Sheathbills


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Related to Sheathbills: Chionidae

Sheathbills

 

(Chionididae), a family of birds of the order of plovers. They are 36–43 cm long and white in color. Sheathbills nest in chinks of cliffs and lay two or three spotted pale-brown eggs at a time. They stay near the sea shores, feed on invertebrates (crabs and mollusks) and carrion, and ravage the nests of penguins and stormy petrels.

Because of a number of anatomical peculiarities, sheathbills occupy an intermediary position between pipers and gulls. There are two types: Chionis alba (which has a yellow bill) and Chionis minor (with a black bill). The first is distributed from Tierra del Fuego and the Falkland Islands to the Palmer Archipelago near the northern extreme of Antarctica. The second is found on Kerguélen, Crozet, Prince Edward, Marion, and other islands in the south of the Indian Ocean.

References in periodicals archive ?
Breeding biology, moult and survival of Lesser Sheathbills Chionis minor at Marion Island, sub-Antarctic region.
The scativorous snowy sheathbills, cleanup crews for the penguin colonies, are likewise expected to take some of the bait but recover quickly.
Polar/sub-polar] The Falkland Islands offer some of the most accessible sub-Antarctic wildlife, including several species of penguin; rookeries of South American sea-lions, fur-seals and southern elephant seals; and other birds such as flightless steamer ducks, sheathbills and `Johnny Rook'--the striated caracara, a large falcon that scavenges dead seabirds.