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16.5: Seabirds

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    • Contributed by Miracosta Oceanography 101
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    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
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