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Largest falcon in world spotted eating swan in Scottish islands

A Gyrfalcon
A Gyrfalcon

A rare visitor from Iceland – the largest falcon in the world – has turned-up in the Outer Hebrides, and is already feasting on local swans!

The Gyrfalcon is also causing a flock of twitchers to follow it from around the UK in its wake.

The juvenile Gyrfalcon is also set to have a visit from BBC’s Springwatch, who are interested in filming the bird.

It was seen on Friday at Loch na Reivil on North Uist and the hungry hunter has even been photographed feeding on a mute swan, believed to have been previously dead.

But Gyrfalcons are known to kill and eat geese.

The bird, rarely seen in the UK, has also been spotted on neighbouring South Uist and shows no signs of moving on.

The Gyrfalcon, or Falco rusticolus, is the largest of all falcon species and is normally found closest to Scotland in Iceland.

A Gyrfalcon first arrived in the Western Isles in 2010 when the Icelandic volcanic dust cloud is thought to have caused the stunning bird with a wingspan of over 5ft to seek shelter on the Isle of Lewis.

But this current visitor was only hatched last year.

The Gyrfalcon breeds on Arctic coasts and islands of North America, Europe and Asia. It is normally found in Iceland.

The only natural predator of Gyrfalcons are Golden Eagles and even they rarely engage with these formidable birds. Gyrfalcons that make it to adulthood can live up to 20 years of age.

In medieval times, the Gyrfalcon was considered the king’s bird. It was highly prized as far away as the Egyptian Sultan’s court.

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