Seabirds, otherwise known as marine birds, are birds which derive the vast majority of their food items from the oceans. While albatrosses and petrels (the famed tubenoses) dominate the pelagic (open ocean) realms of the globe, seabirds are a very taxonomically diverse group that exhibits striking evolutionary adaptations.
SEE Seabirds on these Adventure Tours:
- Alaska By Sail
- Haida Gwai (Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia)
- Sail the Gulf Islands, BC
- South African Penguins
- All seabirds have pronounced salt glands near the base of their bills which are much more efficient at pumping salt concentrations out of the bloodstream than the kidneys.
- Most marine birds raise only one or two chicks per year.
- Seabirds grow more slowly than land birds. This allows the parents to complete their long forays for food (e.g. some albatrosses return to feed the single chick only once per week)
- The tubenoses (albatrosses, petrels) are able to better locate food with enhanced olfactory capabilities, something very uncommon in most other bird groups.
- Albatrosses can easily circumnavigate the Southern Oceans in near-constant gale force winds.
- Short-tailed Shearwaters and Arctic Terns annually make trans-equatorial migrations involving tens of thousands of kilometers.
- Penguins and auks have adapted almost scale-like feathers and flipper-like wings sacrificing sustainable, efficient flight in order to pursue the abundant prey items occurring at depths.
Seabirds are widely distributed around the globe from pole to pole. Some are pelagic (open ocean) only coming to land to breed and nest, while others occupy coastlines and nearshore habitats year round.
Species that are critically or highly endangered are the Short-tailed, Tristan’s, Chatham Island, and Amsterdam Island Albatrosses which teeter on the brink along with the Magenta, Bermuda, and Zino Petrels.
What Is SEEtheWILD?
We're a non-profit wildlife conservation travel organization that supports local efforts to protect endangered animals. We work with quality tour operators who have passed our criteria to ensure low environmental impact. We're part of The Ocean Foundation.