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Wildlife in Antarctica

Wildlife in Antarctica The Weddell Seal A lengthy sail in the Weddell Sea will provide an opportunity for you to meet the Weddell seal, which rules these parts and is recognisable by its small head, short muzzle and large hind flippers. The males of the species have dark grey fur, while the females’ coat ranges from beige to mottled light grey. A skilled diver and swimmer, this placid animal is able to remain submerged for more than an hour when hunting. It feeds on krill, squid and small fish. These peaceful and highly sociable animals tend to congregate in large groups and spend most of their days in the water or resting on the coastal ice. The Black-Browed Albatross This majestic bird of the polar seas, the black-browed albatross, has an elegant white plumage with a scattering of black on its wings, while its eyes seem to have been drawn in charcoal. This “prince of the clouds” spends most of its time gliding over the oceans and mainly feeds on squid, crustaceans and various fish. It builds its nest in the tall cliffs using dirt, grass and seaweed, and only lays a single egg in it. Your cruise will be a wonderful opportunity to admire the coastal landscapes of the Falkland Islands as several thousand of these birds line up on their promontory, facing the sea. The Humpback Whale The humpback whale is considered to be the most impressive mammal in the marine world and can reach up to 19 metres in length and 65 tonnes in weight. It is recognisable by its massive body, which is black on its dorsal side and white on its ventral side, and by the many tubercles or large bumps on its head. It is a very expressive animal, renowned for the long, plaintive and melodious songs it uses to communicate. As this facetious acrobat is rather bold and, above all, very curious, it will gladly approach your ship to offer you an incredible show: its huge and powerful blue-tinged tail slaps the water surface, defying spectators and photographers. The Cape Petrel The Cape petrel is an elegant bird with a wingspan of around 80 cm. It is considered to be one of the most unusual seabirds in the Antarctic. You will recognise this animal by the quadrangular patterns on its back, while the rest of its body is covered in plumage that is dark brown on the head and neck and white on the belly. Its diet consists mainly of krill and small fish. It is gregarious and loves to gather in vast colonies when it goes hunting in the open sea or during mating season in South Georgia. During your cruise, do not miss the opportunity to spot this graceful winged creature as it plays on the wind behind your ship. The Chinstrap Penguin Renowned for its boldness and agility, the chinstrap penguin is considered to be the second most common species of penguin in the Antarctic Peninsula. Recognisable by the fine band of black feathers around its throat that inspired its name, it has white plumage on its belly and black on its back. When hunting, this excellent swimmer looks for food close to shore but can also dive to depths of up to 70 metres to catch its prey. When your ship stops in these parts, you will be able to see chinstrap penguins actually sliding along the ice to reach their round nests made of small stones and pebbles, in which they lay two eggs per year. The King Penguin Penguins are endemic to Antarctica and admired by anyone fortunate enough to see them up close. Although this seabird cannot fly and seems awkward on land as it waddles across the ice, it is an excellent swimmer, highly skilled at catching its prey. In South Georgia, you will be able to observe the most majestic of the species: the King Penguin. The bright yellow on its head and neck are its most distinguishing feature, and it stands around 90 cm tall, it moves around in colonies of thousands of individuals, forming a colourful horde in which adults and chicks co-exist in harmony. 24 | Summer 2018 / Winter 2018 - 2019 Cruises

1 2 3 4 5 6 1 - Weddell Seals on coastal ice 2 - Black-Browed Albatross 3 - A flying Cape Petrel 4 - A Chinstrap Penguin on Deception Island 5 - A group of King Penguins 6 - Humpback Whale Antarctic Expeditions by | 25