Ocean Birds

Ocean birds are types of birds that lives mostly in the sea. They are also called seabirds or marine birds. These birds live by feeding themselves sea creatures that they hunt at the surface of the open sea. Some of the seabirds even go diving to the ocean to gather their food.

Not all of the seabirds live in the marine environment all year long. Some of ocean birds are known to migrate very far. They even fly almost to the other side of the Earth. Thus, they are known to be able to endure great flight.

Living in Colonies

These birds are known to form great colonial living among the same species. They live in flocks and build their nests in flocks as well. The colony of seabirds can have up to one million birds in it. The nesting period is also done in colonies.

Nesting in colonies is mostly done in an island where it is far from outside disruption. However, in the events where there are threat against their nests, the colonies will be quick to defend them.  As a result, nesting season is more likely to be successful. These are advantage of living in bird colonies.

Types of Ocean Birds

There are many types and species of ocean birds. In fact, one ocean bird can be extremely different from another. One may think seabird as single bird flying across the ocean when the fact is that most of them live in colonies. It is important to understand each type to be able to identify them.

Albatross

ocean-birds

Albatross belongs to the family Diomedeidae. It is also known with its latin name Diomedea exulans. Albatross is very large and it is one of the biggest birds in the world. Its wings can spread up to almost 4 meters in size. They are also able to fly a great distance up to thousands of kilometers in one year.

Albatross usually hunt their food at night. They consume sea creatures that are appearing at the surface of the ocean such as squid, octopus, small fishes, and crustaceans. They hunt their food by flying near the surface of water and swimming to get their food.

This type of ocean birds can usually be found in the Southern part of the world such as Antarctica, Australia, South Africa, and South America. During mating and nesting season, Albatross prefer a remote island away from human disruptions such as in New Zealand.

Frigatebird

ocean birds

Frigatebird is a unique type of ocean birds. They have black colored feathers and for the male birds, there are bright red pouch underneath their beaks. Frigate bird belongs to genus Fregata and family Fregatidae. They are closely related to family Suloidea. Frigatebird only mate and breed once every two year.

This bird species is medium in size. However, their wings are very long for they span up to 2.5 meters. They prey mostly sea creatures such as small fishes and squid. They are also known to steal foods from other species and take baby birds from others’ nests.

Fulmar

ocean birds

Fulmar belongs to genus Fulmarus and family Procellariidae. This species of ocean birds can be found in regions near North Pacific and North Atlantic. They live for very long time compared to other bird species. Fulmars live up to 40 years of age.

Fulmars have monotone colored feathers. The feathers are colored white with grayish streaks on its wings. They have a small and thick bills. The colors of their beaks are yellow. Physically, fulmars have many similarities with gulls. They both have small features and similar in appearance.

Fulmars’ diet consist of sea animals as most of seabirds also does. They usually eat fishes, crabs, jellyfishes, and marine worms. During breeding season, fulmars only lay one egg. They usually prefers to nest in colonies and form their nests on cliffs.

Booby

ocean birds

Booby is the type of ocean birds that belongs to genus Sula and family Sulidae. It has six species which are red-footed booby, brown booby, masked booby, nazca booby, blue-footed booby, and Peruvian booby. This bird species can be found in tropical and subtropical region.

Booby is medium sized birds. They have a specific trait that is unique and no other species possess them. Booby has bright blue colors in their feet. The rest of their feathers are white colored with brownish colors in their wings. Their beaks are slim and straight with a splash of blue colors.

Booby lives in colonies. They usually hunt their prey together with other members of their colonies. However it is also not a rare sight that they hunt their food alone. Booby usually eat fishes that they gather by diving to the waters.

Auk

ocean birds

Auk belongs to family Alcidae. Auk has a physical appearance that is tiny and resembling a shorter penguins. They have monotone or black and white feathers. Auks have few distinct species named murre, guillemot, and puffin. All auks are known to be great at diving under water and swimming.

Auks are mostly populated Northern region. Puffin only lives in the Atlantic oceans. Puffin lives in the ocean during autumn to winter seasons. Once the cold winter season is over, they migrate to the coast. They start nesting season in spring season.

Puffin are nesting in colonies, as many species of birds also do during their nesting season. One female only lays one single egg. When it hatches, the baby bird will stay on coast until it is mature. Once they reach maturity, the mature bird then will swim away from the coastal area.

Murre is the larger species of Auk. Like any other species of Auk and ocean birds, Murre lives mostly on the open ocean. Murre only lands on the cliffs for laying one single egg. Murre are great divers and swimmers. They can swim better than flying.

Also Read : Birds of South Carolina

Petrel

ocean birds

Petrel is a small sized ocean birds also known by the name band-rumped storm petrel. It belongs to genus Oceanodroma and family Hydrobaridae. Its species itself is named Oceanodroma castro. Petrel has a small physical features. The feather’s color is brown and black with sometimes streaks of white.

