Gannet

The Gannet, Morus bassanus, is large seabirds in the family Sulidae. Adults are white with black wingtips. They have a long neck, long pointed beak, long pointed tail, long pointed wings and an orange head.

Gannet

Gannets hunt fish by diving from a height of up to thirty metres into the sea and pursuing their prey underwater. They can reach speed of up to 100 kph when they strike the water and they have air sacs in their face and chest under their skin to cushion the impact.

Gannet

Gannets also have no external nostrils, which also helps them hunt underwater.

Gannet

They eat fish, fish and more fish. Their appetite led to the use of the word ‘Gannet’ being used as a derogatory term to describe humans who eat rather a lot or to excess.

Order: Suliformes
Family: Sulidae
Genus: Morus
Species: Morus bassanus (Northern Gannet), Morus capensis (Cape Gannet), Morus serrator (Australasian Gannet)

Godwit

Bar-tailed Godwit

Black-tailed Godwit

The Black-tailed Godwit, Limosa limosa, is a large, long-legged, long-billed (about 12cm) wading shorebird.

Black-tailed Godwit

In summer they have a bright orangey chest, belly, neck and head, in winter they’re more greyish-brown. Female black-tailed godwits are bigger and heavier than the males and have a longer beak.

They measures around 42 centimetres from bill to tail with a wingspan of 70–82 centimetres. Males weigh around 280 grams and females around 340 grams.

Godwits dine mainly on invertebrates and the odd aquatic plant, although in the breeding season their diet may also include beetles, flies, grasshoppers, dragonflies, mayflies, caterpillars and molluscs with the occasional meal of fish eggs, frogspawn and tadpoles.

Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Scolopacidae
Genus: Limosa
Species: L. limosa

Goldcrest

The Goldcrest, Regulus regulus, is a very small member of the kinglet family. It has greenish upper parts, whitish underside and has two white wingbars. It has a bright head crest, orange and yellow in the male and yellow in the female.

Goldcrest

The Goldcrest breeds in coniferous woodland and gardens, building its compact nest on a tree branch. Ten to twelve eggs are incubated by the female alone but the chicks are fed by both parents. The Goldcrest eats small spiders and other insects.

Goldcrest

Order: Passeriformes
Family: Regulidae
Genus: Regulus
Species: R. regulus

Goldfinch

The Goldfinch, Carduelis carduelis, is a colourful member of the Finch family,  Fringillidae, 12–13 cm long with a wingspan of 21–25 cm and weighing in at between 14 and 19 grams.

Goldfinch

The sexes are fairly similar, with a red face, black and white head, brown upperparts, white underparts with buff flanks and breast patches, and black and yellow wings. Male Goldfinches can often be distinguished by a larger, darker red mask that extends just behind the eye. In females, the red does not reach the eye. The bill is long and pointed, and the tail is forked.

Goldfinch, Dec29th

They are usually to be found where there are scattered bushes and trees, rough ground with thistles and other seeding plants.

Order: Passeriformes
Family: Fringillidae
Genus: Carduelis
Species: C. carduelis

Gonolek

Yellow-crowned Gonolek

Yellow-crowned Gonolek

Yellow-crowned Gonolek

Goose

Bar-headed Goose

Bar-headed Goose

Bar-headed Goose

Barnacle Goose

Barnacle Goose

Bean Goose

Bean Goose

Bean Goose

Brent Goose

The Brant or Brent Goose, Branta bernicla, is a species of goose of the genus Branta and is about the same size as a (normal) Mallard.

Brent Geese

It has a black head and neck and grey-brown back, and either a pale or dark belly depending on the race. Adults have a small white neck patch. The rump is and the tail is black and very short.

Brent Geese

Brent Geese eat vegetation, particularly grasses.

Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Subfamily: Anserinae
Tribe: Anserini
Genus: Branta
Species: B. bernicla

Canada Goose

The Canada Goose, Branta canadensis, is a wild goose belonging to the genus Branta, which is native to arctic and temperate regions of North America. It was introduced into Europe and is now considered a pest in many areas.

Canada Goose oddity

It has a black head and neck, white patches on the face and a brownish-grey body.

The Canada Goose ranges from 75 to 110 cm in length, has a wingspan of 127–185 cm and males usually weigh between 3.2 and 6.5 kilos. The sexes are almost identical except the female is slightly lighter in weight. Good luck weighing one!

Canada Geese

The Canada Goose eats mainly vegetation, such as roots, grass, leaves and seeds.

Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Subfamily: Anserinae
Tribe: Anserini
Genus: Branta
Species: B. canadensis

Egyptian Goose

The Egyptian Goose, Alopochen aegyptiacus, is a member of the family Anatidae and is in the shelduck subfamily Tadorninae. It is pale brown and grey with very distinctive dark brown eye-patches and has white wing patches in flight.

