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List of birds of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands

List of birds of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands

This is a list of the bird species recorded of French Southern and Antarctic Lands. The avifauna of French Southern and Antarctic Lands include a total of 130 species.

This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) follow the conventions of The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 2022 edition. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflect this taxonomy, as do the species counts found in each family account. Introduced and accidental species are included in the total counts for French Southern and Antarctic Lands.

The following tag has been used to mark accidental species.

  • (A) Accidental - a species that rarely or accidentally occurs in French Southern and Antarctic Lands.
  • (I) Introduced - a species introduced to French Southern and Antarctic Lands as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions

Ducks, geese, and waterfowl

Order: Anseriformes   Family: Anatidae

Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These birds are adapted to an aquatic existence with webbed feet, flattened bills, and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to an oily coating.

  • Amsterdam duck, Mareca marecula (E) extinct
  • Eaton's pintail, Anas georgica (E)

Pheasants, grouse, and allies

Order: Galliformes   Family: Phasianidae

The Phasianidae are a family of terrestrial birds which consists of quails, partridges, snowcocks, francolins, spurfowls, tragopans, monals, pheasants, peafowls and jungle fowls. In general, they are plump (although they vary in size) and have broad, relatively short wings.

  • Red junglefowl, Gallus gallus (I)


Order: Phoenicopteriformes   Family: Phoenicopteridae

Flamingos are gregarious wading birds, usually 3 to 5 feet (0.9 to 1.5 m) tall, found in both the Western and Eastern Hemispheres. Flamingos filter-feed on shellfish and algae. Their oddly shaped beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they consume and, uniquely, are used upside-down.

  • Greater flamingo, Phoenicopterus roseus

Pigeons and doves

Order: Columbiformes   Family: Columbidae

Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere.

  • Malagasy turtle-dove, Nesoenas picturatus
  • Zebra dove, Geopelia striata (I)


Order: Cuculiformes   Family: Cuculidae

The family Cuculidae includes uckoos, roadrunners, and anis. These birds are of variable size with slender bodies, long tails, and strong legs. The Old World cuckoos are brood parasites.

  • Common cuckoo, Cuculus canorus (A)


Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Chionididae The sheathbills are scavengers of the Antarctic regions. They have white plumage and look plump and dove-like but are believed to be similar to the ancestors of the modern gulls and terns.

  • Black-faced sheathbill, Chionis minor

Plovers and lapwings

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Charadriidae

The family Charadriidae includes the plovers, dotterels, and lapwings. They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short thick necks, and long, usually pointed, wings. They are found in open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water.

  • Black-bellied plover, Pluvialis squatarola
  • Blacksmith lapwing, Vanellus armatus (A)
  • Greater sand-plover, Charadrius leschenaultii
  • Common ringed plover, Charadrius hiaticula

Sandpipers and allies

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Scolopacidae

Scolopacidae is a large diverse family of small to medium-sized shorebirds including the sandpipers, curlews, godwits, shanks, tattlers, woodcocks, snipes, dowitchers and phalaropes. The majority of these species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Variation in length of legs and bills enables multiple species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food.

  • Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus
  • Eurasian curlew, Numenius arquata
  • Bar-tailed godwit, Limosa lapponica
  • Ruddy turnstone, Arenaria interpres
  • Red knot, Calidris canutus
  • Curlew sandpiper, Calidris ferruginea
  • Sanderling, Calidris alba
  • Common sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos
  • Gray-tailed tattler, Tringa brevipes
  • Common greenshank, Tringa nebularia


Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Turnicidae

The buttonquails are small, drab, running birds which resemble the true quails. The female is the brighter of the sexes and initiates courtship. The male incubates the eggs and tends the young.

  • Madagascar buttonquail, Turnix nigricollis

Pratincoles and coursers

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Glareolidae

Glareolidae is a family of wading birds comprising the pratincoles, which have short legs, long pointed wings, and long forked tails, and the coursers, which have long legs, short wings, and long, pointed bills which curve downwards.

  • Black-winged pratincole, Glareola nordmanni (A)

Skuas and jaegers

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Stercorariidae

The family Stercorariidae are, in general, medium to large birds, typically with grey or brown plumage, often with white markings on the wings. They nest on the ground in temperate and arctic regions and are long-distance migrants.

  • Chilean skua, Stercorarius chilensis (A)
  • South polar skua, Stercorarius maccormicki
  • Brown skua, Stercorarius antarctica
  • Long-tailed jaeger, Stercorarius longicaudus (A)

Gulls, terns, and skimmers

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Laridae

Laridae is a family of medium to large seabirds, the gulls, terns, and skimmers. Gulls are typically grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet. Terns are a group of generally medium to large seabirds typically with grey or white plumage, often with black markings on the head. Most terns hunt fish by diving but some pick insects off the surface of fresh water. Terns are generally long-lived birds, with several species known to live in excess of 30 years.

