Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-7ccbd9845f-mpxzb Total loading time: 0.496 Render date: 2023-01-30T16:16:12.441Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Article contents

Survey of marine birds and mammals of the South Sandwich Islands

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 October 2009


During January and February 1997, two separate surveys of the birds and seals of the South Sandwich Islands archipelago were made, with further data obtained from the northern islands during February 1998. Together, these surveys provide the most recent and accurate estimates of breeding populations of most species, their distributions, and their habitat. Observations were made (1) from a small vessel operating close inshore, which surveyed approximately 92% of the archipelago's coastline, in addition to making shore counts at selected locations; (2) during a six-week shorebased field camp on Candlemas Island; and (3) opportunistically during helicopter-supported landings and airborne operations over all islands in the archipelago. The surveys recorded 16 species of breeding birds, including the first confirmation of breeding by black-bellied storm petrels (Fregetta tropica) and Antarctic terns (Sterna vittata), the second record of incubating king penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus), and the location of many previously unrecorded seabird breeding sites. The population of chinstrap penguins (Pygoscelis antarctica), at approximately 1.5 x 10 pairs is considerably less than the estimate of 5 x 10 pairs currently in use, and represents about 30% of the world population. Populations of chinstrap penguins, Antarctic fulmars (Fulmarus glacialoides), cape petrels (Daption capense), and snow petrels (Pagodroma nivea) in the South Sandwich Islands are of global significance. Five species of seals were recorded. At the time of the surveys, only Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) were confirmed to be breeding, and several new breeding sites were located. Pup numbers showed a small increase compared with the few earlier records, but the population has not undergone the large increases seen on South Georgia and at sites in the maritime Antarctic. The other four species recorded are considered highly likely to breed either within the archipelago or amongst pack ice that seasonally surrounds the islands.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1999