Egyptian Goose

It was originally introduced from the Nile valley into many areas as an ornamental wildfowl species. Naturally, many escaped into the wild and subsequently bred in large numbers. These large feral populations are considered a pest in many countries.

The Egyptian Goose mainly eats seeds, leaves, grasses, and plant stems but will also occasionally feast on locusts, worms or other small animals.

Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Subfamily: Tadorninae
Genus: Alopochen
Species: A. aegyptiacus

Greater Magellan Goose

Greater Magellan Goose

Greater Magellan Goose

Greylag Goose

The Greylag Goose, Anser anser, is a large bird and the ancestor of most domesticated geese in Europe and North America.

Greylag Goose

It has quite bulky body, a thick and long neck, and a large head and bill. It has pink legs and feet and an orange or pink bill.

The Greylag Goose grows up to to 91 centimetres in length with a wingspan of up to 48 centimetres. It is basically a greyish-brown with a darker head and palish belly with black spots. Its patterned appearance is due to the pale fringes of its feathers.

It eats grass, roots, cereal leaves and, if it can get it, grain.

Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Subfamily: Anserinae
Tribe: Anserini
Genus: Anser
Species: A. anser

Lesser Snow Goose

Lesser Snow Goose

Lesser White-fronted Goose

Lesser White-fronted Goose

Lesser White-fronted Goose

Magpie Goose

Magpie Goose

Nene

The Nene, also known as the Nēnē and Hawaiian Goose, Branta sandvicensis, is a species of goose endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. It evolved from the Canada Goose, Branta canadensis, which is thought to have migrated to the Hawaiian islands around half a million years ago.

Nene

The Nene is a threatened species, numbers dropping from an estimated 25,000 in 1778 to around 30 specimens in 1952. Fortunately, it breeds well in captivity and was reintroduced in 2004. There are now thought to be around 800 birds in the wild and about 1,000 in zoos, wildfowl collections and reserves.

Nene

Adult males, which grow to a height of around 41 centimetres, have a black head and hindneck, buff cheeks and heavily furrowed neck. The neck has black and white diagonal stripes. Apart from being smaller, the female Nene is similar to the male in colour. The adult’s bill, legs and feet are black.

The Nene eats leaves, seeds, fruit, and flowers of grasses and shrubs.

Family: Anatidae
Subfamily: Anserinae
Tribe: Anserini
Genus: Branta
Species: B. sandvicensis

Orinoco Goose

Orinoco Goose

Orinoco Goose

Red-breasted Goose

Red-breasted Goose

Red-breasted Goose

Red-breasted Goose

Richardson’s Canada Goose

Richardson's Canada Goose

Goshawk

Dark Chanting Goshawk

The Dark Chanting Goshawk, Melierax metabates, is a bird of prey in the family Accipitridae, which also includes a number of other raptors such as kites, eagles and harriers. It is a large, long-tailed, broad-winged hawk, with a wingspan of around 105 centimetres. It is slate-grey above and white with fine barring below and the tail is black and white.

Dark Chanting Goshawk

It is a resident species of tropical and subtropical savannah and builds a stick nest in a tree and lays one or two eggs.

Dark Chanting Goshawk

It eats a variety of vertebrate prey and large insects, often sitting on power lines to survey the scene.

Dark Chanting Goshawk

Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Genus: Melierax
Species: M. metabates

Gouldian Finch

The extremely colourful Gouldian Finch, Erythrura gouldiae, looks like it was fashioned out of patchwork. There are breeding populations all over the world but this finch is endemic to a fairly small area in Australia.

Gouldian Finch

The Gouldian Finch – also known as Lady Gouldian Finch, Gould’s Finch or, in America, the Rainbow Finch – is named after the wife of ornithological artist John Gould.

Gouldian Finch

Gouldian Finches are between 13 and 14 centimetres long and the heads can be red, black or yellow. Young birds have grey heads, sides and neck, and olive green backs, wings and tail feathers. Their beaks are blackish with a reddish tip.

Gouldian Finch

Newly-hatched, Gouldian Finches are pink and featherless until about 12 days old when the beginnings of feathers start to appear and very young birds have blue, phosphorescent beads on the sides of their beaks to help their parents see them in the dark.

Gouldian Finch

The Gouldian Finch is a threatened species in the wild.

These particular finches have the run of a large, tropical butterfly park in Benalmádena, Spain.

Order: Passeriformes
Family: Estrildidae
Genus: Erythrura
Species: E. gouldiae

Greenfinch

The Greenfinch or European Greenfinch, Carduelis chloris, is a small passerine bird in the finch family Fringillidae and resident populations are found throughout Europe, north Africa and south west Asia.

