Thursday, April 12, 2012

Swallow-tailed Gull

Creagrus furcatus
Where I live we have heaps of Seagulls, Canadian Geese, and Pigeons. They're everywhere to the point that most people don't consider them to be especially remarkable. But of course, every animal is awesome in their own way, and even if you disagree, they still probably have really cool cousins (like every single Pigeon from New Guinea).

Case in point- today's animal, the Swallow-tailed Gull. This Seagull is found only on the Galapagos Islands, and it is unusual and unique among all of the Gulls because of its feeding habits.

Most Seagulls feed during the daytime, but not the Swallow-tailed Gull! They forage nocturnally for fish and squid. Because they hunt at night, they avoid being the victims of Kleptoparasitism (one of my favorite words!) Other Seabirds, like Frigatebirds, will steal food from hunting Gulls. Swallow-tailed Gulls don't have this issue, as the Frigatebirds practice their piracy during the daytime. The Gulls have even adapted eyes that allow them to see better in the dark.

Swallow-tailed Gulls live in very large seaside colonies, and they even build their nests on the cliff using twigs, corals, and even sea urchins to build their nests. They only lay one egg each season, which is also a relatively unique trait among Gulls, and both parents incubate and feed the chick until it leaves the nest 3-4 months later. Breeding pairs often stay together year after year.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Galapagos Islands
Size : Body length up to 22in (56cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Charadriiformes
Family : Laridae -- Genus : Creagrus -- Species : C. furcatus

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful bird! And it's really neat that they are nocturnal, i never knew that any gull species were nocturnal.

    ReplyDelete

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