Petrel’s size is small. Its length is only about 20 centimeters and weigh about 50 grams. The wingspan only reach 40 to 46 centimeters. Petrel usually fly low and close to waters. They feed on small sea creatures and carrion from sea. They live in the open ocean and breed on lands.

Petrel’s nesting season is when they move to the hotter region of Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Petrel build their nests and breed at night to avoid the danger of predator’s attack. Female petrels usually lay only one egg. Petrel nests in colonies to protect their eggs from danger.

Penguin

ocean birds

Penguins are some of the most well-known type of seabirds. Penguins belongs to order Sphenisciformes and family Spheniscidae. They are not able to fly and instead of wings, they have flippers. Penguins is mostly white colored with black on their backs, head, and beaks. Penguins live in Southern Hemisphere.

Penguins gather their food in the sea as any other seabirds do. They are great divers and swimmers. Penguins swim underwater and catch fishes and squids for their daily consumption. Although they are great swimmers, penguins do not spend all their lives in the open ocean. They spend equal parts in land and sea.

Some of the biggest species of penguins is the emperor penguins which weigh up to 35 kilograms and the smallest one is the little blue penguins which only weigh about one kilogram. Penguins usually breed in warmer temperature lands and in colonies.

Penguins lay one to two eggs for one breeding season. Both male and female usually take turns in incubating the eggs. The eggs themselves is not quite large in size compared other species’ eggs. When the baby penguin is born the parents will care for it by feeding them food.

Also Read : Scarlet Ibis Bird

Gannet

ocean birds

Gannets are beautiful and large ocean birds that belong to the genus Morus and family Sulidae. Gannets are excellent flyers and they live mostly on the Atlantic Ocean. Gannets have all white feathers with sparks of yellow on their heads and black on their wings. Their wings span up to 2 meters.

There are three species of Gannets which are Northern, Cape, and Australasian Gannets. Gannets are also excellent divers. They hunt their feed by diving to the waters at high speed and snatch sea creatures such as fishes and anchovies. Sometimes they fly above fishing nets and steal fishes stuck there as well.

Gannets build their nests in large colonies. They usually breed on cliffs or islands. One female Gannets usually lay one single egg. When it hatches, Gannet’s baby bird is black colored which will change a year later into white colors as it reaches full maturity in about five years.

Tropicbird

ocean birds

Tropicbirds are very unique type of ocean birds. They have a slim physical appearance with a long slim tail that distinguish them from the rest of the seabird species. Tropicbirds belong to the genus Phaeton and family Phaethontidae.

Tropicbirds have an all-white feathers with splash of black around their eyes and a very slim red tail. Their beaks are also red colored. Their size is compact. Tropicbird is about 75 to 100 centimeters in length and their wings can span up to 115 centimeters.

There are three species of Tropicbird which are Red-billed Tropicbird, Red-tailed Tropicbird, and White-tailed Tropicbird. This species of bird is vocal as they can produce a distinct and loud noises. Tropicbirds are excellent divers as they hunt their food by diving into the surface waters.

Unlike any other ocean birds, Tropicbird usually do not nest in colonies. A group of males will fly around females and the females will choose the males to be mated with. Then the females will lay one single egg and both parents will take turn in incubating the eggs.

The incubation period for Tropicbird eggs is about five to six weeks. Once the egg hatches, the baby bird will remain in the nests while the parents feed them with the food they gather. The baby birds will learn to fly about 12 to 13 weeks after they are born.

Shearwater

ocean birds

Shearwater or also known as Cory’s Shearwater belongs to genus Calonetris and family Procellariidae. Its species name is Calonectris borealis. They are medium sized species of seabirds with 45 to 56 centimeters and the wingspan that reach about 125 centimeters.

Shearwater has deep brown feathers, yellow beaks, and black short tail. Shearwaters hunt their food which consist of sea creatures by diving deeply into the oceans. This species of bird can dive up to 15 meters into the ocean for the search of food.

Threat and Conservations

Ocean birds have benefited fishermen as the existence of seabirds show potential fishing site. The birds also benefited from the leftover fishes and other sea creatures that were thrown away by fishermen so they can be consumed by the marine birds.

However, there are also negative impacts to the birds as the existence of fishermen can harm their nests. Humans hunt seabirds and their eggs for exploitation and that is a threat to the existence of sea birds themselves.

Other threat also come from the highly pollute oceans. Dangerous pollutant are result of human irresponsibility such as the leak of oil to the oceans. These dangerous chemical not only damage sea creatures, but also sea birds that lives and feed on the open ocean.

Nowadays, there governmental and non-governmental institutions that are campaigning for the conservation of ocean birds. From projects in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, to the United States, there are campaign on increasing seabirds’ morality by using the proper fisheries technique.

Marine birds are a beautiful species of birds that are important for the ecosystem of the marine environment. The species of birds can be conserved by using proper fishing technique and stopping the illegal exploitations of ocean birds and their eggs.

Also Read : Types of Swans

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