Gavia stellata

Range & Status

Holarctic; in Britain and Ireland 1200 breeding pairs (Scotland, Northern Ireland); 4850 in winter.

Regional Distribution

Cornwall: winter visitor and passage migrant in small numbers, with peak totals of some 100 birds from January to March. Chief sites are Trevose Head/Harlyn Bay, Newquay, Hell' s Mouth and Seaton. It is a scarce visitor to Isles of Scilly.

Habitat & Ecology

Occurs in shallow, sandy bays, chiefly along the north Cornwall coast.


Inshore fishing (monofilament nets) and oil pollution.


Monitoring of winter numbers. Protected under Schedule 1 of Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and Annexe 1 of European Union Conservation of Wild Birds Directive. Listed (long list) as a globally threatened/declining species (BSGR, 1995).