Situated in the dry-highland region of the Simpson Desert of Australia, emu birds can fly and run at speeds up to 70 kilometres per hour. At the same time, these clumsy birds can be almost as fast as a galloping horse in a brisk gallop - making them one of the most versatile large birds on the planet.
A thousand kilometres southeast of the Arctic Circle, Povlssons gulls breed around the small fishing village of Tärnaby on the shores of Lake Mälaren in Sweden. Here, pairs of gulls nest on the cliffs surrounding the bay, where their young feed on fish they catch in the brackish water around the island. This is a prime location for young seabirds, and it ensures that their parents can bring them up strong and healthy. The adults even have unique names, such as Gullman and Gullmogge.
Breeding pairs of black-browed albatrosses (Thalassarche melitensis) first spotted by Europeans in New Zealand will return from their summer nesting grounds to breed on the sandy beaches of Macquarie Island. The entire population of Thalassarches is now protected by Australia's conservation laws. They are the world's largest petrel, and indeed one of the worlds largest birds, as well as one of the loudest. These regal, almost golden-brown-coloured birds sport enormous bicoloured plumage, with head feathers that are almost bare and a long, down-curved bill.
In 2008, three specimens of the southern giant petrel were sighted on the Coghlan Islands in the U.S. state of Alaska. In 2009, many images of the bird appeared on the web. Up to that point, the bird had only been seen on a dozen other islands in the chain - as well as the southern tip of Argentina. Unfortunately, the birds were only photographed and not seen; but they can now be considered a record of the true southern ocean.