Nest site selection and egg laying behaviour in seabirds.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
Seabirds are described as birds that rely on the marine environment for food resources, they spend a substantial part of their lives foraging in the marine environment. Foraging is generally done alone and they feed on krill, squid and fish. Seabirds make up 3% of the worlds bird species. There are 328 species of seabirds in four orders. Spenisciformes is the penguins and there is 17 species in one family. Procellariiformes is the albatrosses, shearwaters, petrels, diving petrels, and storm petrels and there are 125 species in four families. Pelecaniformes is the pelicans, tropicbirds, frigatebirds, gannets and cormorants and there are 61 species in five families. Charadriiformes is the gulls, terns, skuas, skimmers and auks, and there are 128 species in four families. Seabirds live longer and breed later than the other bird types. Some albatross and petrel species live for more than 60 years. Mortality rates are low in adults and offspring. Many seabird species are threatened by human activities. This is mostly as seabird bycatch through commercial and private fishing. Many of these species are at risk of extinction, particularly the albatross, petrels and shearwaters. They are attracted to the bait used by boats and get caught in the fishing hooks and lines. They are then dragged down into the ocean where they drown. Seabird breeding sites are all threatened by human activities. They are lost through increased human settlement and through human degradation such as oil spills. Humans have introduced invasive animals such as rats to offshore islands which predate on seabirds while they are on land breeding.