The birds that have been most directly affected by the oil spill are colonial nesting waterbirds that were breeding when the spill happened, particularly birds who fed on fish by diving into the water. These species included the brown pelican and five species of terns. Other birds that are affected are the birds that breed in the coastal salt-marsh ecosystem; these species include herons, egrets, spoonbills, Clapper Rails, and Seaside Sparrows. Seabirds and migrant shorebirds were also affected.
As the other respondent said, the biggest threat for birds after the oil spill has been loss of habitat as the coastal areas are tainted by oil. The National Wildlife Federation published a list of the ten sites at the most immediate risk from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which included coastal tern habitat, marshes that support several plover species and rails, seashore habitat that provides a winter home for many migratory species such as plover and oystercatcher as well as pelicans, herons, and ibis, and sites for other shore birds such as gulls, frigatebirds, redhead, and scaup.
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