Northern Fulmars are a sort of mini-albatrosses. They are in the same family, that of the tubenoses. They are true seabirds and only come to land to breed. Where the Southern ocean has a whole array of these birds, the high Arctic only has one, the Northern Fulmar.

The Northern Fulmar comes in several different colour morphs. In the south, most birds are of the light colour morph, with a very light, almost white body and grey wings. In the High Arctic, however, the birds are of the much greyer dark morph. Besides these extremes, there is a whole range of intermediate morphs, not pale enough for the light morph, not dark enough for the dark morph.

Two Northern Fulmars arguing


During a zodiac cruise, I found these two birds sitting on a small iceberg. The right bird is a dark morph bird, the left an intermediate morph. They were nicely posing for the picture and seemed more bothered by the presence of each other as they were with my zodiac nearby.

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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