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Seabirds

Seabirds, from the Order Aves, live in that zone between air and water. Watch as Dr. Kathy Townsend explains more.
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In this next section we’re going to talk about seabirds from the class Aves. And there’s five orders within this class that contain what we would consider to be marine species. So things like the Sphenisciformes which are the penguins, the Procellariiformes which are our seabirds like these Whitecap Noddies, we have sitting in the tree behind us. The Charadriformes which are the shorebirds, the Pelicaniformes, which include of course, things like your pelicans, and finally, your Suliformes, which are your boobies, things like your blue footed boobies, or the Brown, the brown boobie, and there’s over 10,000 species. And of course, the term Aves means birds. And you can find them everywhere. You can find them in marine in freshwater and terrestrial environments.
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So what are some of the characteristics from the order Aves? Well, first of all, they have lungs, and they’ve got this really cool system, they have four sets of air sacs. Unlike us, like in mammals, where we have to single lungs, they’ve got a set of four air sacs, they’ve also got a lot of adaptations to allow them to fly, things like porous bones, and a toothless bill lightens their load, so it means that they can be lightweight and be able to fly. They have these amniotic eggs with a calcium shell, which means that they have reduced amount of desiccation allowing them to be able to exploit a lot of different terrestrial environments.
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They also have a four chambered heart, and they’re endothermic, which means that they’re warm blooded. And another way that helps them to stay warm or maintain their warmth, is the fact that they’re covered in feathers, just like these guys here. But living in a water environment is of course, an issue. They have to deal with things like how do they maintain their body temperature, particularly those animals that are living all the way down in the Antarctic and living in snow and ice, and they keep warm with a combination of various density of feathers.
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The other thing is being able to breathe, and of course, they have to find areas on the terrestrial environment to be able to nest and raise young. Now, can any of you think of a famous marine aves of any sort? I think one of the ones that immediately pops to my mind is of course, things like happy feet, the dancing Penguin from the movie.

Sea birds are from the Class Aves – which means “birds”. There are over 10 000 species of Aves, however there are really only five orders contain ‘marine’ species. These include the Sphenisciformes (penguins), Procellariiformes (seabirds), Charadriformes (shorebirds), Pelicaniformes (pelicans) and the Suliformes (boobies). They can be found in all kinds of habitats, including marine, freshwater and terrestrial.

Characteristics of birds include: lungs which consist of four sets of air sacs, porous bones & a toothless bill to reduce weight and allow the birds to fly, amniotic eggs with calcium shells, four chambered heart, they are endothermic (warm blooded) and are covered with feathers.

Like the reptiles, the group as a whole is much better adapted for land and living in marine environments present challenges for birds. While they make short trips into the water, they have a strong connection to the land and air, allowing them to regulate their body temp, find a place to lay their eggs and raise their young.

How do you feel about birds? I know that some people love bird watching, while others are terrified by them. Let us know in the chat.

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