Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Grey-headed Albatross

Mollymawks are a type of albatross that belong to the Diomedeidae family and come from the Procellariiformes order, along with shearwaters, fulmars, storm-petrels, and diving-petrels. They share certain identifying features. First, they have nasal passages that attach to the upper bill called naricorns. Although the nostrils on the Albatross are on the sides of the bill. The bills of Procellariiformes are also unique in that they are split into between 7 and 9 horny plates.

Finally, they produce a stomach oil made up of wax esters and triglycerides that is stored in the proventriculus. This is used against predators as well as an energy rich food source for chicks and for the adults during their long flights. They also have a salt gland that is situated above the nasal passage and helps desalinate their bodies, due to the high amount of ocean water that they imbibe. It excretes a concentrated brine from the nostrils.

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