Bird of prey v Gull?

Whilst walking along Humber bank on Sunday I observed a pair of birds gliding, I thought they were pale breasted buzzards at first as they were similar size. one if the birds then accelerated and went after a rather large gull The bird of prey flight was similar to that of a pigeon (but faster). The gull dived towards the humber with the bird of prey hot on its heals trying to catch it in flight. Gull landed in water and bird of prey returned to partner. Any ideas? Only ever see marsh harriers and buzzards along the bank. 

  • Hi Shell
    I can't help with the ID I'm afraid, but that seems unusual behaviour to me, as I have only ever seen the gulls doing the chasing of birds of prey, both buzzards and kestrels harassed, that I've witnessed
  • Yes that’s why it caught my eye...very unusual behaviour,
  • Possibly a Peregrine Falcon. They can certainly take a Black Headed Gull.

    Unicum arbustum haud alit duos erithacos

    (One bush does not shelter two Robins)

    Zenodotus (3rd Century B.C.)


  • I think it depends upon circumstance. Any bird of prey may attack if it thinks it has the upper hand. Normally, with gulls this isn't the case as the raptor will be outnumbered and mobbed, but the gulls wouldn't mob them if they weren't a threat. So, if a lone gull strays to far away from its friends the raptor may well take the opportunity to give it a taste of its own medicine and chase it off. I think Buzzards will take gulls as prey if they can surprise one, especially smaller ones like Black-headed, but I'd say it would be a fairly rare occurrence.


    Nige   Flickr

  • Sounds like peregrine behaviour. Buzzards and harriers wouldn't waste time and energy trying to catch a fast moving bird.