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an order of sea birds. The ends of their beaks are bent into hooks. The nostrils open into special tubes on the beak (whence their second name, tube-nosed swimmers, Tubinares). The feet are webbed, the wings are long and sharp, and the plumage is thick and dense. The body length is from 15 cm (petrels) to 105 cm (albatrosses).
The birds fly and swim well, and certain species of Procellariiformes are good divers. Their peculiar wing structure allows them to soar for hours over the sea without a single wing movement. On land the birds (except for albatrosses) move with difficulty and remain on dry land only in the breeding period. During the rest of the year they make long migrations, such as around Antarctica or from subantarctic regions to the Bering Sea. They are monogamous. Small species begin to reproduce in their second or third year; the larger species, in their fifth to tenth year, after which they do so yearly. They nest in colonies, sometimes far from the sea. There is one egg per clutch. Albatrosses build nests, while other species lay their eggs on the ground, in burrows, or in fissures. Both parents brood. The chicks are blind and covered with thick down. The chicks of the smaller species stay in the nest about 60 days, while those of the albatross stay about six months. They get their food (marine invertebrates, fish, fishing offal) in the upper waters. Only some of the Procellariiformes (the Pelecanoides) are capable of diving.
There are 24 genera of Procellariiformes, uniting 94 species. They are distributed largely in the southern hemisphere. There are 13 species in the USSR, of which four nest. The fork-tailed petrel and Leach’s petrel (Oceanodrama furcata and O. leucorrhoa) nest in the Komandorskie Islands and Kuril Islands, Swinhoe’s petrel (O. monorhis) nests near Vladivostok, and the fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) nests on the shores of the Barents and Bering seas. Encountered during migrations are the Manx shearwater (Puffinus puffinus) in the Black and Azov seas and the slender-billed shearwater (P. tenuirostris), sooty shearwater (P. griseus), short-tailed albatross (Diomedea albatrus), and black-footed albatross (D. nigripes) in the Pacific.
REFERENCEPtitsy Sovetskogo Soiuza, vol. 2. Edited by G. P. Dement’ev and N. A. Gladkov. Moscow, 1951.
A. M. SUDILOVSKAIA