les oiseaux

Seabirds: Discovering their Diversity and Adaptations

This article was written by EB React on 03/05/2023

What are Marine birs and Why are They Important?

Marine birds are a diverse group of birds that have adapted to life in the ocean. They spend the majority of their lives at sea, coming to land only to breed and raise their young. There are over 360 species of birds, including albatrosses, petrels, gulls, terns, and puffins. They are found in every ocean and play a vital role in marine ecosystems. 

Marine birds are important for several reasons. First, they are top predators in the marine food chain, feeding on a variety of fish, squid, and crustaceans. By doing so, they help to maintain the balance of the ecosystem and prevent overpopulation of certain species. In addition, seabird are indicators of the health of the ocean. Changes in their population or behavior can signal environmental changes that may impact other species.

Types of ocean birds: From Albatrosses to Pelican

Here are 7 of the most popular seabird species

A close-up photo of a black-head gull standing on a wooden pier with the ocean in the background.
Black-headed gull

Black-headed gull are birds belonging to the Larinae subfamily. Coastal bird, the seagull is one of the most common species of our coasts. There are more than 8 different varieties of gulls such as the laughing gull, swallow-tailed, white, pink, sabine, obscure, three-toed, scopulina. This bird has become famous in particular thanks to its cry, the famous cry of the so distinctive seagulls.
Read more»

An American white pelican in flight, with its wings fully extended and its distinctive orange bill visible. The pelican is soaring over a calm body of water, with a background of blue sky and distant trees.

The unique representative pelican of the family Pelecanidae. Unsightly bird that can weigh several kilograms. Indeed, pelicans have a very particular morphology, in particular the expandable pocket located under their enormous beak. A large bird reaching nearly 3 meters in wingspan, pelicans mainly frequent open water bodies, they are found on the coasts and inland. Living mainly in tropical regions to temperate zones. Read more »

Close-up photo of an albatross, with its wings outstretched against a blue sky. The bird has a white body, with dark feathers on its wings and tail, and a yellow beak. Albatrosses are known for their impressive wingspan and their ability to fly long distances over the ocean.

The albatross belongs to the order Procellariiformes. These birds hold the record, the largest wingspans of all current bird species with nearly 3.4 meters. Certain advantage of having such large wings, an extraordinary ability to glide, the possibility of traveling over great distances, however this exceptional wingspan does not only have advantages, indeed, albatrosses find it very difficult to take flight.

A black cormorant perched on a rock with its wings spread wide, drying its feathers in the sun.

Cormorants belong to the Phalacrocoracidae family, it is made up of 3 genera and includes 36 species. The cormorant ranks among medium-sized waterfowl, reaching up to 100 cm in wingspan. It has a thin and elongated body, its hooked beak is particularly powerful. Weighing nearly 3.5 kilograms for an adult male. An excellent swimmer, it can dive in apnea up to forty meters deep, which allows the bird to easily catch its prey.
Read more »
A black and white penguin standing on a rocky shore, looking out to sea.

The Penguin belongs to the Sphenisciformes family, particularity of this family, their members are unable to fly. Living mainly in the northern hemisphere. These birds are on the other hand excellent swimmers thanks in particular to the presence of a dense layer of short and stiff feathers on their wings. These animals are so comfortable in their aquatic environments that they have the ability to dive up to 500 m deep, an unequaled performance in the world of birds.

A close-up photo of a seagull with white and gray feathers, standing on a rocky beach and looking out at the ocean.

A seabird from the laridae family, gulls strangely resemble a seagull, it often happens to confuse the two species. The gull is essentially found close to the shores, indeed this species does not stray far from the coasts. Concerning the diet of the gull, the bird is not difficult, it is generally satisfied with marine animals and sometimes in case lean cow, carrion. There are currently about thirty different varieties.

An adult great penguin stands on a rocky outcrop, its black and white feathers shining in the sunlight. The penguin's wings are held slightly away from its body, and its head is tilted to one side as it looks out to sea. The penguin's orange beak stands out against its black head, while its white belly fades into the snowy landscape behind it. This majestic bird is a symbol of the wild and remote places of the Southern Hemisphere.
Great Penguin

The great penguin is part of the Alcidae family, penguins are birds living mainly in colonies of several thousand or even hundreds of thousands of individuals. Feeding mainly on fish and small crustaceans, putting the penguin into the water is always a challenge, indeed the animal does not hesitate to jump from the top of the cliffs to be able to catch its prey. The penguin is one of the rare species to lay only one egg, and that, once a year. The penguin population is currently estimated at 700,000 pairs.

