Herald Petrel (Pterodroma arminjoniana)

February 9, 2009 by  
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The Herald Petrel (Pterodroma arminjoniana) is a medium-sized bird belonging to the Procellariidae family. It is a sea bird and spends much of its life on or above the ocean, only really visiting nesting grounds during breeding season. It is generally found below the Equator but you may find these birds as far north as North Carolina on occasion. One of their more notable breeding grounds is that of Raine Island and other small cays in the Coral Sea where it can forage comfortably in the surrounding ocean. When looking for breeding grounds, the Herald Petrel favors warm islands with soils that are well suited for nesting burrows. It feeds on squid and crustaceans which it skims from just below the surface of the water with its bill only to be ingested later whilst the bird is in flight.

When you look at the Herald Petrel, you will find that its body measures roughly 36-41 cm in length with a wingspan of 97-102 cm. Generally speaking, the whole bird is gray with some green showing on the nape and upper tail. The body has no patterning whatsoever. The Herald Petrel also has a hooked, seabird-shaped bill and a pointed tail. The wings are also quite pointed in shape while the legs are pink in color. Birdwatchers should note that there are three different color morphs of the Herald Petrel: light, intermediate and dark. The light morph has a white chest and belly, while its upper parts are a dark gray. The dark morph has a dark grey body overall with a silver-grey or white base on its under-wing flight feathers. The intermediate morph is mixture of the light and dark morph.

When the time comes for the Herald Petrel to breed, both sexes will work together to excavate or clean out a burrow. Once this is done, the female lays only one egg in a sparse, un-lined burrow and both the male and female share incubation duties. After 49-54 days, the eggs hatch and a new Herald Petrel is born. Herald Petrels have only one brood a year.

Remarkable Re-discovery of Beck’s Petrel

March 19, 2008 by  
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With the last verified sighting of a Beck’s Petrel being almost 80 years ago, conservationists were of the opinion that this particular bird species (Pseudobulweria becki) had become extinct. However, to the delight of ornithological conservationists, the British Ornithologists’ Club recently published photographic confirmation of Beck’s Petrel sightings.

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How do birds drink?

September 8, 2006 by  
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Birds need water to survive. This includes ocean birds that are flying far out over the ocean, like gulls, petrels, and albatross. They may be far from shore for months or even years at a time, never seeing lakes or other sources of fresh water. How do they survive?

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