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Length 60â€“76 cm, wingspan 135â€“170 cm, weight 1,800â€“3,300 g
 Similar Species
The western population leaves the breeding grounds in mid September to late October for wintering areas in Great Britain, mainly in eastern and southwestern Scotland (particularly early and late in the winter) and northern and eastern England (largest numbers in Lancashire, Northumberland, and Norfolk); rare in other parts of England, and also rare in Wales and Ireland. Return movement is mid-April to mid-May, peaking in late April.
The Svalbard population has tripled its size since the 1960s, and the Iceland - Greenland population nearly tenfold to 360,000 birds.
Breeds on tundra, rock outcrops or low cliffs. In winter feeds on grassland, stubble and crop fields close to estuaries, lakes and reservoirs for roosting.
Highly gregarious in winter, forming huge flocks of up to 60,000 or more; these making a spectacular (and deafening!) sight.
Breeds singly or in small or large loose colonies. They nest on the ground.
Year round have been quick to discover new resources when available, such as new green winter fields due to changes in agricultural habits and they seem also to expand their breeding areas in Svalbard as temperatures are increasing.
Call: wink, wink. Flocks call constantly in flight; more quiet (but not silent) when feeding.
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