Habitat: The Storm Petrel nests on rocky islands and steep cliffs in burrows and crevices. In Winter they are found far out at sea south of the main breeding range.
Habits: Small size, fluttering, flight and habit of picking food from the surface without alighting make them easy to indentify.
Habitat and distribution: Breeds in sometimes-huge colonies on grassy cliffs and islands where burrows are excavated. Some nesting material is used and a single egg is laid. More numerous in the far northern colonies but there have been huge decline in some areas.
Habits: Dives for fish. Especially Sand Eels and can carry several fish at once due to serrated bill. At the breeding colony large numbers may gather in the evenings outside their burrows then suddenly disappear below ground. In Winter birds may be confused with Razorbills.
Characteristics: It is the largest seabird of the area. The Gannet is gracefully black and white, with a pointed head and tail and long rather narrow black tipped wings.
Habitat: Gannets breed on rocky islands and steep mainland cliffs, in huge colonies. Large colonies are home to 70% of the world’s gannets, with half of the whole population in just 5 sites- St.Kilda, Bass Rock, Ailsa Craig in Scotland, Grassholm in Wales, & little Skelligs in Ireland. Gannets were 1st mentioned as being on the skellig in 1700, in what was described as “incredible numbers”. The estimated population of these birds on the little Skellig is in the region of 20,000 pairs.
Habits: Gannets dive steeply into the sea from great height to capture their prey, which usually consists of large fish including Herring and Mackerel. At the breeding colony they are noisy and aggressive at intruders.
Habitat: Breeds on rocky coasts, nesting in large, noisy colonies on steep cliffs and disperse over the Atlantic, North Sea and Western Mediterranean in Winter.
Habits: Kittiwakes feed on the open sea on small surface- feeding fish and offal they pick from the surface. They make a far- carrying ” Kitti-wake” call incessantly at the breeding colony.
Habitat: Common on shingle shores and rocky islands. Often nests in mixed colonies with the Common Tern. Migrate south in the Winter.
Habits: Dives for fish from the air but will also eat small crustaceans and insects from the surface of the water. Will pursue insects in flight.
Habitat: Guillemots breed on inaccessible cliffs on rocket coasts and islands, with some colonies containing thousands of birds. In Winter, most of them go far out to sea, occasionally inshore in bad weather.
Habits: Guillemots dive for fish from the surface, they also swim well under water using their wings. They often sit upright on the nesting ledges.
Habitat: Breeds commonly on the coasts of Northern Britain, Baltic and Scandinavia, and migrates south and west for the Winter.
Habits: May feed some distance from the sea, taking insects and soil invertebrates on farmland; also feeds at sea usually in noisy flocks.
Habitat: A common breeding bird on freshwater and marshes. Often nests in large colonies. Disperses over the oceans and inland waterways in Winter.
Habits: A noisy and gregarious gull feeding on a wide variety of foods.
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Habitat: The bird can be found in coastal meadows, dunes, on shingle banks, small islands and rock ledges during breeding season. In some cases they can be found on buildings. Outside their breeding season they are usually found on the coast, but also on inland water and rubbish tips.
Habit: Tend to remain fairly local. They have developed more of a liking to refuse tips, sewage outlets and fish quays: in fact anywhere which provides rich pickings.
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Habitat: The bird breeds on low-lying coasts and islands, usually with higher vegetation than herring Gull, also on inland moors and bogs. Outside the breeding season they can be mainly found on the coast, but also regulars on inland lakes. Hunts over open sea but can be found over rubbish tips. Their call is similar to herring Gulls, but slightly deeper in pitch.
Habits: These birds can be interbreed width the herring gull. However it normally behaves as a good species, with differences in habitat, behaviour, leg, beak and back colour.
Greater Black Back Gull
Habitat: Breeds on rocky coasts and islands. Found with other nesting seabirds but in the Winter may disperse widely sometimes gong inland to join other gulls
Habits: Able to consume quite large prey such as nesting auks or rabbits and often their solitary nests are littered with bones of their prey.
Habitat: Common around all coasts with nesting ledges. In Winter the Fulmars disperse over the sea often following fishing boats fro discarded fish scraps.
Habits: Intruders to the nest are attacked with a vile-smelling oil which the Fulmar spit at them. The birds may also spend hours gliding past a possible nesting ledge trying to land on it, only to be repelled by other birds.
Habitat: Breeds on rocky cliffs and islands forming quite large colonies, in suitable areas.
Habits: Dives for fish from the surface, and swims well undersea using wings as flippers.
Habitat: Common visitor to Ireland during the Summer months. Fishes further out to sea than other Terns and is seldom seen inland. Winters in Africa and Eastern Mediterranean
Habits: Usually the first of the terns to arrive in the spring Dives for fish and sand eels are a favourite.
Habitat: Nests around the coast on rocky islands and cliffs but also on man made buildings. In Winter they disperse around the coast moving inland to estuaries and large lakes.
Habits: Spends much of its time sitting on posts or buoys over the water, often with wings outstretched. Dives from the surface for fish, sometimes known as ducky divers.
Habitat: These birds nest on rocky islands on the western coasts in deep burrows sometimes on cliffs high above the sea.
Habits: Shearwaters catch their food on the surface of the sea sometimes making shallow dives. Fishing trips sometimes takes them far out to see for days but they can navigate back to their burrows on the cliff face easily.
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