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Antarctica Wildlife

Interested in Seeing Antarctica’s Legendary Wildlife?

We offer dozens of cruises each year to see Antarctica’s wildlife—and a whole lot more! Be sure to visit our Antarctica cruises page for detailed information about our trips, or call us at 800-368-0077 M–F, 8AM–5PM Pacific Time and talk with one of our cruise specialists. (Outside the US and Canada call 206-463-5362)


The animals of Antarctica—penguins, seals, whales, albatrosses and others—are typically the main attraction for people who visit the continent. The list below includes many of the Antarctic species you will see when traveling to the Antarctic Peninsula, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands—the destinations that most of our Antarctica cruises visit. Some of the species listed below include a link to a page with detailed descriptions of the species.

Note: Next to each species listed below you will find a letter, or letters, in parentheses. These letters indicate the area(s) where each species is likely to be seen on an Antarctica cruise. The letters represent the following areas:

A = Antarctic Peninsula*
S = South Georgia
F = Falkland Islands
P = Pelagic (open ocean)

* Includes the South Shetland and South Orkney Islands

Marine Mammals of Antarctica

Baleen Whales

Toothed Whales

  • Orca whale (A, S, F)
  • Southern bottlenose whale (A, S, F)
  • Sperm whale (S, F)
  • Peale's dolphin (F)
  • Commerson's dolphin (S, F)
  • Dusky dolphin (F)

Seals & Sea Lions

Birds of Antarctica



  • Royal albatross (P)
  • Wandering albatross (S, P)
  • Black-browed albatross (S, F, P)
  • Gray-headed albatross (S, P)
  • Light-mantled sooty albatross (S, P)


  • Southern giant petrel (A, S, F)
  • Northern giant petrel (P)
  • Prions (as a group) (S, P)
  • Cape (pintado) petrel (A, S, P)
  • Wilson’s petrel (P)
  • White-chinned petrel (P)
  • Shearwaters (as a group) (P)
  • Snow petrel (A, S)
  • Southern fulmar (A, P)
  • Antarctic petrel (A, P)

Gulls & Terns

  • Brown skua group (A, S, F)
  • South polar skua (A)
  • Kelp gull, (aka Southern black-backed gull, Dominican gull) (A, S, F)
  • Antarctic tern (A, S)
  • Arctic tern (A, S)
  • South American tern (F)

Cormorants & Shags

  • Imperial shag (F)
  • South Georgian shag (S)
  • Antarctic shag (A)


  • Upland goose (F)
  • Kelp goose (F)
  • Falkland (flightless) steamer duck (F)
  • Flying steamer duck (F)

Birds of prey

  • Striated caracara (F)
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