Royal Albatross Order: Tube-Nosed

Families 4:
  1. Albatrosses
    • 13 Species
  2. Diving-Petrels
    • 4 Species
  3. Shearwaters and Petrels
    • 66 Species
  4. Storm-Petrels
    • 21 Species

Procellariiformes - Tube-Nosed Marine Birds

The order Procellariiformes, the "tube-noses," contains four major families. Procellariiformes are highly specialized for life in a marine environment. The tubes marking the external nostrils are part of a salt-excreting apparatus and characterize all birds of this order. The tubes around its nostrils help excrete excess salt, which would otherwise build up in the bird's body. This adaptation allows these birds to wander across the ocean without requiring fresh water.

Groups within the order include albatrosses, petrels, shearwaters, storm-petrels, and diving-petrels. They are the most diverse in the oceans of the Southern Hemisphere. Only a few species -- Manx Shearwaters, Northern Fulmars, and Fork-tailed and Leach's Storm-Petrels. for examples -- breed at northern temperate latitudes. Many southern species undertake long migrations to the northern oceans, however. These travelers include two species that are quite abundant in North American waters during the non-breeding season: the Sooty Shearwater and Wilson's Storm-Petrel. The family of albatrosses, Diomedeidae, are large narrow-winged birds that are highly specialized for gliding flight. The family of gull-sized petrels. shearwaters, and fulmars --Procellariidae -- are also narrow-winged and exhibit a strong flapping and gliding flight. The family of more buoyant storm-petrels, Hydrobatidae, contains the smallest of the tube-noses -- some species are hardly larger than a swallow. The family of diving-petrels, Pelecanoididae, has an auk-like appearance and reduced wings that birds use for underwater propulsion. Albatrosses and storm-petrels feed at the surface of the water as do many gull-sized petrels, shearwaters, and fulmars. Diving-petrels and some shearwaters pursue prey under water.

Royal Albatross

Back to Bird Type Choices    Back to Oregon Birds