Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Many Categories of Birds

There are several categories of birds which will have to be described in more than one post.
This first post is about 'Waterbirds', broken into two parts: "Palegic Waterbirds" and "Waterbirds".
Pelagic Waterbirds
Pelagic birds search for food over the open ocean. Basically most of these birds simply come ashore only when they need to nest. Normally on distant islands or a high point of land that extends into the water. There are a few which are generally seen from shore and others are infrequently blown ashore by major storms.

They are broken into two sub-categories:
  • Aerialists 
  • Swimmers
In the aerialists family there are three groups -
  1. Albatrosses, Boobies, Gannet
  2. Fulmar, Gadfly Petrels, Gulls and Terns (pelagic), Jaegers, Shearwaters, Skuas, Tropicbirds
  3. Storm-petrels
Then there are the swimmers -
  1. Alcids, Phalaropes
Most waterbirds do not go far from the wetlands. They are in low water areas similar to marshes. Birds seen in these areas are easily recognized as waterbirds.
In these areas we have the 'Aerialists' - such as gulls and birds resembling them with long slender wings. They scan the water and shores in search of food.
Then we have the 'Swimmers' - ducks/other swimmers have wide bodies and webbed feet. Their profile on the water and in the air, too, is different from aerialists.
Then there are 'Wading Birds' - also using marshes and wetlands. They are usually easy because most of the time they have long skinny legs to keep them above the water, as in the heron. Although there are short/mid-sized ones also.
Next we have 'Shorebirds' - They use beaches, mudflats or rock-jetties. Sandpipers, plovers and others. They have long slender bills.
Finally, we have 'Upland Waterbirds' - such as 'Kingfishers', which plunge dive into water, and the 'Dipper', which probes the water.

Within the 'Aerialists', there are two groups:
  1. Brown Pelican, Frigatebird
  2. Gulls, Skimmer, Terns
For the 'Swimmers', there are also two groups:
  1. Anhinga, Cormorants, Geese, Loons, Swans, White Pelican
  2. Coot, Ducks, Grebes, Moorhen, Purple Gallinule
Next we have the 'Wading Birds' with two groups:
  1. Cranes, Herons, Ibises, Limpkin, Stork, Spoonbill
  2. Least Bittern, Rails
Then there are the 'Shorebirds', they have three groups:
  1. Avocet, Oystercatcher, Sandpipers (large), Stilt
  2. Sandpipers & Plover (medium)
  3. Sandpipers & Plover (small), Wilson's Phalarope
Last are the 'Upland Waterbirds', which have one group:
  1. Dipper, Kingfishers

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