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Different island areas see particular seabirds coming in to nest in burrows created in crevices in rocks or cliffs, old rabbit burrows in soil, or burrows they dig out themselves. Mediterranean and Cory’s Shearwaters, for example, prefer the Mediterranean, while Manx Shearwaters nest around Britain and Ireland; Black Guillemots and Arctic Terns prefer to nest on low, rocky islets, while Shags and Cormorants like broad ledges on larger cliffs. CLIFF NEST Cliff ledges are out of reach of predators, so attract seabirds.

32 Harder beaches, which are made up of sand and gravel, are not as good as soft mud for long-billed, probing waders. However, these beaches are used by short-billed waders, such as plovers, that can pick food from the surface or from between stones. Seaweed and other debris washed up at high tide form a “tidewrack” or strandline, along which other birds, including some land birds such as Starlings, can feed on tiny sand hoppers and other small creatures. SWEEPING AVOCET An Avocet sweeps its upcurved bill sideways through shallow water, catching tiny crustaceans.

This may allow them to live close together without competing against each other. Alternatively, it may mean that species remain apart, each inhabiting an area that meets its particular requirements. STUNNING PEAKS High mountain peaks with deep gorges and shady valleys have a great range of birds of prey, many of which nest lower down but move up each day to hunt over high ground. Cliff faces have their own unique birds – some move out to feed on high-altitude grassy meadows. 40 COASTAL CLIFFS Several mountain birds also breed on crags by the sea that offer safe nesting sites.

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COMPLETE BIRDS OF BRITAINAND EUROPE by Hume


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