Some coastal birds are resident in the UK throughout the year. Others arrive either in the summer to breed or in the winter, when they may be seen feeding in large flocks. The winter coastal birds guide features some of the birds you may see around the UK coastline in the winter. Illustrations show birds in their adult winter plumage. There are separate images for males, females and juveniles where helpful. Accompanying text on the reverse side covers body size, months present, winter activity and key identification characters for each species.
The coastline of Britain and Ireland supplies a rich source of food for seabirds. Terns and the cliff nesting birds such as guillemots plunge into the water after sand eels and small fish. Larger birds like gannets will even catch herring and mackerel. The long bills of waders such as oystercatchers and redshanks are ideal for probing the sand and mud for marine worms and cockles. Rockpools and rocky shores provide an abundance of molluscs such as mussels and winkles. Sand dunes and shingle supply a rich source of insects and other invertebrates. Gulls in particular are very opportunist scavengers and will eat carrion and takeaway waste.