Life at Sea: Unique Adaptations

Marine birds are a diverse group of birds that have adapted to life at sea in remarkable ways. From their waterproof feathers to their specialized beaks and wings, these birds have evolved a range of adaptations that allow them to thrive in marine environments. Here are some of the unique adaptations of seabird that make them so well-suited to life at sea. 

Waterproof feathers

One of the most important adaptations of ocean birds is their waterproof feathers. Unlike land birds, ocean bird feathers are coated with a special oil that makes them water-resistant. This adaptation helps to keep the birds warm and dry while they're swimming and diving for food. 

Salt glands

Birds also have salt glands located above their eyes, which allow them to drink saltwater without becoming dehydrated. These glands filter out excess salt from the birds' blood, which is then excreted through the nostrils or beak. 

Specialized beaks

Many ocean birds have specialized beaks that are adapted to their particular feeding habits. For example, pelicans have long, hooked beaks that they use to scoop up fish from the water's surface, while gulls have sharp, pointed beaks that they use to grab and tear apart their prey. 

Wings for gliding

Marine birds have long, narrow wings that are designed for gliding over the water. This adaptation allows them to cover long distances without using much energy. Some seabird, such as albatrosses, can stay aloft for weeks at a time without landing. 

Webbed feet

Many costal birds have webbed feet, which help them swim through the water. These feet are also used for steering and braking while flying. Penguins, which are technically not considered seabird but are adapted to life in the ocean, have webbed feet that allow them to swim and dive with incredible agility.

Threats to birds: Climate Change, Overfishing, and More

Marine birds are an important part of marine ecosystems, playing a critical role in the food chain and serving as indicators of environmental health. However, they face a variety of threats that are putting their populations at risk. Some of the most significant threats to seabird include climate change, overfishing, pollution, and habitat destruction.
Climate change is one of the biggest threats to birds. Rising temperatures and changing weather patterns are altering the distribution and abundance of prey species, which can have serious consequences for birds that rely on them for food. For example, warmer waters can cause plankton blooms to occur earlier in the year, which can lead to mismatches between the timing of food availability and the breeding season of seabirds. This can result in lower reproductive success and population declines.

Overfishing is another major threat to seabirds. Many species of birds feed on fish and other marine animals that are also targeted by commercial fisheries. When these fisheries are poorly managed or operate in areas where seabirds congregate, they can inadvertently capture  marine birds in their nets or on their fishing lines. This can result in injury or death for the birds, and can also impact their ability to feed themselves and their chicks. 

Pollution is another threat to birds, particularly in coastal areas where runoff from urban areas or agricultural activities can introduce contaminants into the marine environment. These contaminants can accumulate in the food chain, ultimately reaching ocean birds and causing a range of health problems. Plastic pollution is also a major issue for seabirds, as they can ingest or become entangled in plastic debris, which can lead to injury or death.

Conservation Efforts: How You Can Help Protect Marine birds

Marine are among the most fascinating and important creatures on our planet. From the majestic albatross to the comical puffin, these birds play a crucial role in marine ecosystems around the world. Unfortunately, however, they are facing a growing number of threats that put their survival at risk. In this article, we will explore some of the biggest threats to seabirds and the conservation efforts underway to protect them. We will also discuss some simple ways you can help protect these amazing birds. 

One of the biggest threats to birds
is commercial fishing. Many species of ocean birds rely on fish as their primary source of food, and overfishing can deplete fish populations and leave seabirds struggling to find enough to eat. Another major threat is plastic pollution, which can entangle and suffocate seabirds, or be mistaken for food and ingested, leading to starvation or other health problems. Climate change is also having a profound impact on seabirds, altering the ocean currents and temperatures that determine their habitat and food sources.
, many conservation efforts are underway to protect seabirds from these and other threats. For example, some organizations are working to establish protected areas in the ocean where fishing is restricted, giving birds a safe place to feed and nest. Other groups are developing innovative new fishing techniques that minimize the impact on seabirds, such as using weighted lines that sink quickly and keep baited hooks out of reach. Efforts are also being made to reduce plastic pollution, through education campaigns and policies that restrict single-use plastics. 

, what can you do to help protect marine birds?

There are many simple actions you can take, starting with reducing your own plastic consumption. Use reusable bags, water bottles, and containers, and recycle whenever possible. You can also support conservation organizations that work to protect seabirds, either through donations or volunteering. Educate yourself and others about the importance of these amazing birds and the threats they face, and encourage others to take action as well.


EB React / Editor

google map »

©2020-2024 - les-oiseaux.com /