2Marine Bird Characteristics What makes a seabird different from a terrestrial bird?Seabirds are those birds which spend a significant part of their lives at seaDiffer widely in flying skills and feeding mechanismsMost are predators that feed at seaNest on land
3Marine Bird Characteristics Marine birds have many advantages that allow them to live in a wide variety of environmentsEndotherms with a four-chambered heartInternal fertilization and an amniotic egg that is more resistant to water lossWaterproof feathers and wingsHollow bones which aid in flightA. Characteristics of BirdsWhat characteristics are shared by organisms in class Aves?1. Birds and the ocean go hand-in-hand. Every coastal marine environment has bird species that have found a niche there.2. Many scientists consider birds indicators of a marine ecosystem’s richness and health.a. The more types and quantities of birds, the greater the richness and health.3. Birds are vertebrates in class Aves, a huge group consisting of about 10,000 species.4. Members of this class share several characteristics, including feathers, which are unique to this class.5. Birds are also classified based on having forelimbs that are wings, a fourchambered heart, and laying internally fertilized eggs.
4Marine Bird Characteristics Endotherms with a 4-chambered heartWarm-bloodedThis allows them to live in a wide variety of environmentsHigher metabolism supplies the large amounts of energy needed for active flightAlbatrossBlue-footed Booby
5Marine Bird Characteristics Waterproof feathersNo other organism has feathersFeathers are lightweight and help insulate the animal’s body, allowing it to maintain a higher temperature than its surroundingsWaterproofing is provided by oil from a gland above the base of the tailThe birds rub the oil into their feathers with their beaks, known as preening
6Marine Bird Characteristics Wings with hollow bonesBird’s forelimbs have adapted into wings for flightHollow bones allow birds to fly more easily
7Marine Bird Characteristics Marine birds have internal fertilizationThey lay amniotic eggs that are more resistant to water loss than their ancestors, the reptilesEvery species of bird has a different mating and breeding ritual, but all birds nest on landThe parent provides extensive care until the young is grownGreat Egret
8Special AdaptationsCan you think of any adaptations that seabirds may have that aid them in the water?Salt glands to rid extra salt from the bodyNear their nose and can ‘sneeze’ the salt outWebbed feet for swimming and floating on the surface.Specialized beaks with no teeth to hunt for preyWhat adaptations to the marine environments do the various bird species exhibit?9. Because of their role in the marine and other aquatic environments, many species of birds exhibit related adaptations.10. Seabirds have webbed feet for swimming efficiently while floating on the surface.11. Most species have bill adaptations suited to their marine prey.a. For instance, the pelican is well known for its pouched lower jaw that aids it in capturing fish.12. The cormorant not only flies over the water, but in it, descending several meters in pursuit of its prey.13. Some birds, like the albatross, have wings and flight characteristics adapted to long-duration flying over wide expanses of water.
9Salt Glands Osmoregulation - “salt glands” Located above their eyes that process excess saltThe glands produce a salty solution that is excreted through the birds’ nostrils and down grooves of their beaks, where it drips off.
10Feet AdaptationsThere are several lengths of legs and types of feet found on sea birdsBirds that spend most of their time at sea have short, stocky legs and partially webbed feetShort legs work as oars and the webbed feet work as a paddleBirds that spend most of their time at the intertidal zone have long, thin legs and webbed feet for swimming
11Beak Adaptations What do you think marine birds eat? How do you think they obtain their food?Shape of the beak gives clues to the kind of food the bird eatsCurved projections at the tips help predatory birdsDifferent lengths and curvatures of bills determines which prey can be reached by probing in the sand.Pelicans, cormorants and frigate birds have a distensible pouch to capture fish
12Beak Adaptations Pelicans dive and scoop fish up in their pouched bills and drain the water before swallowing their catchCormorantspursue fish under water, seizing their prey with their hooked beaksFlamingosfilter small organisms out of the waterLong billed, long legged birdswade in shallow water using their bills to probe in the mud or sand to pluck prey outPenguinsdive to great depths get their mealsTerns and gullssoar over the water and catch fishat the surface
14Beak Description Activity Shorebirds1. This beak is extra long allowing the bird to probe for deep lying preyGodwits
15Beak Description Activity Shorebirds2. This relatively short and stalky beak allows the bird to probe for shallow lying preyTerns
16Beak Description Activity Shorebirds3. This beak is medium in length, allowing the bird to probe for medium depth prey4. This beak has lamellae, which filters the water for small particles like bacteria and planktonSandpiperFlamingo
17Beak Description Activity MurreOpen Water Feeders5. This straight, narrow beak is used for capturing prey that is swallowed whole.Cormorant
18Beak Description Activity Open Water Feeders6. This short, heavy hooked beak is ideal for holding and tearing prey too large to be swallowed whole. This beak is best for shallow feeding because its shape and size interfere with fast underwater pursuit.Gull
19Beak Description Activity Open Water Feeders7. This beak is heavy and streamlined, which makes it good for deep diving. The heavy structure allows the bird to feed on tougher, crunchier prey.Puffin
20Beak Description Activity Open Water Feeders8. This beak has a longer lower mandible, which allows the bird to feed while flying. The beak ‘skims’ the surface of the water for prey.SkimmersPelican
21Importance to Marine Ecosystem Can you explain the importance of seabirds?Many scientists consider birds indicators of a marine ecosystem’s richness and health.The more types and quantities of birds, the greater the richness and health.They are predators that consume fish, crustaceans, and mollusks.In turn they are prey to marine mammals and sharks.They supply guano – a significant source of nutrients, specially organic nitrogen important to sea life.What roles do birds play in marine ecosystems?6. Birds play myriad roles in marine ecosystems.7. They’re predators that consume fish, crustaceans, and mollusks.a. At times, they’re also prey to marine mammals and even sharks.8. Seabirds supply guano (droppings), which is a significant source of nutrients to the marine ecosystem.a. This is especially true of organic nitrogen, which scientists think is produced primarily on land.b. Thus, birds that drop guano near the ocean help provide the marine ecosystem with organic nitrogen compounds.