Greenfinch

You will find Greenfiches on the edge of woodland areas, in farmland hedges and in gardens.

The Greenfinch is about 15 centimetres in length, has a wingspan of between 24.5 and 27.5 centimetres, similar in size and shape to a House Sparrow. As the name implies, the Greenfinch is mainly green, with yellow in the wings and tail. The female and juveniles are a bit duller and have brown bits on the back. The bill is thick and conical.

Greenfinch

Greenfinches mainly eat seeds but will also dine on berries.

Order: Passeriformes
Family: Fringillidae
Genus: Carduelis
Species: C. chloris

Greenshank

Common Greenshank

Common Greenshank

Guillemot

The Guillemot, Uria aalge, also known as the Common Murre or Common Guillemot, is a seabird in the Auk family. It is dark brown and white with a white ring round the eye and a stripe behind it.

Guillemot

It is a diving bird, generally diving to depths of between 30 and 60 metres, although depths of up to 180 metres have apparently been recorded.

Guillemot

The Guillemot spends most of its life at sea, only coming to shore to nest and breed, and huge colonies can gather on cliffs.

The Guillemot eats fish and crustaceans.

Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Alcidae
Genus: Uria
Species: U. aalge

Gull

Black-headed Gull

Black-headed Gull,

Black-headed Gulls

Black-headed Gull

Common Gull

Common Gull

Common Gull

Glaucous Gull

The Glaucous Gull, Larus hyperboreus, is a large gull which breeds in the Arctic regions of the northern hemisphere and the Atlantic coasts of Europe. It is migratory, wintering in the North Atlantic and North Pacific oceans and as far south as the British Isles and northernmost states of the USA.

Immature Glaucous Gull

This is a large and powerful gull, pale and with white wing tips and tail. Adults are pale grey with a thick yellow bill. Juveniles are very pale grey with a pink and black bill.

Glaucous Gull at dusk

Glaucous gulls average 68 centimetres in length, have a wingspan of around 155 and can weigh up to 1.55 kilos.

Glaucous Gull stretching its wings at dusk

These gulls are omnivores and will eat fish, insects, molluscs, offal, eggs, small birds, small mammals and carrion as well as seeds, berries and grain – basically anything and everything, they don’t seem to be too fussy about what they eat.

Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Laridae
Genus: Larus
Species: L. hyperboreus

Grey-headed Gull

The Grey-headed Gull, Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus, is a smallish gull, slightly larger than the Black-headed Gull at around 42 centimetres in length, with a pale grey head, grey body and red bill and legs.

Grey-headed Gull, Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus

The black tips to the primary wing feathers have white mirrors. The underwing is dark grey with black wingtips. The grey hood disappears in winter, leaving just dark streaks.

The Grey-headed Gull takes two years to reach maturity, with first year birds having a black terminal tail band and more dark areas in the wings.

Grey-headed Gull, Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus

Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Laridae
Genus: Chroicocephalus
Species: C. cirrocephalus

Herring Gull

The Herring Gull, Larus argentatus, is a large, squawking gull found on coasts and inland around rubbish tips, fields, large reservoirs and lakes. It grows up to a length of around 66 cm.

Herring Gull

Adults have light grey backs, white under parts, and black wing tips with distinctive white ‘mirrors’. Their legs are pink, with webbed feet and they have slightly hooked bills marked with a red spot.

Juveniles are a mottled brown. Herring Gulls are scavengers and will eat almost anything and everything.

Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Laridae
Genus: Larus
Species: L. argentatus

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Lesser black-backed Gull

Lesser black-backed Gull

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Yellow-legged Gull

The Yellow-legged Gull, Larus michahellis, was, until fairly recently, considered to be a subspecies of the Herring Gull, Larus argentatus, but has now been granted ‘full species’ status. They breed all along the Mediterranean area.

Yellow-legged Gull, Almunecar

The adults are very similar to, and easily confused with Herring Gulls. They have a grey back, a bit darker than Herring Gulls but lighter than Lesser Black-backed Gulls and they have yellow legs. Like Herring Gulls, they have a red spot on the bill as adults.

Yellow-legged Gull

First-year Yellow-legged Gulls have a paler head, rump and underparts compared to Herring Gulls, and are more like first-year Great Black-backed Gulls, only adding to the possible confusion (and it doesn’t take much when I’m involved).

They have a dark bill and eyes, pinkish grey legs, dark flight feathers and a black band on the tail. By their second winter, they are essentially feathered like adults.

Yellow-legged Gull

Order: Charadriiformes
Family: Laridae
Genus: Larus
Species: L. michahellis