open pacific ocean sea birds

The open Pacific Ocean is home to a diverse array of seabird species, many of which have unique adaptations for surviving in this harsh marine environment. Here are some notable seabirds found in the open Pacific: Albatrosses: These large seabirds have the longest wingspan of any bird, allowing them to soar effortlessly over vast ocean expanses. Species like the Laysan Albatross, Black-footed Albatross, and Wandering Albatross breed on remote islands but spend most of their lives at sea, feeding on squid, fish, and other marine life. Shearwaters: These long-winged seabirds are excellent gliders and can travel immense distances over the open ocean. The Sooty Shearwater breeds in places like New Zealand and Chile but migrates annually to the North Pacific to feed. Storm-Petrels: These tiny seabirds, some weighing less than a stick of butter, can weather storms and even sleep on the rolling waves. Species like the Fork-tailed Storm-Petrel are true masters of the open ocean. Fulmars: Birds like the Northern Fulmar breed in the Arctic regions but are commonly seen in the open Pacific Ocean, where they feed on fish, squid, and other marine life. Terns: Several tern species, such as the Sooty Tern and Black-naped Tern, are highly adapted for life on the open ocean, catching fish and squid while hovering or plunging into the water. These seabirds have specialized adaptations like waterproof feathers, salt glands to remove excess salt, sharp beaks for catching slippery prey, and webbed feet for efficient swimming and diving. Their presence and breeding success serve as indicators of the health of the marine ecosystem.
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Medium-sized long-winged seabird in the petrel family
Global marine, most common in temperate and cold waters
Flight Technique
"Shearing" flight, flying close to the water to move across wave fronts with minimal active flight
Shearwaters are medium-sized seabirds belonging to the petrel family Procellariidae. Here are some key points about shearwaters: Description:
  • They have long, narrow wings and use a distinctive shearing flight technique, gliding low over the ocean surface with stiff wings.
  • Smaller species like the Manx shearwater fly in a cruciform pattern with wings outstretched.
  • They are mostly brown or gray in color with white undersides.
  • Many shearwaters are long-distance migrants, with some species like the Sooty Shearwater migrating over 64,000 km annually.
  • They are pelagic, spending most of their time at sea and only coming to coastal areas and islands to breed.
  • Shearwaters are nocturnal at their breeding colonies, nesting in burrows and giving eerie calls at night.
  • They feed by diving and pursuing prey like fish and squid in the ocean, with some species diving over 70m deep.
  • Some follow fishing boats or whales to feed on discarded scraps or fish stirred up.
  • There are around 30 shearwater species across 3 genera - Puffinus (e.g. Manx, Fluttering), Calonectris (e.g. Streaked), and Ardenna (e.g. Sooty).
  • Species like the Fluttering Shearwater are found breeding in New Zealand.
So in summary, shearwaters are distinctive tubenose seabirds well-adapted for an oceanic existence through their migratory behavior, feeding techniques, and breeding in coastal colonies.
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Tubenosed seabirds of the family Procellariidae
Fulmars are tubenosed seabirds that resemble gulls but are distinguished by flight on stiff wings and their tube noses.
The family includes two extant species and two extinct fossil species from the Miocene.
They breed on cliffs, laying one or rarely two eggs on a ledge of bare rock or a grassy cliff.
The fulmar is a tubenosed seabird belonging to the family Procellariidae. Here are the key points about fulmars: Description:
  • Medium-sized seabird superficially resembling gulls, but with stiffer wings and a thick neck.
  • Two extant species: the Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) found in the North Atlantic and North Pacific, and the Southern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialoides) found in the Southern Ocean.
  • Northern Fulmar is gray and white with a yellow bill, 43-52 cm long with a 102-112 cm wingspan. Southern Fulmar is paler with dark wing tips, 45-50 cm long with a 115-120 cm wingspan.
  • Pelagic, spending most of their time at sea and only coming to coastal areas and islands to breed on cliffs.
  • Long-lived, with a lifespan up to 40 years.
  • Make grunting and chuckling sounds while feeding and guttural calls during breeding season.
  • Lay one egg on a cliff ledge or grassy slope. Both parents incubate for 50-54 days.
  • Chick is brooded for 2 weeks, fledges after 70-75 days. Parents are nocturnal during this period.
  • Use projectile vomiting of stomach oil as a defense against predators.
  • Northern Fulmar population has increased greatly due to availability of fishery discards but may now contract due to climate change.
  • Both species classified as Least Concern by the IUCN.
So in summary, fulmars are distinctive tubenosed seabirds well-adapted for an oceanic existence, breeding on coastal cliffs and exhibiting unique behaviors like projectile vomiting and nocturnal colony attendance.
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