Birds in the Water
Posted: January 1, 2022
Birds fly. Fish swim. A toddler could tell you that! But birds fancy water too. Lots of birds do. Take a tour of some of the world’s water birds.
Shorebirds. Shorebirds live on . . . the shore! That might mean seashore, or inland shores like lakes and marshlands. These birds like to be near their food sources—crustaceans, tadpoles, worms, and bugs. The Creator equipped them with bills that can dig through mud or sand for prey. Examples: oystercatchers, plovers, sandpipers.
Seabirds. Seabirds get their food from farther out to sea. God gave them waterproof feathers and layers of fat to protect them from cold. Their bodies can even filter out extra salt from ocean water. Examples: albatross, puffins, frigatebirds, penguins.
Water birds also belong to groups with more scientific names. Do you recognize any birds from the following two families?
Ciconiiformes (pronounced SIC-oh-NEE-uh-FORM-ees) These graceful birds usually catch fish or amphibians with their long bills. God gave them legs suited to wading in water. They live all over the world. Examples: herons, storks, spoonbills. Are flamingos ciconiiformes? Most scientists today say yes. But for a long time, ornithologists (people who study birds) weren’t sure. Flamingos have webbed feet like anseriformes, but long legs for wading too. So scientists often put flamingos in a group all by themselves.
Anseriformes (pronounced ann-SER-uh-FORM-ees) For many of us, this class of birds is a little closer to home. Anseriformes have webbed feet and swim well. Examples: ducks, geese, swans.