RSPB Seabirds

Seabirds are the living links between land, air and sea. They enjoy a freedom that even humans, with all our technological assistance, can barely imagine. Many species travel mind-boggling distances across the length and breadth of our planet before returning to land to breed in large, deafening and confusingly crowded colonies. Yet within this commotion each mated pair forms a bond of extreme closeness and tenderness that survives separation each winter and may persist for decades.
The long and geologically varied coastline of the British Isles provides homes for internationally important numbers of breeding seabirds. Visiting their colonies is always unforgettable, whether they are cliff-faces packed with Guillemots, islands white-capped by clustered Gannets on their nests, flat beaches crowded with screaming Arctic Terns or seaside rooftops overlaid with a second townscape of nesting gulls. The changing fortunes of these seabird cities reveal to us the health of the vast, unseen but incredibly rich marine world that surrounds us.
RSPB Seabirds showcases some of our most exciting and enigmatic bird species as vital and living components of one of our greatest natural assets: our coastline. The author presents detailed biographies of all the seabird species that breed in and around the British Isles, and also looks at the many species that breed elsewhere but which, regularly or occasionally, visit British waters. Every page of this sumptuous book features beautiful photographs of wild seabirds engaged in their daily work of hunting, travelling, protecting themselves and their territories, courting and raising a family.

Table of Contents

Introduction 7
Seaducks 13
Eider 14
Common Scoter 20
Red-breasted Merganser 25
Other seaducks 28
Divers and grebes 35
Red-throated Diver 36
Black-throated Diver 40
Great Crested Grebe 42
Slavonian Grebe 46
Other divers and grebes 48
Tubenoses 53
Fulmar 54
Manx Shearwater 60
European Storm-petrel 66
Leach's Storm-petrel 71
Other tubenoses 75
Gannets, cormorants and relatives 83
Gannet 84
Cormorant 90
Shag 96
Other related species 102
Phalaropes 105
Grey Phalarope 106
Skuas 109
Arctic Skua 110
Great Skua 116
Other skuas 123
Gulls 127
Kittiwake 128
Mediterranean Gull 134
Black-headed Gull 136
Common Gull 140
Lesser Black-backed Gull 144
Herring Gull 150
Yellow-legged Gull 156
Great Black-backed Gull 158
Other gulls 164
Terns 173
Little Tern 174
Sandwich Tern 180
Roseate Tern 186
Common Tern 190
Arctic Tern 196
Other terns 202
Auks 207
Guillemot 208
Razorbill 214
Black Guillemot 220
Puffin 226
Other auks 232
Recommended reading 235
Bibliography 235
Acknowledgements 238
Photographic credits 238
Index 239