Birds of the Falklands

Visit the birds of the Falklands photo gallery here

Download checklist of Falkland Island birds here

The current checklist of birds of the Falkland Islands includes 205 species for which there is good evidence that they have occurred in the Falkland Islands (this is now 206 as Franklin Gull has been confirmed in 2019). This can be further categorised as follows:

  • 55 resident breeders
  • 6 breeding summer residents
  • 9 possible breeders
  • 7 former breeders
  • 11 non-breeding visitors
  • 12 transients
  • 105 recorded only as vagrants

As of May 2018, 11 of the species that are recorded as resident or transient in the Falkland Islands have been classified by the IUCN as endangered, vulnerable or near-threatened. No formal assessment of threat status exists for the birds of the Falklands alone.

Birds of the Falklands – Endemic Species

  • Falklands Steamer Duck – Flightless bird, widespread
  • Cobbs Wren – Limited to Islands free of rodents and cats.
  • Blackish Cincloides (Tussacbird) – Limited to Islands free of rodents and cats.

Birds of the Falklands – Endemic Sub-species

  • White tufted Grebe
  • Upland Goose –
  • Black crowned night heron
  • Kelp Goose
  • Ground tyrant
  • Short-eared owl
  • Black-throated finch
  • Long-tailed Meadowlark
  • Grass wren
  • Falklands pipit
  • Falklands thrush

Penguins – 5 Breeding species found in the Falklands

Gentoo Penguin
Can be seen all year around in the Falkland Islands, up to 50% are estimated to remain over the winter. Breeding starts in late September with egg laying in mid October. Incubation is around 33/34 days with chicks born in early December. The chicks start to creche early in January. Some chicks may fledge late February, the rest in early March. Adults begin their annual moult in late March.

Rockhopper Penguin  
Males return to the South East of the Falkland Islands late Sep/ early Oct. Females return 7-10 days after the males. Egg laying begins late Oct/early Nov with Chicks mid Nov/early Dec. Parents ‘broodguard’ for approximately 25 days. In January the chicks begin to creche. The chicks fledge late Feb/early Mar. Adults moult Mar/Apr. After moulting the penguins disperse northwards foraging along the Patagonian Shelf.

Magellanic Penguin
Return to the Falklands late Aug/early Sep. Laying their eggs in October. Incubation is around 38-41 days with chicks hatching in December. Fledglings leave burrows in Jan/Feb and fledge in March. Adults leave area after moulting end of March beginning of April, dispersing along the South American coast.

King Penguin  King Penguins have an 18 month breeding cycle. In October their are large and small chicks present in the colony at the same time. the 1st peak adult moult occurs in November. The majority of the previous years chicks depart during Nov/Dec. 2nd peak adult moult occurs in December. Eggs are laid mid Nov to mid Mar. Incubation of Eggs is 50 days. In May to Aug chicks may only be fed 3 times and can lose up to 50% of their bodyweight. King penguins inhabit the island all year round.

Macaroni Penguin  Occasionally found amongst Rockhopper Penguin colonies. There are a few breeding pairs in the Islands.

Other Birds of the Falklands

Black-browed Albatross  Males return in late September, females in early October. Egg laying starts in mid October. One egg is laid with an incubation of approximately 70 days. Eggs hatch in late Dec and the chick is ‘broodguarded’ for 25 days. Both adults feed the chick during Feb and Mar. Chicks fledge mid to late April at 122 days old. Juveniles disperse north to forage and then return to the colony to breed at approximately 7 years of age.

Striated Caracara  Egg laying occurs in the third week of October. Incubation takes approximately 35 days with the young fledging in 5 weeks.

Adult Striated Caracara

King Cormorant  
Courtship occurs around mid October with egg laying being in the third week of November. Incubation of the eggs is 30 days and the chicks fledge in February after 45-50 days.

Adult King/Imperial Cormorant

Many of the Falklands birds lay their eggs in October/November and have young in December.