Seabirds | Marine Birds

Seabirds | Marine Birds

Description
Description

Seabirds are a species of bird that spends most of its life in marine habitats. Some can be found in freshwater environments as well. Seabirds generally live longer, breed later, and have fewer young than other bird species. Seabirds also tend to nest in colonies and have extraordinarily long migrations, sometimes across the equator or around the world. Seabirds typically roam very far out to sea and can spend years at a time out at sea, returning only to nest or hatch young. Seabirds have different adaptations for life at sea, including their plumage which is drab, and dark colored so that they are camouflaged to be protected from predators above and below.

Anatomy
Anatomy

Seabirds are a diverse group of birds adapted to life mainly at sea. They have streamlined bodies for efficient swimming and diving, with webbed feet for propulsion in water. Their wings are typically long and narrow, suited for gliding over vast ocean distances. Many have specialized salt glands to excrete excess salt from ingesting seawater. Seabirds' keen eyesight is vital for spotting prey from above the water's surface. Vocalizations vary widely, from the haunting calls of albatrosses to the raucous cries of gulls. Their sense of smell is also well-developed, aiding in locating food and navigating the expansive oceans.

Human Interaction
Human Interaction

Humans and seabirds have a complex relationship. Historically, seabirds have been vital for sailors as navigational aids, food sources, and even guano for fertilizer. In pop culture, they symbolize freedom and the vastness of the oceans, often featured in literature and films.

Conservation efforts have become crucial as many seabird species face threats from overfishing, pollution, and habitat destruction. Organizations and governments work to protect nesting grounds and marine environments. Additionally, seabirds play a significant role in indigenous cultures as totems and in folklore, highlighting the deep connection and responsibility humans have towards these guardians of the ocean.

Common Questions
Common Questions
What are the common characteristics of seabirds?

Seabirds are birds adapted to life at sea. They have feathers that are dark on top and lighter underneath. Apart from that, their nostrils are enclosed in tubes, hence can smell food several miles away. However, what makes them easily adapted to sea life is the waterproof feathers, fat layers, and ability to desalinate themselves.

What is the role of seabirds in the ecosystem?

Seabirds shape coastal ecosystems in three distinct ways. They carry marine nutrients from the deep sea to the islands and reefs, drop layers of organic matter at their colonies (fertilizing underdeveloped soil), and disperse seeds. Unfortunately, they are often overlooked and their habitats and food sources are exploited by humans.

Can seabirds swim?

Seabirds are well adapted to life on air, water, and even land. So they can swim, dive, float, and fly. This ability to swim is because they have waterproof feathers, fat layers to keep warm in cold water, and can desalinate themselves. They can also hold their breath underwater for three to ten minutes.

Animals

* Under Development *

13.4”-16.7” | 34-42.5 cm
47.2”-61” | 120-155 cm (Wingspan)
20.9”-26” | 53-66 cm
1.3-3.6 lb | .6-1.65 kg
20-32 years
American Herring Gull
42.500
155.000
66.000
1.650
32.00
190
GUIDE
3D
American Herring Gull
5.1”-6.3” | 13-16 cm
25.6”-30.3” | 65-77 cm (Wingspan)
14.2”-16.9” | 36-43 cm
.2-.3 lb | .08-.13 kg
15-34 years
Arctic Tern
16.000
77.000
43.000
0.130
34.00
35400
GUIDE
3D
Arctic Tern
8.7”-9.8” | 22-25 cm
18.5”-24.8” | 47-63 cm (Wingspan)
11”-12.2” | 28-31 cm
.7-1.2 lb | .3-.55 kg
15-36 years
Atlantic Puffin
25.000
63.000
31.000
0.550
36.00
14700
GUIDE
3D
Atlantic Puffin
8.3”-10.4” | 21-26.5 cm
42.1”-50” | 107-127 cm (Wingspan)
15.75”-19.7” | 40-50 cm
.6-.8 lb | .25-.37 kg
5-20 years
Black Skimmer
26.500
127.000
50.000
0.370
20.00
4250
GUIDE
3D
Black Skimmer
16.3”-17.5” | 41.5-44.5 cm
52”-61” | 132-155 cm (Wingspan)
29.5”-31.5” | 75-80 cm
2-4 lb | .9-1.8 kg
20-32 years
Brown Booby
44.500
155.000
80.000
1.800
32.00
2350
GUIDE
3D
Brown Booby
11.8”-14.2” | 30-36 cm
24”-28.7” | 61-73 cm (Wingspan)
15”-17.7” | 38-45 cm
1.7-2.8 lb | .78-1.25 kg
15-41 years
Common Murre
36.000
73.000
45.000
1.250
41.00
5500
GUIDE
3D
Common Murre
19.9”-25.4” | 50.5-64.5 cm
44.9”-48.4” | 114-123 cm (Wingspan)
27.6”-35.4” | 70-90 cm
2.6-5.5 lb | 1.2-2.5 kg
6-22 years
Double-Crested Cormorant
64.500
123.000
90.000
2.500
22.00
300
GUIDE
3D
Double-Crested Cormorant
29.5”-33.5” | 75-85 cm
8.9”-10.8” | 22.5-27.5 cm
35.4”-40.9” | 90-104 cm
11-15.4 lb | 5-7 kg
20-25 years
Great Auk
85.000
27.500
104.000
7.000
25.00
25600
GUIDE
3D
Great Auk
13.4”-15.2” | 34-38.5 cm
49.2”-55.1” | 125-140 cm (Wingspan)
20.9”-22.8” | 53-58 cm
2.6-4.4 lb | 1.2-2 kg
22-36 years
Great Skua
38.500
140.000
58.000
2.000
36.00
2500
GUIDE
3D
Great Skua
12.2”-15.75” | 31-40 cm
85.4”-96” | 217-244 cm (Wingspan)
35”-44.9” | 89-114 cm
2.2-4.2 lb | 1-1.9 kg
10-22 years
Magnificent Frigatebird
40.000
244.000
114.000
1.900
22.00
6100
GUIDE
3D
Magnificent Frigatebird
12.4”-15.75” | 31.5-40 cm
40.2”-44.1” | 102-112 cm (Wingspan)
15.4”-19.7” | 39-50 cm
1-2.2 lb | .45-1 kg
30-60 years
Northern Fulmar
40.000
112.000
50.000
1.000
60.00
1350
GUIDE
3D
Northern Fulmar
21.1”-23.8” | 53.5-60.5 cm
65”-70.9” | 165-180 cm (Wingspan)
34.25”-39.4” | 87-100 cm
4.9-7.9 lb | 2.2-3.6 kg
15-37 years
Northern Gannet
60.500
180.000
100.000
3.600
37.00
6000
GUIDE
3D
Northern Gannet
8.7”-10.2” | 22-26 cm
39”-41.7” | 99-106 cm (Wingspan)
17.3”-20.1” | 44-51 cm
.9-1.7 lb | .4-.75 kg
10-30 years
Red-Billed Tropicbird
26.000
106.000
51.000
0.750
30.00
650
GUIDE
3D
Red-Billed Tropicbird
12.2”-15.2” | 31-38.5 cm
41”-50” | 104-127 cm (Wingspan)
16.9”-21.25” | 43-54 cm
.7-1.5 lb | .3-.7 kg
10-25 years
Ring-Billed Gull
38.500
127.000
54.000
0.700
25.00
550
GUIDE
3D
Ring-Billed Gull
10.2”-13.4” | 26-34 cm
37”-43.3” | 94-110 cm (Wingspan)
15.75”-20.1” | 40-51 cm
1.4-2.2 lb | .65-1 kg
20-40 years
Sooty Shearwater
34.000
110.000
51.000
1.000
40.00
2240
GUIDE
3D
Sooty Shearwater
17.7”-20.9” | 45-53 cm
59”-82.7” | 150-210 cm (Wingspan)
31.5”-39” | 80-99 cm
6.6-18.7 lb | 3-8.5 kg
15-30 years
Southern Giant Petrel
53.000
210.000
99.000
8.500
30.00
3450
GUIDE
3D
Southern Giant Petrel
9.8”-11.4” | 25-29 cm
24.8”-29.1” | 63-74 cm (Wingspan)
13.8”-15.75” | 35-40 cm
1.5-1.9 lb | .7-.9 kg
15-25 years
Tufted Puffin
29.000
74.000
40.000
0.900
25.00
5100
GUIDE
3D
Tufted Puffin
39.4”-49.6” | 100-126 cm
98”-138” | 250–350 cm (Wingspan)
42.1”-53.1” | 107-135 cm
13-28 lb | 5.9-12.7 kg
50-80 years
Wandering Albatross
126.000
350.000
135.000
12.700
80.00
36250
GUIDE
3D
Wandering Albatross
Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis)
Scale illustration of an average Northern Fulmar compared to other seabird species

The Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) also known as the fulmar, is a seabird with gray and white feathers and pale-yellow bill. They have a limited walking ability, but strong flying skills. Northern fulmars are native to the subarctic regions of the North Atlantic, Arctic, and North Pacific Oceans. Northern fulmars live in the open ocean and breed on open sea cliffs. Their diets are made up of crustaceans, fish, small squid, marine worms, and carrion. They are able to dive up to 10 ft (3 m) underwater. Northern fulmars are not considered to be in danger of extinction and are listed as least concern.

The Northern Fulmar has a wingspan in the range of 40.2”-44.1” (102-112 cm) and total weight of 1-2.2 lb (.45-1 kg). The body of the Northern Fulmar has an overall length between 15.4”-19.7” (39-50 cm), body width of 5.1”-6.7” (13-17 cm), and standing height of roughly 12.4”-15.75” (31.5-40 cm). The typical lifespan of the Northern Fulmar is between 30-60 years.

Series of measured illustrations of the Northern Fulmar
The Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) also known as the fulmar, is a seabird with gray and white feathers and pale-yellow bill. They have a limited walking ability, but strong flying skills. Northern fulmars are native to the subarctic regions of the North Atlantic, Arctic, and North Pacific.

The Northern Fulmar has a wingspan in the range of 40.2”-44.1” (102-112 cm) and total weight of 1-2.2 lb (.45-1 kg). The body of the Northern Fulmar has an overall length between 15.4”-19.7” (39-50 cm), body width of 5.1”-6.7” (13-17 cm), and standing height of roughly 12.4”-15.75” (31.5-40 cm). The typical lifespan of the Northern Fulmar is between 30-60 years.

Series of measured illustrations of the Northern Fulmar
Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis)
Height:
12.4”-15.75” | 31.5-40 cm
Width:
40.2”-44.1” | 102-112 cm (Wingspan)
Length:
15.4”-19.7” | 39-50 cm
Depth:
Weight:
1-2.2 lb | .45-1 kg
Area:

Body Width: 5.1”-6.7” | 13-17 cm

Scientific Name
Fulmarus glacialis
Lifespan
30-60 years

Drawings include:

Northern Fulmar side view, front, flying (assorted)

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Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea)
Comparison illustration of the size of a Arctic Tern to other species of seabirds

The Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) is a medium-sized seabird with gray and white feathers with a beak and feet colored red-orange. They are social birds and enjoy nesting in colonies. Arctic terns are seen in the Arctic and cold regions of Europe, Asia, and North America. They are seen out on the sea for most of the year. The arctic tern can migrate from the North pole to the South pole and travel around 25,000 miles every year. Arctic terns eat fish, crustaceans, insects, mollusks, marine worm, and earthworms. They are not considered in danger of extinction.

The Arctic Tern has a wingspan in the range of 25.6”-30.3” (65-77 cm) and total weight of .2-.3 lb (.08-.13 kg). The body of the Arctic Tern has an overall length between 14.2”-16.9” (36-43 cm), body width of 2.6”-3.3” (6.5-8.5 cm), and standing height of roughly 5.1”-6.3” (13-16 cm). The typical lifespan of the Arctic Tern is between 15-34 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Arctic Tern in various poses with dimensions
The Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea) is a medium-sized seabird with gray and white feathers with a beak and feet colored red-orange. They are social birds and enjoy nesting in colonies. Arctic terns are seen in the Arctic and cold regions of Europe, Asia, and North America.

The Arctic Tern has a wingspan in the range of 25.6”-30.3” (65-77 cm) and total weight of .2-.3 lb (.08-.13 kg). The body of the Arctic Tern has an overall length between 14.2”-16.9” (36-43 cm), body width of 2.6”-3.3” (6.5-8.5 cm), and standing height of roughly 5.1”-6.3” (13-16 cm). The typical lifespan of the Arctic Tern is between 15-34 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Arctic Tern in various poses with dimensions
Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea)
Height:
5.1”-6.3” | 13-16 cm
Width:
25.6”-30.3” | 65-77 cm (Wingspan)
Length:
14.2”-16.9” | 36-43 cm
Depth:
Weight:
.2-.3 lb | .08-.13 kg
Area:

Body Width: 2.6”-3.3” | 6.5-8.5 cm

Scientific Name
Sterna paradisaea
Lifespan
15-34 years

Drawings include:

Arctic Tern side view, front, flying (assorted)

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Great Auk (Pinguinus impennis)
Comparison illustration of the size of a Great Auk to other species of seabirds

The Great Auk (Pinguinus impennis) also known as the garefowl, is a flightless seabird that became extinct in 1844. The great auk resembled the modern penguin as it had a black back and white underside. Great auks had long wings that helped them swim underwater. They were native to the North Atlantic Coasts of St. Kilda, Iceland, and Funk Island. Great Auks hunted lumpsuckers, shorthorn sculpins, cod, and sand lance, and occasionally hunted for birds that were half their size. Great auks were hunted by humans as food and bait. Their current living relatives are the razor-billed auks.

The Great Auk had an overall body length between 35.4”-40.9” (90-104 cm), body width of 8.9”-10.8” (22.5-27.5 cm), and standing height of 29.5”-33.5” (75-85 cm). Great Auk had a weight of 11-15.4 lb (5-7 kg) and a typical lifespan between 20-25 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Great Auk in various poses with dimensions
The Great Auk (Pinguinus impennis) also known as the garefowl, is a flightless seabird that became extinct in 1844. The great auk resembled the modern penguin as it had a black back and white underside. Great auks had long wings that helped them swim underwater.

The Great Auk had an overall body length between 35.4”-40.9” (90-104 cm), body width of 8.9”-10.8” (22.5-27.5 cm), and standing height of 29.5”-33.5” (75-85 cm). Great Auk had a weight of 11-15.4 lb (5-7 kg) and a typical lifespan between 20-25 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Great Auk in various poses with dimensions
Great Auk (Pinguinus impennis)
Height:
29.5”-33.5” | 75-85 cm
Width:
8.9”-10.8” | 22.5-27.5 cm
Length:
35.4”-40.9” | 90-104 cm
Depth:
Weight:
11-15.4 lb | 5-7 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Pinguinus impennis
Lifespan
20-25 years

Drawings include:

Great Auk side view, front

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Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica)
Scale illustration of an average Atlantic Puffin compared to other seabird species

The Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica) also referred to as the common puffin is a seabird with similar coloring to a penguin. Atlantic puffins have a colorful beak that has given them the nickname, ”Sea Parrot”. They are native to the Atlantic Ocean as their name suggests and can be found in Iceland, Norway, Greenland, Newfoundland, and the Faroe Islands. Atlantic puffins live in coastal, offshore waters, and open seas. They spend most of their time on the sea and can dive up to 200 ft. Atlantic Puffin’s eat fish, crustaceans, mollusks, and marine worms. The Atlantic puffin is considered vulnerable to extinction.

