Types Of Ocean Birds

Last Updated on April 12, 2023 by

Oceans are home to many fascinating creatures, including birds. From the majestic albatross to the colorful puffin, ocean birds come in a variety of shapes and sizes. But what are the different types of these feathered sea-dwellers? In this article we will explore all the types of ocean birds that inhabit our waters and learn more about their unique characteristics.

The oceans provide an important habitat for several species of seabirds. These birds rely on the resources available in marine ecosystems to survive, such as fish and plankton.

Seabirds can be divided into two groups: coastal waterbirds and pelagic species which live far out at sea. Coastal waterbirds tend to stay close to shore and visit land often, while pelagic species remain out at sea for most or all of their lives.

Let’s take a closer look at each type!


Albatrosses are like the majestic, soaring eagles of the sea. Their long wingspan and graceful flight allow them to soar for days without needing rest.

They have an impressive range that covers much of the southern hemisphere’s oceans, from South America all the way down to Antarctica.

Albatrosses feed mainly on fish but also scavenge for squid and other marine organisms in order to survive.

It is not uncommon to see large groups of albatross flying together in search of food sources.

As one of nature’s most remarkable ocean birds, albatrosses will continue to captivate us with their incredible ability to traverse vast distances across the open seas.

With this said, it is no surprise that gannets possess similarly impressive traits.


Gannets are large seabirds belonging to the Sulidae family. They have a notably long, pointed beak and can grow up to three feet tall with wingspans of nearly six feet! Here is what makes them stand out:

  1. Their incredible eyesight – Gannets have excellent vision which allows them to spot prey from far away.

  2. Superb diving abilities– They are able to dive at great depths in search of food and their bodies are specially adapted for this purpose with air sacs that help maintain buoyancy.

  3. Colonial behavior – Many gannet species congregate into colonies on coastlines or islands where they often share nesting sites and breeding grounds.

Overall, gannets are fascinating sea birds with remarkable physical attributes and social behaviors that make them incredibly well suited for life in the ocean environment.

Looking beyond just the basics, there is so much more to discover about these species–including how their interactions with other wildlife may influence their population numbers over time.

Transitioning into our next topic of shearwaters, we can explore yet another type of bird living in the marine ecosystem.


The gannets have captivated us with their impressive wingspan and ability to dive deep into the ocean, but many have wondered if these birds may have a higher purpose. Is there something more that we can learn from this species? According to some ornithologists, studying the behavior of gannets could provide insight on how humans interact with nature in both positive and negative ways.

Shearwaters are another type of seabird often seen around coastal areas. These birds travel far distances along the surface of the water and are known for their remarkable navigational abilities. But beyond being able to fly thousands of miles without getting lost, shearwaters also play an important role in our ecosystems by helping control populations of fish and other aquatic animals.

By understanding how shearwaters move about the ocean and interact with their environment, it is possible for us to gain valuable knowledge about marine conservation efforts. With this newfound perspective, we can look towards petrels as yet another example of natural wonders found within our oceans.


Let’s talk about petrels’ behavior and diet; they’re quite interesting creatures. They feed on a variety of small marine creatures, and have interesting foraging strategies.


Petrels are fascinating ocean birds that have interesting behaviors.

They spend most of their time at sea, only coming to land during the nesting season when they can be seen flocking around cliffs and rocks.

Petrels tend to migrate long distances across oceans for food, often in large groups.

Petrels have also been observed engaging in cooperative feeding behavior where one group member will act as a lookout while another dives into the water to catch fish or other prey items such as squid.

While petrels may not look like particularly social birds, these observations show us that there is more going on between them than meets the eye!

Ultimately, understanding the behavior of petrels helps us appreciate how diverse and adaptable these incredible creatures truly are.


As fascinating as their behavior is, petrels also have an interesting diet.

They mainly feed on small fish and squid that they find in the ocean depths, but will take advantage of food sources closer to shore when available.

Petrels are also known to scavenge for carrion left behind by other birds or animals.

By eating a variety of foods, petrels can survive in different habitats and adjust to changes in their environment if needed.

