Northern Fulmar Light Morph: Large gull-like bird with gray upperparts and white underparts, head, neck, and tail. Dark morph has uniformly dark gray body and paler primaries. Bill is short, thick, and yellow with a tube on top. Flight alternates stiff wing beats with periods of gliding and banking.
Range and Habitat
Northern Fulmar Light Morph: Breeds in Aleutians and on coasts and islands of Alaska and Canadian Arctic. Spends winters at sea, in Pacific Ocean south to California and in Atlantic south to North Carolina; also in northern Eurasia. Pelagic, only comes ashore to breed.
Most do not breed until they are at least 8 to 10 years old; one study found an individual that started breeding at age 20.
Nesting birds and chicks can eject an evil smelling stomach oil up to 6 feet, which repels unwanted visitors. It will matt the plumage of avian predators, and can lead to their death.
The Northern Fulmar is one of the longest-lived birds. In Scotland, several were banded as adults in 1951 and were still breeding in 1990, at ages likely greater than 50 years.
Two prehistoric species have been described from fossil bones found on the Pacific coast of California.