When we leave the Drake and Antarctica behind, we come to South Georgia. Here there are two species of land birds that are endemic to the island: the South Georgia Pipit and the South Georgian Pintail. The former is the only passerine species on the island and the latter the only species of duck that regularly occurs on the island. It’s a subspecies of the Yellow-billed Pintail that is more common in South America.
The South Georgian Pintail is one of the few (if not only) carnivorous species of duck, as it’s sometimes seen feeding on seal carcasses on the shore. Apart from that, it feeds on plants, either in the water or on land.
For many years, the story of the South Georgian Pipit was one of predation by human-introduced rats. They only occurred on a few small rat-free islands in front of the coast. However, since the completion of a very successful rat eradication program some years ago, the bird starts to recolonise its old area again. Only a few years since the rats have been removed from the islands, we see many pipits again on places where we hadn’t seen them before. A great success for the conservation of this species (and other species of birds on the islands of course).
With this post comes an end to the series of Antarctic Birds. I’ve covered nearly all of the species that we regularly see on trips to the Antarctic Peninsula and South Georgia. In this post, you get an overview of all species covered. Next year, we’ll start a new series on the mammals of those areas.