What are Pelagic Birds?

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What are Pelagic Birds? Blog Image


Birdwatchers and enthusiasts of Gujarat have recently reported sightings of Pelagic birds, in places not typically associated with their presence.

About Pelagic Birds:

  • These are seabirds that live on open seas and oceans rather than inland or around more restricted waters such as lakes and rivers.
  • They can be found thousands of miles offshore but can get blown onto land during high winds and storms.  
  • The only other time they come inland is to breed.
  • The most familiar types of pelagic birds include albatrosses, frigatebirds, fulmars, petrels, shearwaters, and tropicbirds.


  • They feed on planktonic crustaceans, squid and hunt fish far from the land.
  • Generally, they have dense, waterproof feathers and layers of fat to keep them warm. 
  • They have exceptionally long and thin wings that allow them to fly effortlessly for long periods without rest.
  • Many pelagic birds have special salt glands. This allows them to drink seawater and discard extra salt accidentally ingested with their oceanic prey.
  • Some have webbed or partially webbed feet for swimming, plucking fish from the shallows, or executing precise, plunging dives. 
  • In general, seabirds live longer than other wild birds; most have an average lifespan of 50 years.
  • Almost all seabirds live in colonies, migrate annually, and mate for life.


Q) What is meant by Pelagic?

Anything pelagic has something to do with the ocean, especially the open area far from the shore. Pelagic birds and fish — like tuna, jellyfish, and the Atlantic puffin — live in the open ocean.

Source: Birders catch rare glimpse of seabirds in onshore regions of Gujarat