Chionis albus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Chionis albus
Species Authority: (Gmelin, 1789)
Common Name(s):
English Snowy Sheathbill, American Sheathbill
French Chionis blanc
Chionis alba Stotz et al. (1996)
Chionis alba BirdLife International (2004)
Chionis alba Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993)
Chionis alba Dowsett and Forbes-Watson (1993)
Taxonomic Notes: Gender agreement of species name follows David and Gosselin (2002b).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Harding, M., Fisher, S., Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J.
Although this species may have a restricted range, it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species breeds on the Antarctic Peninsula (Antarctica), and along the Scotia Arc on the South Shetland Islands, Elephant Island, the South Orkney Islands and South Georgia (Georgia del Sur) and the South Sandwich Islands (Islas Sandwich del Sur); and probably also on the South Sandwich Islands, where breeding has not been confirmed. It is a non-breeding migrant to the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Tierra del Fuego (Chile and Argentina) and Patagonia (Argentina), with some birds wandering further north.
Antarctica; Argentina; Chile; Falkland Islands (Malvinas); South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
Brazil; Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; Uruguay
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The species is typically found in seabird colonies, especially those of penguins, but occasionally those of cormorants and albatrosses, and also at seal rookeries and haul-outs. In the Falklands it occurs near human settlements. It is omnivorous, and notably feeds on marine prey stolen from penguins (del Hoyo et al. 1996).
Systems: Terrestrial; Marine

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Chionis albus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 31 August 2015.
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