Chionis – Sheathbills

The only birds family that reside in Antarctica without webbed feet

A pigeon-like family of white birds with short, strong legs and unwebbed feet. The sturdy bill is covered by a horny sheath and is black or yellow and black. The cheeks of Chionidids are naked and wattled. Sharp carpal spikes protrude from their wings. They are gregarious, primarily terrestrial, omnivorous, and burrow into cracks and burrows. There are two kinds, which may be found on islands in the sub-Antarctic Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

These white shorebirds breed on subantarctic islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. In the southern winter, it migrates to the Falkland Islands and coastal southern South America; they are the only bird family indigenous to the Antarctic area as breeders. They are also the only birds in Antarctica that do not have webbed feet.