This stiff-winged patroller of the cliffs looks like a gull but is actually a petrel. Its spectacular expansion and increase in Britain can be put down to its habit of feeding on fish offal at trawlers.
This is a bird of the Arctic oceans and also the Northern parts of the Atlantic and the Pacific with the birds truly pelagic (right out at sea) outside the breeding season. These are tube-noses and quite big birds. They will cough up and squirt the oils from their stomach at intruders when they are on the nest.
The one egg is very large in comparison with the female's body mass. Blue morphs (greyer birds) are found further North - Southern birds are paler. Population estimate for Britain and Ireland 571,000 pairs.
Gull-like cliff nesting petrel.
Length 480 mm Closed wing 330 mm Weight 750 gms
A Bird On! Sketch by Chris Mead
Copyright © 1996 by Jacobi Jayne & Company and Chris Mead