The White-chinned Petrel is a summer resident, but present in Falkland waters throughout the year, most commonly northwest of the Falklands from October to December. Few are seen between June and September. It has a circumpolar distribution but numbers in the Falkland Islands have always been thought to be small, and now probably declining. In 2004-05 and 2005-06 a minimum total population of 55 breeding pairs was observed on Kidney Island (464kb PDF), New Island (576kb PDF) and at a very small colony on Bottom Island in Port William (for full report go to: The White-Chinned Petrel Population of the Falkland Islands (615kb PDF). South Georgia has the largest global population of white chinned petrels, with 2 million pairs.
The Southern Giant Petrel, known locally as the ‘Stinker’, occurs throughout the year around all Falkland coasts, The Falkland Islands is the world's most important breeding location for this bird, holding a substantial proportion of the world population at about 20,000 pairs (Census of the Southern Giant-Petrel Population of the Falkland Islands, 2004-05 (1.8Mb PDF)). They breed in 38 locations, the majority around the south of Falkland Sound and to the west of West Falkland. The largest colony is on Sandy Cay, in the Elephant Cays Group (531kb PDF), with 10,936 breeding pairs.
Locally known as ‘mollymawks’, these are very beautiful birds. The Falkland Islands hold 70 % (500,00 pairs) of the world population. The majority of the Falkland albatrosses breed on Steeple Jason (733kb PDF) and Beauchêne Island (502kb PDF). It also breeds off the coast of Chile and on other sub-Antarctic islands such as South Georgia.
There are many threats to the wildlife in the Falklands in particular to the vulnerable albatross and petrel populations, but also penguin species and many other sea birds. Examples of threats include interactions with commercial fisheries, disturbance at breeding sites, disease and harmful algal blooms, invasive species and climate change.
Falklands Conservation works with the local government and other orgainisation to mitagate or to understand these issues when they arise. The Falkland Islands, as part of the UK, is signed to the International Agreement on the Conservation of Albatross and Petrels (ACAP).
The latest information on Falkland albatross and petrels can be found in:
Census of the Black-browed Albatross Population of the Falkland Islands (2000 & 2005) (8.5Mb PDF)
Census of the Southern Giant-Petrel Population of the Falkland Islands (2004/05) (1.8Mb PDF)
The White-chinned Petrel Population of the Falkland Islands (615kb PDF)
and the 2006-07 Seabird Monitoring Project report (2Mb PDF)
These three species are recognised as threatened and are therefore protected under the International Agreement for the Protection of Albatross and Petrels. For a list of all other species in this family known to have occurred in the Falkland Islands go to www.acap.aq
|Species||IUCN Status||Falkland Islands population||Worldwide population|
399,416 pairs (2005 Census)
c. 500,000 (2010 Census)
1150000 mature birds
Southern Giant Petrel
|Least Concern||19,810 pairs (2004/05 Census)||65000-100,000 mature birds (BirdLife 2013)|
(Census 2004/05 & 2005/06)
|5 million pairs
(2 million on South Georgia)