglement into fishing nets leading them towards mortality.Scientific classification:
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7. King penguin
King penguins are majestic birds that live in the temperate and sub-Antarctic regions of the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
They stand up to 3 feet tall, making them smaller than their relative, the Emperor Penguin.
King Penguins have a distinctive two toned orange and black plumage with white markings on its face around its eyes which gives it an elegant look.
Unlike other species of penguin, they don't migrate as much but stay close to breeding grounds year round living off from fish and squid found near shorelines or ice floes.
Their diet also consists of krill shrimp, small crustaceans such as copepods or amphipods eaten whole along with some occasional planktonic organisms like jellyfish for variety.
King Penguins form large colonies where males take part in incubation duties while females feed at sea for weeks at a time during mating season.Scientific classification:
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8. Gentoo penguin
Gentoo penguins are an iconic species of birds found in the Falkland Islands. They have a distinctive black and white plumage, with a bright orange beak and feet.
The gentoo is one of three closely related species—the Adélie Penguin (P. adeliae) and chinstrap penguin (P. antarcticus)—and they can all be seen co-existing in their natural habitat near open water or on ice shelves around Antarctica, including the South Shetlands, Orkneys, South Georgia islands, Kerguelen Islands and Macquarie Island to name just a few places.
This sociable bird is known for its loud call which sounds like “gentooooo”; it also makes other vocalizations such as honks during courtship displays.
Gentoos prefer to live in large colonies but will often nest alone or form small groups when needed.
With climate change having an increasingly negative effect on Antarctic habitats these days it's more important than ever that we protect this fascinating animal so future generations may enjoy them too.Scientific classification:
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9. Rockhopper penguin
The Rockhopper penguin is a small-sized bird found in the southern parts of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. They have distinctive bright yellow eyebrows and a feather crest on their head.
They mainly feed on krill, crustaceans, and small fish. These penguins are known for their unique behavior of hopping from rock to rock and swimming rapidly through the water.
They have the ability to jump vertically up to 1.5 meters high in order to reach their nesting sites.
Rockhopper penguins are monogamous and often return to the same breeding grounds year after year. Unfortunately, their population is declining due to overfishing, climate change, and loss of habitat.
Conservation efforts are underway to protect these charismatic birds and their important role in the ecosystem.
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10. Striated caracara
Known as the Johnny rook in the Falkland Islands, the striated caracara is a bird of prey belonging to the falcon and caracara family. It is found in Argentina, Chile, and the Falkland Islands.
This bird is listed as Near Threatened and is also referred to as Forster's caracara. It was first described in 1788 by the German scientist Johann Friedrich Gmelin.
As an apex predator, the striated caracara plays a crucial role in the ecosystem, controlling the population of small animals.
However, the population of striated caracaras is threatened due to habitat destruction and hunting.
Despite its name, the bird has a mottled appearance with black and white feathers. The striated caracara is a fascinating species of bird that is essential to the ecosystem.Scientific classification:
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11. Red-backed Hawk
The Red-backed Hawk is a bird of prey in the Accipitridae family, found in open habitats in parts of western and southern South America, as well as in the Falkland Islands.
This polymorphic species is often common, but its taxonomy is disputed within some scientific communities.
Despite this, the beautiful and fierce Red-backed Hawk remains an important predator in its habitat and plays a crucial role in maintaining ecological balance.
Its unique physical characteristics and hunting abilities make it a formidable force to be reckoned with in the wild, showcasing the beauty and power of the natural world.
As is true for many species in the animal kingdom, a deeper understanding and appreciation for the Red-backed Hawk and its role in its respective ecosystem is crucial for its future survival.Scientific classification: