World Surface Cover

The Worlds surface cover is 71% water and 29% land.

Water Cover.

The four major oceans are the Arctic, Pacific, Atlantic and Indian. The waters bordering Antarctica are sometimes called the Southern Ocean. The oceans can be further defined as to whetherthey are temperate or tropical. In seeking to define habitats which the birds use I have focussed on the way in which they the birds take their prey.

  • Plunge Divers - Island coasts or mainland coasts.
  • Hover and Dive.
  • Swim Pursuers.
  • Surface Feeders and scavengers - Skimmers, Phalaropes.

Land Cover.

Land cover can be further defined as:-

Barren or sparsely vegetated 40.1%

Exposed, soil, sand, rocks, desert, less than 10% cover. 12.3%
Snow an Ice - Greenland and Arctic islands, Antarctica. 10.6%
Scrubland – open areas with shrubs < 2 metres tall 17.2%

Grassland, croplands, parks, gardens and human habitation 24.5%

Less than 10% tree cover, eg Central Russia, African Savannah.

Woodland and forest. 34.4%

Needle leaf forest 4.0%
Broad leaf forest 10.4%
Mixed forest 4.1%
Woodland 15.9%

Wetlands 1.0%

Other Factors.

Influence of habitation and human activities.

Human beings have a profound effect on bird habitats. Habitation and cultivation offer opportunities which were not available in their original habitats so birds have evolved to take advantage of easy pickings. Many have become scavengers.