Shorebirds are a branch of birds which includes sandpipers, plovers, curlews, and associated birds. As a rule these birds aren’t regarded as seabirds, since they feed and roost on the coast, and just wade to the water-usually bays or inland beaches, not the sea. However, two small species, known as phalaropes, nest on the Arctic tundra but spend the rest of the year at sea in lower latitudes.
But many species will migrate across the sea and rest on the sea, most quite close to shore. Particular ducks feed on mollusks and are found frequently in nearshore waters-especially near rocky shores or headlands.
There’s truly no species known as a”sea gull.” Gulls happen coastally, but many species live in inland locations. Some gulls nest in the Arctic or inland lakes and winter along the shore. Most gulls will need to drink fresh water frequently, are seldom found over 20 miles offshore. Kittiwakes and Sabine’s gulls are species which spend the majority of the year at sea.
Terns are closely associated with gulls and occupy the same habitats. Many dive from the atmosphere into the nearshore waters for fish.
Also associated with gulls are a group of seabirds known as jaegers that strain on the Arctic tundra but spend the rest of the year far at sea. Skuas are alike, breeding in Arctic or Antarctic lands. These critters are klepto-parasitic, stealing other seabird’s food.
Cormorants, pelicans, gannets, and allies live mostly along coastlines. Several members, including frigate birds and tropic birds are located far to sea.
Loons and grebes are mostly fresh water divers. Many spend the non-breeding season along the shore, either in near shore ocean waters or bays and estuaries.
Found only in the southern hemisphere, flightless penguins appear more at home in the sea than on land.
Auks, murres, and puffins are a northern hemisphere group of seabirds that nest on sea shore or offshore rocks. They feed exclusively from the sea, eating fish or krill.
They have the ability to drink sea water. They sleep and rest on the ocean in addition to obtain their food from the sea. They return to land only to nest, usually in colonies on isolated islands from any predators. These seabirds are often called pelagic birds.
Bird watchers wanting to see seabirds, particularly pelagic seabirds, will have to attend special’pelagic trips’ to get abroad where these birds spend the majority of the year.