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Allen, J.A. 1899. Fur seal hunting in the southern hemisphere. In: Jordan, D.S. The fur seals and fur seal islands of the North Pacific Ocean. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office: 307319.Google Scholar
Ashford, J.R., Croxall, J.P., Rubilar, P.S., and Moreno, C.A.. 1994. Seabird interactions with longlining operations for Dissostichus eleginoides at the South Sandwich Islands and South Georgia. CCAMLR Science 1: 143153.Google Scholar
Baker, P.E., Holdgate, M.W., Longton, R.E., Tilbrook, P.J., Tomblin, J.F., Vaughan, R.W., and Wynne-Edwards, C.J.C.. 1964. A survey of the South Sandwich Islands. Nature 203: 691693.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bonner, W.N. 1968. The fur seal of South Georgia. Cambridge: British Antarctic Survey (British Antarctic Survey Scientific Report 56).Google Scholar
Boyd, I.L. 1993. Pup production and distribution of breeding Antarctic fur seals (Arctocephalus gazella) at South Georgia. Antarctic Science 5: 1724.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
CCAMLR. 1997. Statistical Bulletin 9. Hobart: CCAMLR.Google Scholar
Clark, G.S. 1987. Seabird observations between South Georgia and South Africa from a sailing vessel. Cormorant 14: 2030.Google Scholar
Cobley, N.D. 1989. First recorded sighting of the imperial cormorant Phalacrocorax atriceps at Zavodovski Island, South Sandwich Islands. Cormorant 17: 78.Google Scholar
Conroy, J.W.H. and White, M.G.. 1973. The breeding status of the king penguin (Aptenodytes patagonica). British Antarctic Survey Bulletin 32: 3140.Google Scholar
Cook, J. 1777. A voyage towards the South Pole and around the world performed in His Majesty's ships the ‘Resolution’ and ‘Adventure’ in the years 1772–75. London: Shanan and Cadell.Google Scholar
Cordier, J.-R., Mendez, A., Mougin, J.-L., and Visbeek, G.. 1981. Les oiseaux de I'île Thulé, archipel des Sandwich du Sud (59°28'S, 27°20'W). L'Oiseau et RFO 51: 147160.Google Scholar
Croxall, J.P., and Kirkwood, E.D.. 1979. The distribution of penguins on the Antarctic Peninsula and islands of the Scotia Sea. Cambridge: British Antarctic Survey.Google Scholar
Croxall, J.P., Evans, P.G.H., and Schreiber, R.W. (editors). 1984. Status and conservation of the world's seabirds. Cambridge: International Council for Bird Preservation (ICBP Technical Publication 2).Google Scholar
Debenham, F. (editor). 1945. The voyage of Captain Bellingshausen to the Antarctic seas 1819–1821. London: Hakluyt Society.Google Scholar
Fanning, E. 1834. Voyages around the world; with selected sketches of voyages to the South Seas, North and South Pacific oceans, China, etc. under the command and agency of the author. London: O. Rich.Google Scholar
Hodgson, D.A., and Johnston, N.M.. 1997. Inferring seal populations from lake sediments. Nature 387: 3031.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hodgson, D.A., Johnston, N.M., Caulkett, A.P., and Jones, V.J.. 1998. Palaeolimnology of Antarctic fur seal Arctocephalus gazella populations and implications for Antarctic management. Biological Conservation 83: 145154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Holdgate, M.W. 1963. Observations in the South Sandwich Islands, 1962. Polar Record 11 (73): 394405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Holdgate, M.W., and Baker, P.E.. 1979. The South Sandwich Islands: I. General description. Cambridge: British Antarctic Survey (British Antarctic Survey Scientific Report 91).Google Scholar
Ivanov, A.I. 1959. Na ostrove Zavadovskogo [On Zavodovski Island]. Informatsionnyi Byulleten' Sovetskoi Antarkticheskoi Ekspeditsii 10: 3639.Google Scholar
Kemp, S., and Nelson, A.L.. 1931. The South Sandwich Islands. Discovery Reports 3: 133198.Google Scholar
Larsen, C.A. 1908. Original report on an exploring expedition with the steam yacht ‘Undine’ round part of South Georgia and to the South Sandwich Islands, from 5 to 21 November 1908. Cambridge: Scott Polar Research Institute MS 101/97.Google Scholar
Morrell, B. 1832. A narrative of four voyages to the South Sea, North and South Pacific Ocean, Chinese Sea, Ethiopic and southern Atlantic Ocean, Indian and Antarctic Ocean, from the year 1822–1831. New York: Harper.Google Scholar
Morton, A. 1997. Bird and seal survey, Candlemas Island, South Sandwich Islands. Unpublished British Antarctic Surveyfield report GEN/1996/NM2. Cambridge: British Antarctic Survey.Google Scholar
Murray, G. (editor). 1901. The Antarctic manual for the use of the expedition of 1901. London: Royal Geographical Society.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
O'Gorman, F. 1961. Fur seals breeding in the Falkland Islands Dependencies. Nature 192: 914916.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Payne, M.R. 1977. Growth of a fur seal population. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B 279: 6779.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Poncet, J. 1997. 1997 distribution and abundance survey ofseabirds and seals at the South Sandwich Islands in the Scotia Sea. Stanley: Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.Google Scholar
Poncet, S., and Poncet, J.. 1985. A survey of penguin breeding populations at the South Orkney Islands. British Antarctic Survey Bulletin 68: 7181.Google Scholar
Poncet, S., and Poncet, J.. 1987. Censuses of penguin populations of the Antarctic Peninsula, 1983–87. British Antarctic Survey Bulletin 77: 109129.Google Scholar
Prince, P.A., and Croxall, J.P.. 1996. The birds of South Georgia. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 116: 81104.Google Scholar
Smith, R.I.L. 1988. Destruction of Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems by a rapidly increasing fur seal population. Biological Conservation 45: 5572.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Watson, G.E. 1975. Birds of the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic. Washington, DC: American Geophysical Union.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Williams, T.D. 1995. The penguins. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Wilkinson, J.V. 1956. South Sandwich Islands – bird life. Sea Swallow 9: 1820.Google Scholar
Woehler, E.J. 1993. Distribution and abundance of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic penguins. Cambridge: SCAR.Google Scholar
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Survey of marine birds and mammals of the South Sandwich Islands
Available formats

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Survey of marine birds and mammals of the South Sandwich Islands
Available formats

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Survey of marine birds and mammals of the South Sandwich Islands
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *