Seabirds | Marine Birds
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.
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.
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.
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.