  • Kelp gull, Larus dominicanus
  • Brown noddy, Anous stolidus
  • White tern, Gygis alba
  • Sooty tern, Onychoprion fuscatus
  • Bridled tern, Onychoprion anaethetus
  • Caspian tern, Hydroprogne caspia
  • Arctic tern, Sterna paradisaea
  • Antarctic tern, Sterna vittata
  • Kerguelen tern, Sterna virgata
  • Great crested tern, Thalasseus bergii
  • Lesser crested tern, Thalasseus bengalensis


Order: Phaethontiformes   Family: Phaethontidae

Tropicbirds are slender white birds of tropical oceans, with exceptionally long central tail feathers. Their heads and long wings have black markings.

  • White-tailed tropicbird, Phaethon lepturus
  • Red-billed tropicbird, Phaethon aethereus
  • Red-tailed tropicbird, Phaethon rubricauda


Order: Sphenisciformes   Family: Spheniscidae

The penguins are a group of aquatic, flightless birds living almost exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere. Most penguins feed on krill, fish, squid and other forms of sealife caught while swimming underwater.

  • King penguin, Aptenodytes patagonicus
  • Emperor penguin, Aptenodytes forsteri
  • Adelie penguin, Pygoscelis adeliae
  • Gentoo penguin, Pygoscelis papua
  • Chinstrap penguin, Pygoscelis antarctica
  • Macaroni penguin, Eudyptes chrysolophus
  • Royal penguin, Eudyptes schlegeli (A)
  • Southern rockhopper penguin, Eudyptes chrysocome
  • Moseley's rockhopper penguin, Eudyptes moseleyi


Order: Procellariiformes   Family: Diomedeidae

The albatrosses are among the largest of flying birds, and the great albatrosses from the genus Diomedea have the largest wingspans of any extant birds.

  • Yellow-nosed albatross, Thalassarche chlororhynchos
  • Grey-headed albatross, Thalassarche chrysostoma
  • White-capped albatross, Thalassarche cauta
  • Salvin's albatross, Thalassarche salvini
  • Black-browed albatross, Thalassarche melanophris
  • Sooty albatross, Phoebetria fusca
  • Light-mantled albatross, Phoebetria palpebrata
  • Royal albatross, Diomedea epomophora
  • Wandering albatross, Diomedea exulans

Southern storm-petrels

Order: Procellariiformes   Family: Oceanitidae

The southern storm-petrels are relatives of the petrels and are the smallest seabirds. They feed on planktonic crustaceans and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. The flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like.

  • Wilson's storm-petrel, Oceanites oceanicus
  • Grey-backed storm-petrel, Garrodia nereis
  • White-faced storm-petrel, Pelagodroma marina (Ex)
  • White-bellied storm-petrel, Fregetta grallaria
  • Black-bellied storm-petrel, Fregetta tropica

Shearwaters and petrels

Order: Procellariiformes   Family: Procellariidae

The procellariids are the main group of medium-sized "true petrels", characterised by united nostrils with medium septum and a long outer functional primary.


Order: Ciconiiformes   Family: Ciconiidae

Storks are large, long-legged, long-necked, wading birds with long, stout bills. Storks are mute, but bill-clattering is an important mode of communication at the nest. Their nests can be large and may be reused for many years. Many species are migratory.


Order: Suliformes   Family: Fregatidae

Frigatebirds are large seabirds usually found over tropical oceans. They are large, black-and-white, or completely black, with long wings and deeply forked tails. The males have colored inflatable throat pouches. They do not swim or walk and cannot take off from a flat surface. Having the largest wingspan-to-body-weight ratio of any bird, they are essentially aerial, able to stay aloft for more than a week.

  • Lesser frigatebird, Fregata ariel
  • Great frigatebird, Fregata minor

Boobies and gannets

Order: Suliformes   Family: Sulidae

The sulids comprise the gannets and boobies. Both groups are medium-large coastal seabirds that plunge-dive for fish.

  • Cape gannet, Morus capensis (A)
  • Australasian gannet, Morus serrator
  • Masked booby, Sula dactylatra
  • Red-footed booby, Sula sula
  • Brown booby, Sula leucogaster

Cormorants and shags

Order: Suliformes   Family: Phalacrocoracidae

Phalacrocoracidae is a family of medium to large coastal, fish-eating seabirds that includes cormorants and shags. Plumage colouration varies, with the majority having mainly dark plumage, some species being black-and-white and a few being colourful.

  • Imperial cormorant, Leucocarbo atriceps
  • Crozet shag, Leucocarbo melanogenis
  • Kerguelen shag, Leucocarbo verrucosus (E)

Herons, egrets, and bitterns

Order: Pelecaniformes   Family: Ardeidae

The family Ardeidae contains the bitterns, herons and egrets. Herons and egrets are medium to large wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more wary. Members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted, unlike other long-necked birds such as storks, ibises and spoonbills.

  • Black-crowned night-heron, Nycticorax nycticorax
  • Malagasy pond heron, Ardeola idae
  • Grey heron, Ardea cinerea
  • Western reef heron, Egretta gularis
  • Dimorphic egret, Egretta dimorpha


Order: Strigiformes   Family: Tytonidae

Barn-owls are medium to large owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons.

  • Barn owl, Tyto alba (I)


Order: Coraciiformes   Family: Meropidae

The bee-eaters are a group of near passerine birds in the family Meropidae. Most species are found in Africa but others occur in southern Europe, Madagascar, Australia, and New Guinea. They are characterised by richly colored plumage, slender bodies, and usually elongated central tail feathers. All have long down-turned bills and pointed wings, which give them a swallow-like appearance when seen from afar.

  • Madagascar bee-eater, Merops superciliosus


Order: Coraciiformes   Family: Coraciidae

Rollers resemble crows in size and build, but are more closely related to the kingfishers and bee-eaters. They share the colorful appearance of those groups with blues and browns predominating. The two inner front toes are connected, but the outer toe is not.

  • Broad-billed roller, Eurystomus glaucurus

Falcons and caracaras

Order: Falconiformes   Family: Falconidae

Falconidae is a family of diurnal birds of prey. They differ from hawks, eagles, and kites in that they kill with their beaks instead of their talons.

  • Eleonora's falcon, Falco eleonorae

Crows, jays, and ravens

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Corvidae

The family Corvidae includes crows, ravens, jays, choughs, magpies, treepies, nutcrackers, and ground jays. Corvids are above average in size among the Passeriformes, and some of the larger species show high levels of intelligence.

  • Pied crow, Corvus albus

Cisticolas and allies

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Cisticolidae

The Cisticolidae are warblers found mainly in warmer southern regions of the Old World. They are generally very small birds of drab brown or gray appearance found in open country such as grassland or scrub.

  • Madagascar cisticola, Cisticola cherina


Order: Passeriformes   Family: Hirundinidae

The family Hirundinidae is adapted to aerial feeding. They have a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings, and a short bill with a wide gape. The feet are adapted to perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base.

  • Bank swallow, Riparia riparia
  • Barn swallow, Hirundo rustica


Order: Passeriformes   Family: Pycnonotidae

Bulbuls are medium-sized songbirds. Some are colorful with yellow, red, or orange vents, cheeks, throats, or supercilia, but most are drab, with uniform olive-brown to black plumage. Some species have distinct crests.

  • Malagasy bulbul, Hypsipetes madagascariensis

White-eyes, yuhinas, and allies

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Zosteropidae

The white-eyes are small and mostly undistinguished, their plumage above being generally some dull color like greenish-olive, but some species have a white or bright yellow throat, breast, or lower parts, and several have buff flanks. As their name suggests, many species have a white ring around each eye.

  • Malagasy white-eye, Zosterops maderaspatanus

Sunbirds and spiderhunters

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Nectariniidae

The sunbirds and spiderhunters are very small passerine birds which feed largely on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young. Flight is fast and direct on their short wings. Most species can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perch to feed.

  • Souimanga sunbird, Cinnyris sovimanga
  • Malagasy sunbird, Cinnyris notatus

Weavers and allies

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Ploceidae

The weavers are small passerine birds related to the finches. They are seed-eating birds with rounded conical bills. The males of many species are brightly colored, usually in red or yellow and black, though some species show variation in color only in the breeding season.

  • Red fody, Foudia madagascariensis

Waxbills, munias, and allies

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Estrildidae

The members of this family are small passerine birds native to the Old World tropics. They are gregarious and often colonial seed eaters with short thick but pointed bills. They are all similar in structure and habits, but have wide variation in plumage colors and patterns.

  • Common waxbill, Estrilda astrild (I)

See also

  • List of birds
  • Lists of birds by region


  • Lepage, Denis. "Checklist of Birds of French Southern and Antarctic Lands". Bird Checklists of the World. Avibase. Retrieved 28 April 2022.
  • Clements, James F. (2000). Birds of the World: A Checklist. Cornell University Press. p. 880. ISBN 0-934797-16-1.

Text submitted to CC-BY-SA license. Source: List of birds of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands by Wikipedia (Historical)