A specialist

There is one think about penguins and their colonies. They are not the cleanest of all; understandably, as penguins cannot leave their nest to go to the toilet. And like most animals who feed on krill or fish, their poo smells quite a bit. Quickly the snow around the colony turns reddish, and from a distance, we can already detect the colony.

Gentoo Penguins nicely mark their colonies red/brown.

One bird species make use of all this poo. The Snowy Sheathbill may not be Antarctica’s most attractive bird species; it tries hard to keep the colonies clean. It has specialised in feeding on penguin poo. In most of the penguin colonies on the Antarctic Peninsula, there are several of these garbage men present (woeha, my spelling check would like to change this to ‘sanitation workers’).

Snowy Sheathbill taking a bath.

But don’t underestimate these birds. In Dutch they are called ‘South Polar Chicken,’ an apt name when you see them. But they do leave Antarctica in winter and can fly all the way to South America or even South Africa. Oh, and about being not the cleanest? This bird decided to do something about that and had a proper bath.

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