This adaptability is just one more example of how amazing these creatures truly are!

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Skuas are a family of seabirds commonly found in the coastal areas of oceans around the world.

They have long, pointed wings and strong feet that they use to hunt fish from above or scavenge food from other birds.

Skuas also nest near shorelines, which makes them easy to observe for birdwatchers.

Their aggressive behavior when defending their nests is well known — often attacking any animal that gets too close!

Some skua species can travel great distances by following fishing vessels and feeding on scraps thrown overboard.

This is an important adaptation for these birds as it helps them survive during times when food may be scarce in their natural environment.

As a result, some scientists argue that humans should take extra care with waste disposal at sea because this could affect skua populations.

With this potential threat looming over them, it’s clear why conservation efforts are so important for skuas.

Allowing us to appreciate these remarkable creatures while ensuring they remain part of our planet’s diverse ecosystems into the future.

Stepping away from skuas then, let’s look closer now at another type of ocean bird: jaeger.


Their diet consists mainly of small fish, squid, and crustaceans. They’re known to migrate over long distances during the winter months, and they breed during the summer. They usually nest in colonies close to the shore on rocky cliffs and islands.


When it comes to Jaegers, their diet is primarily focused on scavenging for fish, squid and other small sea creatures. They will also take advantage of carrion or steal food from other birds if they have the opportunity.

Their long wings are perfect for covering great distances over open ocean waters in search of food sources. While not as agile as some smaller seabirds, they more than make up for this with their dedicated search pattern and willingness to travel far out at sea when necessary.

With a keen eye and an appetite that’s always looking for something new, these animals are surprisingly resourceful hunters!

Migratory Habits

Migratory habits are an important part of the life of Jaegers, as they often need to travel great distances in order to find food or suitable nesting sites.

They tend to migrate southward during the winter months and return northwards when spring arrives.

In some cases, they can even cross entire oceans by taking advantage of prevailing winds that help them make the journey more quickly.

During these journeys, Jaegers rely heavily on their keen sense of direction and stamina to get from one place to another.

It’s truly amazing just how much ground these birds cover each year!

Breeding Patterns

To ensure their survival, Jaegers must also practice successful breeding patterns. They typically nest in colonies of dozens or even hundreds of birds – a behavior known as coloniality – and although they will occasionally mate with other species, most pairs tend to remain monogamous for life.

Furthermore, female Jaegers usually lay two to three eggs per season, which are incubated by both parents until hatching. This ensures that the chicks have enough parental care to survive and thrive when they fledge from the nest after about one month’s time.

It’s amazing how this bird has adapted its behaviors to suit its environment!


Terns are a type of seabird known for their long, narrow wings and pointed tails. These birds typically inhabit coastal regions throughout the world and feed on small fish and invertebrates such as squid.

They nest in colonies near shorelines or on offshore islands during the summer months. Terns have several adaptations that help them survive in various ocean environments, including webbed feet to aid with swimming, powerful beaks for catching prey, and waterproof feathers to keep them dry while diving into the water.

Many species of terns also migrate great distances between wintering grounds in warmer climates and breeding sites further north each year. Although some species can travel thousands of kilometers between these two habitats, many stay relatively close by depending on food sources available at different times of the year.

With their strong flying abilities and adaptability to life in aquatic settings, terns remain an essential part of many marine ecosystems worldwide.

Transitioning now to auks…


Terns are a beloved sight on the ocean, with their graceful wings and black-and-white coloring. They’re also incredibly adaptable birds who can thrive in many different environments, from rocky coasts to sandy beaches. There’s something special about them that draws us back time and again as we look out over the sea.

But terns aren’t the only beautiful birds that ply the waters of our oceans; auks are equally impressive. These small seabirds have short legs and sharp bills designed for diving into the depths after fish and other prey. From puffins with their colorful beaks to guillemots whose feathers seem almost iridescent, watching these creatures at work is a mesmerizing experience.

As they dive gracefully underwater, one gets a sense of how life has evolved beneath the waves – an awe-inspiring reminder of nature’s power and beauty. With each new glimpse of these incredible animals, it becomes easier to understand why so many people find solace in observing them every day.

