The seabirds of Brittany

Learn to recognize them!

In Brittany, the diversity of seabirds is exceptional and offers a real show. We suggest a little game to spice up your vacations on the Breton coast. Are you ready to take up the challenge and learn to recognize six of the most emblematic seabirds of the Breton coastline? May the best observer win!

The seagull, the cormorant and the gull: who is who?

In South Finistère, three seabirds are particularly emblematic: the gull, the cormorant and the gull. You may wonder how to tell them apart?

The gull: The gull is a medium-sized bird, with white and gray plumage, and webbed feet. There are several species of gulls, but the most common in South Finistère is the black-headed gull. It is aptly named, for its cry resembles a joyful laugh!

Gull: The gull resembles the seagull, but is slightly larger and has a stronger beak. In South Finistère, the most common gull is the herring gull. Gulls are very smart and can even learn to open garbage bags to find food!

Cormorant: The cormorant is a larger bird than the gull, with black plumage and webbed feet. It is a champion of fishing: it can dive up to 30 meters deep to catch fish! It is easily recognized: after fishing, it spreads its wings to dry them in the sun, it does not go unnoticed!

Other incredible birds to discover

There are so many other birds to see in South Finistère, such as the peregrine falcon, the oystercatcher, the ring-necked gravelot, the tern, the bank swallow and the sea pipit. Each species has its own particularities and secrets to reveal:

  1. The peregrine falcon: The king of the sky with its swooping speed of up to 186 km/h! You will recognize it by its pointed wings and its hooked beak. A real fighter pilot!
  2. TheMagpie Oystercatcher: Black and white like a piano, it feeds mainly on shellfish. This little bird has a super powerful red beak that allows it to open mussels and oysters.
  3. Interrupted Ring-necked Plover: It usually nests directly on the top of the beaches. It is a protected species that migrates to West Africa during the summer. If you walk on the dunes, be careful to stay on the paths, so as not to disturb the nests (there are usually two clutches between mid-April and late July).
  4. The tern: The queen of the dives! She dives into the water to catch small fish. Its wings are long and thin, perfect for gliding and splitting the air. It nests in colonies on small islands.
  5. Bank Swallow: It builds cave-like nests in the cliffs. In flight, it looks like an arrow with its forked tail.
  6. The maritime pipit: It is discreet and is easily confused with the pebbles, or the heaps of algae in which it seeks its meal. If you hear him singing, you’ll know it’s him, he’s defending his territory with little dry calls!

To learn more about the seabirds of Brittany

We advise you to visit theAquashow in Audierne, where you can observe them up close and learn even more about them.

If you prefer to read, the book“Oiseaux de Bretagne” by François de Beaulieu published by Glénat is an excellent resource that you can find in local bookstores. Finally, don’t hesitate to support the
League for the Protection of Birds
which works to preserve these species and their habitat.

Open your eyes and ears wide. Don’t forget to respect nature and the birds you will meet: don’t disturb them, don’t feed them and don’t leave any waste behind.

If you’re looking for more things to do with the kids, check out our list of 30+ family activity ideas.

Book your holidays in southern Finistère!

4* campsite with direct access to the beach between Fouesnant and Concarneau.