Seabirds

Arctic skua

Arctic skua

Stercorarius parasiticus

This is a dark coloured medium sized seabird, with two distinctive long feathers at the middle of the tail.  It is about the same size as a common gull, with white patches on its wing tips. Often seen flying low over the water before pursuing other seabi...

Black guillemot

Black guillemot

Cepphus grylie

Its striking black and white plumage and bright red feet make it easy to identify in summer. Unlike most other European auks the black guillemot is typically found in ones and twos, scattered around rocky islets. It is typical of the larger sea lochs ...

Gannet

Gannet

Morus bassanus

These are large to very large seabirds, with long, tapered bodies, long, angular, pointed wings, pointed tails and dagger-like, pointed bills. They feed by diving into the sea for fish. Only one species is regularly seen in the UK but a few other kinds...

Puffin

Puffin

Fratercula arctica

Scotland’s smallest and most distinctive breeding auk species with black upper parts and white under parts. Adults have a distinctive rainbow coloured deep bill as well as white cheeks and a conspicuous, clown-like black stripe down over each red-ri...

Arctic tern

Arctic tern

Sterna paradisaea

With its long tail streamers and general shape the Arctic tern deserves the local name of 'sea swallow'. Appearing white with a black cap, it is largely coastal although it can be seen inland on migration. It depends on a healthy marine environment and...

Great skua

Great skua

Catharacta skua

The great skua is an aggressive pirate of the seas, deliberately harrassing birds as large as gannets to steal a free meal. It also readily kills and eats smaller birds such as puffins. Great skuas show little fear of humans - anybody getting close to ...

Guillemot

Guillemot

Uria aalge

The UK's coasts have many stretches of sheer cliffs where seabirds breed and the guillemot is one of the most numerous birds in the great 'seabird cities'. It comes to land only to nest, spending the rest of its life at sea, where it is vulnerable to o...

Manx shearwater

Manx shearwater

Puffinus puffinus

A small shearwater, it has long straight slim wings, and is black above and white below. It flies with a series of rapid stiff-winged flaps followed by long glides on stiff straight wings over the surface of the sea, occasionally banking or 'shearing'....

Razorbill

Razorbill

Alca torda

The razorbill is a medium-sized seabird. It is black above and white below. It has a thick black beak which is deep and blunt, unlike the thinner bill of the similar guillemot. It breeds around the coast of the UK, with the largest colonies in northern...

Storm petrel

Hydrobates pelagicus

A little bigger than a sparrow it appears all black with a white rump. Its tail is not forked, unlike Leach's petrel. In flight it flutters over the water, feeding with its wings held up in a 'V' with feet pattering across the waves. At sea it often fe...