Northern Fulmar is a common seabird found off both coasts of North America.
They are generally a cold-water species, breeding on rocky islands in the
Arctic, and using cold ocean waters for foraging at other seasons. The
southern Hemisphere counterpart, the Southern Fulmar, and the Northern
Fulmar are the only two members of the Fulmarus genus, although
they are closely related to another "tube-nosed" group of birds, the
Habitat: Breeds on rocky cliffs or steep rocky
slopes on islands in the Arctic. Outside of the breeding season, found in
cold water on the open ocean, often very far from land.
Diet: Feeds in a wide variety of sea creatures,
including fish, squid, small crustaceans such as shrimp and amphipods,
marine worms, fish eggs, carrion, and refuse from fishing ships and other
boats. Populations may have increased in recent decades as Northern
Fulmars have learned to follow fishing vessels and feed on scraps and waste
Behavior: Forages by either plunging down to the
water's surface when prey is spotted from flight, or by swimming on the
surface and grabbing items when spotted. May dive and swim short distances
underwater as they pursue prey.
Nesting: The nest of a Northern Fulmar is built on
a cliff ledge, or in a crevice or crack on a steep slope. When nesting
on a rocky area, no nest is built, but they will sometimes build a shallow
scrape nest when nesting in areas with sand or soil. The female lays
one eggs, and both the male and female will help to incubate it. Upon
hatching, both parents tend to and feed the youngster, with one bird
typically off foraging while the other protects it.
Song: At sea, foraging flocks of Northern Fulmars
make a series of laughing and grunting calls. On their breeding grounds they
have a loud cackling call.
Migration: Breeds in and around the Bering Sea,
and in the Arctic parts of northeastern Canada. They disperse widely
after breeding, with some birds staying far to the north, as far north as
the edge of the pack ice. Other birds will wander widely to sea, nd
southward as far as Mexico in the Pacific and the mid-Atlantic states in the
Most likely to be confused with large petrel species, but generally
distinctive in range.
Conservation Status: Northern Fulmars are very
common birds in much of their range, and populations have appeared to
increase substantially in the last century.
IUCN currently lists the Northern Fulmar as a species of "Least Concern".