Unsorted Wild Birds

Snowy Sheathbills, aka Pale-faced Sheathbills or Paddies

The Snowy Sheathbills (Chionis alba) also known as a Pale-faced sheathbill or Paddy is one of two species of sheathbill. It is usually found on the ground. It is Antarctica’s only permanently land-based bird.


A Snowy Sheathbill is about 15-16 inches long, with a wingspan of 30-31.5 inches.

They are pure white except for their pink warty faces (Chionis alba means “snow white”.)


The Snowy Sheathbill lives in Antarctica, the Scotia Arc, the South Orkneys and South Georgia. Snowy Sheathbills living very far south migrate north in winter.


Because Snowy Sheathbills do not have webbed feet, they would have difficulty fishing for food. Instead, they scavenge food on land.


The Snowy Sheathbill is a scavenger that will eat any kind of droppings and steals and chicks and also will take seaweed and carrion as well as young seals.

A Snowy Sheathbill has been seen eating a tapeworm that had been living in a Chinstrap Penguin‘s intestine.


  1. BirdLife International (2004). Chionis alba. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 03 July 2007. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
  2. The Encyclopedia of World Wildlife. Parragon Publishing. ISBN 1-40543-679-4.Lynch, Wayne (September 26, 2001). The Scoop on Poop. Fifth House Books. ISBN 1-894004-59-0.

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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