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May 2023

Object Title: South Georgia Pipit
Object Number: 2022.25
Our Object of the Month is the wonderful South Georgia Pipit, Anthus antarcticus. This tiny song bird is endemic to South Georgia and the only passerine in the Antarctic.  The pipit nests within the low-lying tussac grass that lines the shoreline of South Georgia. It feeds on a diet of insect’s and small crustaceans along the water’s edge.

Accidental introduction of rats by whalers and sealers in the 1800s led to their slow decline. The species is currently listed as Near Threatened*. Following the South Georgia Heritage Trust’s successful Habitat Restoration project, the islands of South Georgia were declared rat free in 2018. Since then, there has been a steady increase in their numbers. Once again, the sound of the pipit song can be heard around the abandoned whaling station of Grytviken.

This taxidermy specimen sits in a display case in the museum. It is a reminder to us all to continue to protect and conserve such important habitats for wildlife.

Museum taxidermy specimen of the South Georgia Pipit


*Don’t worry, this specimen died of natural causes and was collected for educational purposes for the museum.

A Pipit resting in the tussac grass