Highlands & Islands

Rare visiting gyr falcon ruffles feathers in North Uist

Gyr falcon Image copyright Steve Duffield
Image caption The gyr falcon has been hunting geese and ducks

A bird of prey that should be a rare visitor to Scotland appears to have taken up residence in North Uist in the Western Isles.

The gyr falcon has spent four months so far on the island.

According to RSPB Scotland, the raptor has been making its presence felt by picking fights with resident birds of prey including a buzzard.

The falcon, believed to be a female, has also been hunting greylag geese and widgeon, a species of duck.

RSPB warden Stuart Taylor said: "Gyr falcons occur in three colour phases and the ones which arrive on the Western Isles are the whitest and come predominantly from Greenland.

"They are very much an arctic raptor which breeds on the tundra and mountains of the northern hemisphere.

"Most previous birds have spent up to a week or so on the islands, but the individual now residing on North Uist has been here for four months. It is very mobile however, disappearing for a day or two and then reappearing again."

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