Coastal bird of prey

I was wlaking on the coast path near my home in Cornwall this morning when i saw a large bird a little smaller than a buzzard, flying around the cliffs. as it flew it performed a roll every few minutes and made a clicking sound as it rolled. I've never seen naything like it before. What can it be?

  • Afternoon Kevan.
    Was the bird black or did it appear very dark?

    Best regards -
  • I suspect Dave was thinking of a Raven. They are only a little smaller than a Buzzard and are known for "tumbling".



    My Flickr Photostream 

  • In reply to TeeJay:

    Correct TJ. The only bird I've seen do that.

    Best regards -
  • In reply to Dave - CH:

    Interesting, as I have never seen them tumble,so googled and discovered this.

    "Although Ravens can be seen at the Tower of London, it is not very common for Ravens to live in the centre of a city. Ravens often live in parks or in natural spaces not too far away from cities. Most Ravens prefer to live in wooded areas that have large open land nearby. They also like to live near sea cliffs, mountains and moorland.

    Ravens are often seen in pairs throughout the year. They can also be seen flying in small flocks. These flocks are usually family groups which stay together for many years. When Ravens fly in flocks, they look very aerobatic as they chase each other and tumble together in the air. Sometimes they dive or free fall from the sky to land on a chosen sight, but most times they seem to do it just for fun!

    Ravens tend to fly quite slowly, but they still manage to look very powerful and majestic in the air. Ravens love to glide and soar high up in the air without flapping their wings. Sometimes they turn over on their backs while flying. A Raven can fly upside down in the air as far as one kilometre!"


  • In reply to SunnyKate2:

    Wow. Kate.

    Never seen that long-distance upside down flying, but somersaults are, here at least, common, often preceded by a folding of the wings. Don't see it much in late autumn/early winter, but at other times of the year it's a regular sight here.

    Re the reference to 'small flocks', while that may be accurate, we once saw a group of seventy (70) up at Wasserscheide over Interlaken---our regular spot for watching southbound migration. Kept the resident Golden Eagles on their toes.

    Best regards -

    PS. I bet Kevan's coastal raptor wasn't black after all...
  • The 'somersaults' are, of course, spins from flying right-way-up to upside-down to right-way-up. Not beak-over-tail things.
    There was in interesting report in a Bristol local some years ago, written by (if I remember correctly) a local biologist, about Ravens tobogganing down snowy rooves on their backs. For fun.
  • We are truly blessed ,to discover/see so many interesting facts, about our fellow creatures,when we take time to really look and listen,also read ,the knowledge,that so many participants impart, just ,on this forum alone.

    I think I recall that article re 'tobogganing' CHOL:):)


  • Many thanks to Everyone--all of it is very interesting.

    Kind regards, 


  • So, Kevan, any thoughts on your bird's colour? And have you, maybe, seen it again since?

    Best regards -
  • In reply to Dave - CH:

    Thank you Dave, It was a dark colour, possibly black, I didn't have my binoculars or my glasses on unfortunately.