Birds

Seabird species vary a great deal. Some migrate for hundreds of miles and remain at sea for lengthy periods of time and others stay close to home. All seabirds rely on the sea for food, foraging above and below the ocean surface using adaptations that help them deal with salt water.

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In marshlands along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, it's easy to hear the sharp, buzzing calls of seaside sparrows ( Ammodramus maritimus )—even if they can be hard to spot. These five-inch,...
A gentoo penguin ( Pygoscelis papua ) mother stands with her chick in...
The Laysan albatross ( Phoebastria immutabilis ) breeds mainly in Hawaii and...
In Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, brown pelicans ( Pelecanus occidentalis ) nest...

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Every breeding season, some 400,000 Magellanic penguins ( Spheniscus magellanicus ) come to Punta Tombo, Argentina to nest on the shore. They typically lay two eggs in a burrow or under a bush, and the parents take turns watching...
The Hawaiian petrel ( Pterodroma sandwichensis ) lives over the Pacific...
The Laysan albatross ( Phoebastria immutabilis ) breeds mainly in Hawaii and...

DIVE DEEPER

Oceanic birds are a rare treat to see because these birds are not casual visitors to our coastline—to see them you normally...
There are over 30 colonies of king penguins ( Aptenodytes patagonicus ) on South Georgia Island in the Southern Atlantic Ocean. The penguins capture their prey, typically lanternfish, by diving at...
Small Adélie penguins live throughout the Antarctic, but are most abundant in the area of the Ross Sea. They lay eggs on the few rocky outcrops of land not covered in ice. Scientists have determined...
Once common in the West Indies, the Black Capped Petrel ( Pterodroma hasitata ), which breeds in high Caribbean mountains, is now on the endangered species list. Unlike many seabirds, it is active...
The ocean is home to many moms of all shapes and sizes: from charismatic polar bears and dolphins to small fishes and shrimps and more. Learn about some of the diverse parenting habits of marine moms...
The largest of the Atlantic shearwaters, Cory's Shearwater ( Calonectris borealis ) can often be spotted by its casual wingbeat and gliding flight. When not breeding on islands in the Mediterranean...
One study found that 97.5% of chicks had plastic in their stomachs, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium .
In recent years, I have taken to watching flying fish along the Maine coast. Not the usual flying fish that skim over tropical seas, but fish dangling from the beaks of flying puffins. Puffins are...
In marshlands along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, it's easy to hear the sharp, buzzing calls of seaside sparrows ( Ammodramus maritimus )—even if they can be hard to spot. These five-inch, brown...
The Laysan albatross ( Phoebastria immutabilis ) breeds mainly in Hawaii and other Pacific islands where male and female pairs will incubate their egg for nine weeks. The pair participates in an...
Even if you aren't a hardcore birder, chances are you have some hidden love for penguins. These flightless birds have captured our hearts through countless movies, beautiful images and their adorable...
These photos portray baby albatrosses, which are fed the plastic by their parents. A chick can have an ounce of plastic in its belly and remain healthy; the dead chicks have twice as much, biologist...
“I slowly approached this bird resting on the back of a turtle just under the surface of the water. I got the shot just before the tern flew away.” -- Nature's Best photographer, Nuno Sá. See more...
Penguins are odd birds. For one, they cannot fly (but they are amazing swimmers), and, contrary to popular belief, the majority of penguin populations live in warmer regions. Only four of the 18...
“As we motored around Paulet Island in a Zodiac boat, these two curious penguins waddled across an iceberg to get a closer look at us.” -- Nature's Best photographer, Phillip Colla . See more...
All seabirds spend a significant part of their lives at sea, and many experience many parts of the world's ocean as they migrate around the globe every year. Some seabirds travel very far distances,...
The vibrant yellow eyestripe of this seaside sparrow ( Ammodramus maritimus ) is a splash of color on an otherwise drab body. But that drab body lets it blend into marshgrass, where it feeds, breeds...
Great Shearwaters usually don't come near land when they're not breeding—but sometimes they can be blown ashore by strong winds and storms. When that happens, the stranded birds have to be taken to a...
Blue-footed Boobies ( Sula nebouxii ) , common in the Galapagos Islands and other warm coastal areas of the Pacific, can catch flying fish in mid-air. Their blue feet are for fashion AND function...
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