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As captivating as auks may be, there’s another type of bird that stands out even more: puffins!


Puffins are a beloved and iconic ocean bird, easily identified by their brightly colored beaks.

Puffins belong to the family of seabirds called Alcidae which includes other popular species like murres, guillemots, auks and more.

They can be found in many parts of the world including along coastlines in Norway, Iceland, Greenland, Canada and Alaska.

Puffins typically feed on small fish but will also eat crustaceans if they’re available.

To hunt for food they have adapted short wings that make them adept at diving underwater to catch their prey.

When not hunting or resting, puffins spend most of their time flying above the water looking for food as well as places where they can nest safely from predators.

All-in-all these birds are amazing creatures with a unique look and interesting behaviors that make them one of the ocean’s most beloved residents!

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does The Ocean Affect The Behavior Of Ocean Birds?

The ocean affects the behavior of ocean birds in a variety of ways.

Birds that live on or near the coast primarily rely on the oceans for food and shelter, so their lives are heavily reliant upon its resources.

These birds may feed off fish and other small creatures found in the waves, while also finding refuge from predators by nesting close to shorelines.

Additionally, many species migrate along coastal areas during different times of year due to changes in weather patterns and availability of food sources.

All these behaviors serve to illustrate just how integral the oceans are to birdlife at sea.

What Is The Best Way To Observe Ocean Birds In Their Natural Habitat?

The best way to observe ocean birds in their natural habitat is by taking a quiet, respectful approach.

When approaching the area where the birds are located, stay low and move slowly so as not to startle them or cause any type of disruption.

It’s also important to be mindful of your surroundings and keep noise levels down.

Bring binoculars if you wish to get an up-close look at the birds from afar without disturbing their environment.

With some patience and observation, it’s possible to take in all the beauty of these majestic creatures while they go about their daily activities.

Are Ocean Birds Affected By Plastic Pollution In The Ocean?

Ocean birds are some of the most affected creatures when it comes to plastic pollution in our oceans.

It’s heartbreaking to consider how much damage this industrial waste is causing to these beautiful creatures and their habitats.

Birds can mistake plastics for food, or become entangled in discarded fishing nets, both leading to injury or death.

The effects of ocean plastic on sea life are devastating and have been widely documented by environmentalists around the world.

We must act now if we want to protect these precious species from further harm.

What Are The Different Migratory Patterns Of Ocean Birds?

Migratory patterns of ocean birds vary greatly depending on the species.

Many species are known to migrate annually, traveling thousands of miles between their breeding and wintering grounds.

Some may only migrate short distances, while others move up and down along coastlines in response to changing food availability.

Still other species will remain near a particular area year-round rather than migrating at all.

Understanding these migration patterns helps scientists better protect ocean bird populations by ensuring they have access to suitable habitats throughout the year.

What Are The Conservation Efforts In Place To Protect Ocean Birds?

Conservation efforts to protect ocean birds are essential for maintaining their diverse populations. These efforts range from protecting important nesting habitats, such as islands and coastlines, to reducing the number of nonnative predators in breeding areas.

Other measures include curbing bycatch in fishing operations, implementing rules that discourage overfishing, and creating laws to address pollution and other environmental issues.

Additionally, public education campaigns can help raise awareness about the importance of preserving these beautiful creatures.


In conclusion, ocean birds are a vital part of our ecosystem and need to be preserved for future generations. Many species have been affected by plastic pollution in the ocean, making it difficult for them to survive. To help protect these creatures, conservation efforts should continue to be made to reduce human impact on their habitats.

The best way to observe ocean birds is while they’re in their natural environment – this allows us to gain insight into their behavior and migratory patterns without disturbing them too much. A great idiom that encapsulates this concept is ‘a bird’s eye view’: when we take a step back, we can see things more clearly!

Ultimately, understanding how different types of ocean birds interact with the marine environment will give us an appreciation for the importance of maintaining healthy oceans. It also highlights our responsibility as individuals to act responsibly when using or interacting with marine ecosystems. With careful observation and protection from harm, ocean birds can continue thriving for many years to come.

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