'Seabirds' is a collective term that refers to those bird species which spend a large part of their life feeding and breeding in the marine environment. Seabirds include gulls, terns, albatrosses, petrels, shearwaters or mutton birds, cormorants, gannets and boobies.
Seabirds spend most of their lives looking for food flying above the ocean. Their diet consists mostly of squid, fish and krill. Most of them are excellent flyers and some, like the albatross, can cover enormous distances.
One of the most common seabirds in Australia is the silver gull, which can be found all around the country. Unlike other species that are being negatively affected by human activity, silver gulls are thriving because they are quite adaptable and opportunistic.
Other seabirds are facing significant threats to their survival. These threats include pollution, feral and domestic animals and coastal developments which affect seabird breeding habitats. Another threat is longline fishing. This fishing method uses a line that can be up to 100 kilometres long with many baited hooks. Every year thousands of seabirds ingest hooks from these lines and are killed by drowning.
Seabirds in NSW
At almost every headland and coastal national park, you are likely to come across certain species of native seabirds. Some popular sites include Taren Point in Botany Bay, the Hunter Estuary on the Central Coast, as well as Murramarang National Park on the South Coast.