(noun) A type of bird that relies mainly on a marine habitat for survival, spending the majority of its life at sea on, in or above the water, only returning to land for breeding. These birds are often specially adapted for survival at sea, with features that include:
- Long, tapered wings for easy flight that can be sustained for hours or days, or flippers for powerful swimming
- Sturdy bills with slight hooks for catching fish, krill and other aquatic prey, often from dives
- Glands that can secrete salt to keep the bird's biochemistry properly balanced
Birders often arrange pelagic birding trips specifically to find seabirds to add to their life list, since these birds are not regularly seen inland. Vagrant sightings can occur near coastal areas after heavy storms, however, and some seabirds will come closer to shore when feeding conditions are ideal. Birding trips to seabird breeding colonies are also highly coveted but are rare and heavily regulated to protect the nesting birds.
Photo – Salvin's Albatross © Craig Nash
Marine Bird, Pelagic Bird, Sea Bird, Oceanic Bird