22Importance to the Ecosystem They’re predators that consume fish, crustaceans, and mollusksThey are prey to marine mammals and sharksSeabirds supply guano (droppings)– a significant source of nutrients, especially organic NitrogenWhat roles do birds play in marine ecosystems?6. Birds play myriad roles in marine ecosystems.7. They’re predators that consume fish, crustaceans, and mollusks.a. At times, they’re also prey to marine mammals and even sharks.8. Seabirds supply guano (droppings), which is a significant source of nutrients to the marine ecosystem.
23Diversity of Marine Birds What kind of marine birds do you know?List as many seabirds and their adaptations that you can think of on your paperWood Stork
24Shorebirds or WadersHave long, legs and thin, sharp bills that they use to feed in the intertidal zoneOystercatchers – long, blunt orange bills that are vertically flattened. They feed on partially opened clams, mussels and oysters as wells as other organisms in the sandSandpipers – scurry across the sand as the surf and tide retreats feeding on small crustaceans and mollusks. Some make annual migrations close to 6000 miles.Herons – most widespread family of wading birds. Their skinny legs and long necks aid in hunting. They hunt small fish and crustaceans in shallow water by standing still and waiting for their prey to come into range.
25GullsGulls are noisy, aggressive birds that are efficient predators and scavengers.They eat the eggs and young of other birds, steal prey from other birds and occasionally eat the young of other gulls.They are not picky eatersThey have a worldwide distribution and are found everywhere the land and ocean meetHave webbed feet but do not usually stray far from landUsually travel in large groups and can be seen following fishing boatsBlack-backed gullLaughing Gull
26Skimmers or Scissorbills They fish along the coast by flying along with their lower bill just beneath the surfaceThey have two unusual featuresPupils that are vertical slitsLower jaw that is flexible and protrudes much farther than the upper billBlack Skimmer
27Auks, Puffins and Murres These birds are awkward on landIn the water, they are remarkably agile, using their swimming wings to fly through the waterThey prey on fish, squid and shrimpThe Great Auk is extinctThey spend their winters in offshore waters and then gather in dense, noisy colonies in the cliffs along the Northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans in early spring.Thick-billed Murre
28Pelicans Most are found in coastal areas Pelicans feed just under the surface of the water, using their large gular pouches as nets.They usually patrol about 30 feet above the water and when they see a school of fish, it folds its wings back and then crashes into the water scooping up large numbers of fishIt must then let the water drain from its pouch before it can become airborne again.Have webs between all four toes
31Cormorants Some of the most adept avian fishers Lack oil glands to waterproof their feathers, so they must dry their wings on landSwimming along the surface, they scan the water for fish and then plunge to spectacular depths in pursuit of their preyThey are very strong swimmers, using their webbed feet for propulsion and keeping their wings folded close to its sides to be more streamlined
33Tubenoses Petrels, albatrosses and shearwaters Have a distinctive nose that may function in detecting odors and eliminating excess saltsAlbatrossesSuburb gliders with wings nearly 11 feet long, the largest of any birdCapable of cruising the currents of turbulent ocean air for hours at a time with barely the flick of a wingCome to land only to breed and can spend up to two years at sea before returning to breedGreater ShearwaterAlbatross
34Penguins Most highly adapted birds to life in the sea They are flightlessTheir bones are heavier than those of other birds to reduce buoyancy.On land, penguins are somewhat awkward.They move by hopping, waddling, or tobogganing on their bellies with their flipper-like wingsChinstrap Penguin
35Penguins Order Sphenisciformes Only found in southern hemisphere Cannot flySpend as much as 75% of their time under water
36Penguins In the sea, they are as swift and agile They can swim at speeds of 15 miles per hour for long distances and speeds twice that if pursuing preyTheir torpedo-shaped bodies are streamlined to offer less resistance in the waterTheir flat, webbed feet are used for steeringThey feed on fish, squid, and krill that are under the waterThey are preyed upon by leopard seals and killer whalesAdelie PenguinsKing Penguins
37PenguinsAll but one of the species live in Antarctica and other cold regions of the southern hemisphereThe exception is the Galapagos penguin, which lives on the equatorIt can survive this region because of the cold, food-rich watersProtection against low temperatures is provided by a layer of fat under the skin and cold air is trapped by the dense, waterproof feathers – acting like a down coat.Macroni PenguinGalapagos PenguinJackass Penguins
38Penguins Breeding rituals vary from species to species Emperor penguins form life-long pairsThe male incubates a single large egg during Antarctic winterThe female leaves to feed as soon as she lays the egg.The male must keep the egg warm by holding it between his feet and against his body for 64 days of dreadful winter cold.Adelie PenguinsEmperor Penguins
39PenguinsReproduction is timed so that the egg hatches during the productive Antarctic summer, when food is most plentifulThe parents take turns feeding the chickReturning parents identify their chick among thousands by its voice and appearance.Rockhopper Penguin RookeryEmperor Penguin Chick