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Conservation status: Amber

Almost gull-like, this grey and white seabird is related to the albatrosses. It flies low over the sea on stiff wings, with shallow wingbeats, gliding and banking to show its white underparts then grey upperparts. At its breeding sites it will fly high up the cliff face, riding the updraughts. They will feed in flocks out at sea. They defend their nests from intruders by spitting out a foul-smelling oil.

Illustrations

Overview

Latin name

Fulmarus glacialis

Family

Petrels and shearwaters (Procellariidae)

Where to see them

Always offshore, except when breeding. Found near all suitable cliffs. Best looked for at seabird colonies - most abundant along Scottish coastline, especially on the Northern Isles. Least common along the east, south and north-west coasts of England.

When to see them

Present at the breeding sites nearly all year, although young birds leave in late summer. Can be most easily seen offshore, away from breeding areas, from August to November.

What they eat

Fish waste and crustaceans.

Population

EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-504,756 pairs1.6-1.8 million birds-

Distribution

Key

In the UK
Around all UK coasts

Similar birds

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