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Northern Fulmar

Silhouette SeabirdsSeabirds
Northern FulmarFulmarus glacialis
  • ORDER: Procellariiformes
  • FAMILY: Procellariidae

Basic Description

The gray-and-white Northern Fulmar looks like a gull, but its stiff-winged flight and swift glides, not to mention the nostril tubes on its bill, mark it as a relative of petrels and albatrosses. These stout-bodied seabirds are abundant in the bitterly cold northern Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans, where they feed over deep waters. They use their powerful sense of smell to sniff out fish, squid, and crustaceans. After a short breeding season at colonies on steep cliffs, they return to the open ocean for the rest of the year.

More ID Info
image of range map for Northern FulmarRange map provided by Birds of the WorldExplore Maps

Find This Bird

The easiest places to see breeding fulmars are probably in the U.K., Iceland, or Alaska—it's worth a trip to see thousands of these birds flying to and from their cliff nests. The rest of the year you'll likely need to take a trip offshore to see them, such as a ferry ride, a whale-watching trip, or a dedicated pelagic birding trip. They may also be visible from land at select seawatching spots such as Race Point or Andrews Point in Massachusetts.

Other Names

  • Fulmar Boreal (Spanish)
  • Fulmar boréal (French)
  • Cool Facts

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