The Atlantic Puffin has a wingspan in the range of 18.5”-24.8” (47-63 cm) and total weight of .7-1.2 lb (.3-.55 kg). The body of the Atlantic Puffin has an overall length between 11”-12.2” (28-31 cm), body width of 3.7”-4.3” (9.5-11 cm), and standing height of roughly 8.7”-9.8” (22-25 cm). The typical lifespan of the Atlantic Puffin is between 15-36 years.

Series of measured illustrations of the Atlantic Puffin
The Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica) also referred to as the common puffin is a seabird with similar coloring to a penguin. Atlantic puffins have a colorful beak that has given them the nickname, ”Sea Parrot”. They are native to the Atlantic Ocean as their name suggests.

The Atlantic Puffin has a wingspan in the range of 18.5”-24.8” (47-63 cm) and total weight of .7-1.2 lb (.3-.55 kg). The body of the Atlantic Puffin has an overall length between 11”-12.2” (28-31 cm), body width of 3.7”-4.3” (9.5-11 cm), and standing height of roughly 8.7”-9.8” (22-25 cm). The typical lifespan of the Atlantic Puffin is between 15-36 years.

Series of measured illustrations of the Atlantic Puffin
Atlantic Puffin (Fratercula arctica)
Height:
8.7”-9.8” | 22-25 cm
Width:
18.5”-24.8” | 47-63 cm (Wingspan)
Length:
11”-12.2” | 28-31 cm
Depth:
Weight:
.7-1.2 lb | .3-.55 kg
Area:

Body Width: 3.7”-4.3” | 9.5-11 cm

Scientific Name
Fratercula arctica
Lifespan
15-36 years

Drawings include:

Atlantic Puffin side view, front, flying (assorted)

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Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Comparison drawing of the Black Skimmer compared to other seabirds

The Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) is part of the gull family of seabirds and have many nicknames like scissor-bill, shearwater, and seadog. Black skimmers have long wings, black and white feathers, and a bill that is half red and half black. Black skimmers can be found in both North and South America and prefer coastal waters like lagoons, ocean beaches, and bays. Their diet mostly consists of small fish that are just below the surface of the water and small crustaceans and find their prey through touch. Black skimmers are not in danger of extinction and are listed as least concern.

The Black Skimmer has a wingspan in the range of 42.1”-50” (107-127 cm) and total weight of .6-.8 lb (.25-.37 kg). The body of the Black Skimmer has an overall length between 15.75”-19.7” (40-50 cm), body width of 3.7”-4.7” (9.5-12 cm), and standing height of roughly 8.3”-10.4” (21-26.5 cm). The typical lifespan of the Black Skimmer is between 5-20 years.

Set of scaled side and front drawings of the Black Skimmer
The Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) is part of the gull family of seabirds and have many nicknames like scissor-bill, shearwater, and seadog. Black skimmers have long wings, black and white feathers, and a bill that is half red and half black. Black skimmers can be found in North and South America.

The Black Skimmer has a wingspan in the range of 42.1”-50” (107-127 cm) and total weight of .6-.8 lb (.25-.37 kg). The body of the Black Skimmer has an overall length between 15.75”-19.7” (40-50 cm), body width of 3.7”-4.7” (9.5-12 cm), and standing height of roughly 8.3”-10.4” (21-26.5 cm). The typical lifespan of the Black Skimmer is between 5-20 years.

Set of scaled side and front drawings of the Black Skimmer
Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger)
Height:
8.3”-10.4” | 21-26.5 cm
Width:
42.1”-50” | 107-127 cm (Wingspan)
Length:
15.75”-19.7” | 40-50 cm
Depth:
Weight:
.6-.8 lb | .25-.37 kg
Area:

Body Width: 3.7”-4.7” | 9.5-12 cm

Scientific Name
Rynchops niger
Lifespan
5-20 years

Drawings include:

Black Skimmer side view, front, flying (assorted)

Downloads

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