In August 2010, two cargo ships collided off the coast of Mumbai spilling around 400 tonnes of oil into the Arabian Sea.
This image from the mangroves of Navi Mumbai shows the plight of an oil-bathed Kentish Plover in an oil-soaked habitat that was the aftermath of the incident. Oil penetrates the plumage of birds, reducing its insulating and waterproofing properties. As a result, oil-soaked birds are more vulnerable to temperature fluctuations and are much less buoyant in the water. The oil also impairs flight, making it difficult or impossible to forage or escape from predators.
See this graphic on how oil-soaked wings can kill birds.
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Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'
Oil, even in small amounts, is deadly to birds and can have a lasting impact on a contaminated area's ecosystem and other wildlife.