Great Skuas and great black-backed gulls

As a sequel to the RSPB’s gannet and puffin cruises off Bempton Cliffs, Yorkshire, yesterday, we took a ‘migration cruise’ in the hope of seeing some rarer seabirds running south down Yorkshire’s coastline.  We were three hours at sea and saw little of interest until the last half hour when, attracted by great black-backed gulls (the largest gulls in the world, I believe) and the occasional herring gull following the boat, two juvenile great skuas (bonxies) turned up.  Bonxies are kleptoparasitic birds which, in plain language, means they rob others of their catch.  Smaller than the great black-backed and about the same size as a herring gull, they are fearless and very aggressive, attacking and sometimes killing the larger birds in order to relieve them of their meal.  Here are a few images of both, including some pursuits and altercations between these two species.  The bonxies are the brown ones.  The brownish gulls with black bills are juvenile great black-backed.

Posted Under

438A9736_web
CN7Q3076_web
CN7Q3091_web
CN7Q3112_web
CN7Q3174_web
CN7Q3181_web
CN7Q3209_web
CN7Q3213_web
CN7Q3220_web
CN7Q3235_web
CN7Q3244_web
CN7Q3245_web
CN7Q3252_web
CN7Q3260_web
CN7Q3295_web
CN7Q3299_web
CN7Q3324_web
CN7Q3330_web

Click Image to Enlarge