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Fulmar

Fulmar - http://www.flickr.com/photos/gordiesbirdies/

The Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis), lives in the north Atlantic and north Pacific. These fulmars look superficially like gulls, but are unrelated, and are in fact petrels.

DescriptionEdit

The Fulmar has a wingspan of 102–112 cm (40–44 in) and is 46 cm (18 in). The species is grey and white with a pale yellow, thick, bill and bluish legs; however there is both a light morph and dark morph.

Like other petrels, their walking ability is limited, but they are strong fliers, with a stiff wing action quite unlike the gulls. They look bull-necked compared to gulls, and have short stubby bills. They are long-lived, with a lifespan of 31 years not uncommon.

BehaviorEdit

FeedingEdit

This Fulmar will feed on shrimp, fish, squid, plankton, jellyfish, and carrion, as well as refuse. When eating fish, they will dive up to several feet deep to retrieve their prey.

BreedingEdit

The Fulmar starts breeding at between six and twelve years old. It is monogamous, and forms long term pair bonds. It returns to the same nest site year after year. Breeding season starts in May, however, the female has glands that store sperm to allow weeks to pass after copulation to the laying of the egg. Their nest is a scrape on a grassy ledge or a saucer of vegetation on the ground, lined with softer material. The birds nest in large colonies. Recently, they have started nesting on rooftops and buildings. Both sexes are involved in the nest building process.A single white egg, 61 mm (2.40 in) in size, is incubated for a period of 50 to 54 days, by both sexes. The altricial chick is brooded for 2 weeks and fully fledges after 70 to 75 days. Again, both sexes are involved. During this period, the parents are nocturnal, and won't even be active on well-lit nights.


Fulmars historically bred on St. Kilda, and spread into northern Scotland in the 19th century, and to the rest of the United Kingdom by 1930. For example, establishment of colonies at the Fowlsheugh Reserve in Scotland was one of the first areas to be developed for new permanent Fulmar breeding areas.

Social behaviorEdit

The mating ritual of this Fulmar consists of the female resting on a ledge and the male landing with his bill open and his head back. He commences to wave his head side to side and up and down while calling.


They make grunting and chuckling sounds while eating and guttural calls during the breeding season.

GalleryEdit

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