Seabirds are the all-terrain vehicles of the avian world: they fly, they float, they swim and they dive. But some seabirds also come standard with more exotic features like airbags, night vision and a self-defense system that’s both disgusting and potentially deadly.
For humans and birds alike, hitting the ocean at high speed can mean two nostrils uncomfortably stuffed with saltwater. To get around this issue, gannets breathe through thin slits located where the upper jaw meets the head. These slits are covered by a flap of hard tissue that closes when the bird dives.
A high-diving lifestyle also comes with the additional risks of sore muscles or even a broken neck. So gannets come equipped with “airbags,” extensions of their respiratory system that cushion their bodies when they hit the water.
shared via and to learn more: oceana.org/blog/4-extreme-adaptations-make-seabirds-masters-sea-and-sky
article: Allison Guy
photo: Artush / Shutterstock