garyyzf's picture

Bird skull

Observed: 11th November 2012 By: garyyzf
skull 1 dpp
skull 2 dpp
scull 4

Found this bird's skull on a beach on Holy Island. It must be a sea bird i think but no idea what. Can anybody help.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


nightfly's picture

Its a good one, as you say

Its a good one, as you say Ophrys, not gannet anyway. Its skull would be significantly bigger and its bill disintegrates into many plate like pieces anyhow. Adult gannet skull is huge.


nightfly's picture

I think you are right Ophrys

I think you are right Ophrys with Guillemot. I admit I thought there was too much height to the 'forehead' at first. I have an old stuffed one here. Its bill and skull combined are 11cm, not inc. feathers at the rear of the head (its a juvenile but virtually adult proportions).

The above skull is very very similar from both side view and above but I think the outer bill sheath is missing above as happens with many sea birds. The recognisable part of the bill which we are familiar with is lost from the skull. Basically the nostril is too close to the tip of the beak telling us the outer bill sheath is missing.

I put the tip of my finger against the forehead of this stuffed bird, underneath the feathers there is a rise behind the start of the bill that cannot be appreciated through the feathers, just like the skull above.


garyyzf's picture

Thank you guys

Thank You so much. I must say i never thought of a Guillemot but since ophrys identified it and looking at it now and the location it was found it does fit. As nightfly says it's difficult when the outer part of the bill is missing to make a id, but I'm sure that's it.
Once again thank you and well done.