Fulmars and Petrels (Procellariidae)

Fulmars are large, gull-like birds that inhabit the open ocean. Some members of this family are noted for nesting in holes, a habit uncommon among birds. The name fulmar - meaning “foul gull” - comes from this bird’s habit of ejecting smelly stomach oil when its nest is approached, as a defense against predators. Fulmars are distinguished from gulls by their shorter, narrower wings and smaller tails. Members of this family have external nostrils encased in a tube at the upper base of their bills; these contain glands which help to excrete excess salt. Fulmars have a characteristic flight pattern, gliding with stiff wings just above the waves. They have a wingspan of more than a metre as adults, and weigh about 1 kg.