Skip to main content
Geosciences LibreTexts

16.5: Seabirds

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)


    There are many varieties of seabird (too many to discuss here!). Here are characteristics of seabirds:
    • Seabirds are found on all continents and islands around the world.
    • Seabirds can be highly pelagic, coastal, or partly terrestrial.
    • Most species nest in colonies (dozens to millions of birds)
    • Seabirds live longer, breed later, and have fewer young.
    • Many species undertaking long annual migrations, crossing the equator or even circumnavigating the Earth.
    • Seabirds feed both at the ocean's surface,below it, and even on each other.
    • All seabirds share feed in saltwater (some may feed in both sea and terrestrial sources).
    • Wing morphology and body shape depends the niche a species or family has evolved.
    -- Longer wings and low wing loading are typical of more pelagic species,
    -- Diving species have shorter wings.
    -- Seabirds like albatross and pelicans use dynamic soaring to take advantage of wind deflected by waves to provides lift.
    • Seabirds also almost always have webbed feet.
    • Salt glands in their nasal cavities are used to excrete the salt they ingest by drinking and feeding.
    • Birds appear in the Mesozoic Era, but modern seabirds proliferated in the Paleogene (after the K/T extinction).
    Seagull Arctic tern Pelican Penguins
    Figure 16.32. Seagull Figure 16.33. Arctic tern Figure 16.34. Pelican Figure 16.35. Penguins

    This page titled 16.5: Seabirds is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Miracosta Oceanography 101 (Miracosta)) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

    • Was this article helpful?