The petrel (Latin Procellariclassae) is a medium-sized seabird. Representatives of the petrel family are found off the shores of all oceans, for the most part, however, in the Southern Hemisphere. The order of petrels (or tube-nosed ones) includes 81 species. The plumage is either completely dark or two-colored with a light underside.
The Southern Hemisphere is famous for the largest number of inhabited species of petrels. Five species nest in the Russian seas, in addition, thirteen species can be seen during the nomadic period. During migrations, 3 species of albatross fly to the Russian coast of the Pacific Ocean: black-footed, white-backed and dark-backed.
The nutritional base of small pipe-nosed species includes squid, small fish, and planktonic crustaceans. The diet of large representatives of this detachment includes carrion and garbage from ships. The largest representatives of the tube-nosed order are albatrosses, and the smallest are individuals of the storm petrel family. Petrels spend most of their life over the ocean, which is facilitated by their body structure.
Petrel or pipe-nosed - the name of the same order. How different these names are! The first breathes with poetry, and the second seems a little rude. And yet they are closely related…. The fact is that thanks to the very horny tubes in the noses of petrels (because of which the second name appeared), these birds are able to spend a significant part of their life over the vast seas and oceans.
The structure of petrels is maximally adapted to life associated with the sea. In the horny tubes of petrels there are nostrils, through which excess salts are released (after all, they drink salty sea water). The tube-nosed wings are long and narrow, designed for soaring flight. The fingers of these birds (there are three in total) are connected to each other by a swimming membrane, which is very necessary for them for swimming.
It is difficult for petrels to navigate overland. Their body structure contributes to life by the sea, above the sea and even in its thickness - some species of tube noses are able to dive. But due to the difficulties in movement on land, petrels like to nest near the water.
Among the petrels, there are also the longest-winged birds in the world. They are albatrosses. Their wingspan can be over four meters. The special structure of the wing allows albatrosses not to land for several days.
A clutch of petrels contains only one large egg (white). It is interesting that large representatives of tube-nosed animals hold the record among all birds for the duration of incubation of eggs, which is about two months. They feed chicks for six months. Both the female and the male are equally involved in caring for the offspring.
Many chicks weigh more than their parents by the end of their nest. They receive food in the form of stomach fat - an oily liquid that adults regurgitate. By itself, this food is very high in calories. It is formed in the glandular stomach of the bird and, in fact, is a food reserve. With the help of it, petrels can not only feed their chicks, but also go without food for several days.
Large petrels have an excellent sense of smell. This is a real rarity for birds. By smell, albatrosses find waste from ships and carrion.
Some representatives of the tube-nosed, during wanderings, are able to go around the entire globe. These include the giant petrel, the wandering petrel, and the royal albatross. Since their path passes through the southern latitudes, and strong trade winds blow there, the birds caught by this wind fly around the entire Earth.
Albatrosses are the largest petrels. Their weight reaches ten kilograms. These birds spend a significant part of their life in a soaring state over the seas and oceans. This is facilitated by unusually long wings - flying in air masses does not require almost any effort from albatrosses. Day after day, they dive now near the water, then rise to a height of 20 meters. And this is part of their life.
Albatrosses are long-lived. Their life expectancy can reach eighty years (on average, sixty years). This fact, in particular, is explained by the almost complete absence of natural enemies in these birds (due to the extremely large size of albatrosses).
Albatrosses arrange mating games. At the same time, they make noise, spread their wings, stretch their necks, etc. all this is accompanied by shrill screams. But the families created by albatrosses are strong - they survive all their lives.
The nesting period of a wandering albatross is eleven months. It is because of this that the largest albatross is not able to have offspring every year.
Fools are one of the most common representatives of the tube-nosed order in Russia. They got their name due to their gullibility towards everything around them. Often during nesting - on land - the fulmars can even let a person close quite close. The flight of these birds can be both hovering and flapping. In calm, windless weather, they can be found resting directly on the water or flying above its surface.
The fools are alone in the sea. They gather in flocks only from fishing vessels to collect garbage. At the same time, they often quarrel, and then you can hear the cackle of these birds.
Fall and spring migration routes are not the same for many petrels. For example, the slender-billed petrel nests on the islets nearby Australia. After the offspring becomes independent, along the Asian coast, it reaches the islands in the Chukchi Sea. It returns to its nesting sites by another route, which runs along the coast of America.
The weight of the smallest representatives of the order of petrels is only twenty grams. These are birds of the storm petrel family. They nest in places protected from attack: in voids between stones, in crevices or burrows. In calm weather, storm petrels can be found flying over sea waters. Their flight is fluttering. In stormy weather, these unusual birds prefer to stay between high waves - they protect them from strong winds. The diet of storm petrels includes small marine animals.
"Stormy rain" is a well-known phenomenon for sailors. This large number of storm petrels land on the decks of ships (this happens especially often in bad weather). The sailors called them "fiery", as these birds flock to the ships in the light of lights.