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Sheathbills: Chionidae

Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, Black-faced Sheathbill (chionis Minor): Species AccountGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, SHEATHBILLS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS

BLACK-FACED SHEATHBILL (Chionis minor): SPECIES ACCOUNT

Sheathbills are found along the Antarctic Peninsula, on islands of the subantarctic, and in the southern parts of South America.


Sheathbills are found primarily on coastal plains and in coastal wetlands. They are generally found in the vicinity of large seabird colonies. During the nonbreeding season, sheathbills may be found in meadows, bogs, and ice floes, sometimes as far as 0.6 miles (1 kilometer) inland.

Because of their range, sheathbills have little contact with people. However, near Antarctic research stations, they have been known to eat food scraps and human excrement. They sometimes also nest in abandoned stations.


Neither of the two species of sheathbills is currently considered threatened. However, some predators brought by humans, including cats and mice, sometimes eat sheathbill chicks or eggs.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirds