Black Winged Stilt. Photo by dfm63
What are the tubes on seabirds for?
function of the tubes on Procellariiformes
as you may or may not have noticed several species of seabirds like albatrosses, petrels, fulmars and shearwaters all have tubes on their bills called narnicorns. These tubes earned the order their name tubenoses but what function do they serve? It turns out that these tubes help the birds remove salt from their systems by forming a saline solution which is either dripped or ejected through the nostril. Procellariiformes also have a tubular nasal passage which helps the birds smell prey in the open ocean.
Cool! I remember learning that in Ornithology class, but I totally forgot since then.
(photos by turk images)