The term ‘water birds’ often means birds that are ecologically dependent on water habitats in some part of their life. There are 5 families that we can divide them into:
1. Waterfowl Birds:
There are about 150 species of waterfowl species worldwide. Ducks, geese and swans, are the most known species of this order. As a whole, waterfowl species travel a very long distances, from their breeding grounds to their wintering grounds. Once birds reach adulthood, they start to complete replacement of their feathers at least once a year. Common sources of mortality for the birds are animal predators, human predators and diseases. The life span varies from species to species but it ranges from 11 -23 years.
Even though they are not a good fliers, members of the rail bird species have landed and nested throughout the whole planet, even colonizing many oceanic islands. They are often secretive, feeding in primarily fresh waters. The most common bird is the marsh wren, Cistothorus palustris. Besides wren there is seaside sparrow, Ammodramus maritimus, a small bird with a yellow stripe over the eye, and Rallus longirostris, also known as a marsh hen.
They can be found along shores of rivers, lakes and oceans. The characteristics of all shorebirds are: long legs, bills and toes. Many species traverse more than 15,000 miles in this annual circuit. This bird family include sandpipers, oystercatchers, godwits, stilts, plovers among others. They lay 2 to 4 eggs in the nest which is made on the ground. When the youngs hatch they stay on the ground untill they learn how to fly. Both parents contribute to the raising of the young.
4. Wading Birds:
Wading birds are found throughout the world on every continent except Antarctica. Principally feeding by wading in fresh or brackish waters; though more species tend to favor freshwater habitats. All wading birds have long, thin legs and long toes. Their long, agile necks have posture which may change the shape of their neck. As they are animals that enjoy being in a group they will form breeding rookeries. The examples are: Cranes, Egrets, Flamingos, Herons, Ibises, Rails, Spoonbills, Storks.. While most species of waders prefer habitats where is a lot water area some of them, like cranes, are found in areas where can be very low water amount.
Primarily feeding in open ocean; often colonial. The most of these bird families are pelagic( rather than staying near coastal areas or islands, they roam far out to sea). Many seabird species may spend years at sea without ever returning to land, except when they mate and raise their young. They are well adapted to life in a sea, because of their physical adaptations that gives them an ability to live out in the sea.
Video by: Jean Iron
As they have more feathers on their body than other birds, their feathers is very waterproof. The most known seabird species are: Fulmars, Skuas, Gulls, Terns and Auks.