Friday, October 1, 2010

Southern Giant Petrel – British Antartic Territory . 2005

Page 52

British Antarctic Territory Post issued the stamp series featured the birdlife Southern Giant Petrel (Macronectes gigantues) also known as Antarctic Giant Petrel on year 2005. The issuance represent in stamps and one souvenir sheet.

The Southern Giant Petrel (Macronectes giganteus), is a large seabird of the southern oceans and  was first described as Macronectes giganteus by Johann Friedrich Gmelin, in 1789, based on a specimen from Staten Island off Tierra del Fuego. The Southern Giant Petrel is the largest of the Precellariidae and measures 86–99 cm with a wingspan of 185–205 cm .The male weighs approximately 5 kg and the female 3–8 kg .They have a very large yellow bill, with a green tip and greyish brown legs. The leading edge of its wing was lighter as are the base of the inner primaries, on the underside. White morph unmistakable, normally flecked black. Dark morph has sooty-black juvenile, becoming paler with age. In flight this species has a somewhat hunchbacked appearance.

The range of the Southern Giant Petrel is quite large as it ranges from Antarctica to the subtropics of Chile, Africa, and Australia, and has an occurrence range of 36,000,000 km2 (14,000,000 sq mi). It breeds on numerous islands throughout the southern oceans. The islands with larger populations include the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, South Orkney Islands, Staten Island, South Shetland, Heard Island, Macquarie Island, Prince Edward Islands, and Crozet Islands. The other locations with small populations are the Kerguelen Islands, Gough Island, Tristan da Cunha, Diego Ramirez, Isla Noir as well as four locations on the continent of Antarctica, including Terre Adélie, and small islands off the coast of Argentina near Chubut province.

The Southern Giant Petrel will feed on krill, squid, and offal in coastal and pelagic waters, and unlike most other Procellariiformes, this bird will eat carrion and even attack smaller seabirds. The Southern Giant Petrel starts sexual maturity at six or seven years of age;[ however the average age of first breeding is ten years. Its breeding season begins in October. Its nest is a mound of moss, grass, and stones with a depression in the center and located on bare or grassy ground.

On the year 2009 this species was upgraded to a status of Least Concern from Near Threatened, by the IUCN. Major threats to the well-being of this species start with the typical accidental deaths caused by longline fishing as well as trawl fishing near the Falkland Islands. Human disturbances have also adversely affected this bird.

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