Singly or in small groups scavenging along coasts, especially harbours; rarely inland.
Voice - 'Meeu', a plaintive cry. When disturbed utters a 'kok-kok-kok'.
Breed on off-shore islands and at Swartklip and Rondevlei during spring and early summer, especially in October. Nests, a scrape in the soil lined with grass, feathers or twigs, containing 2 - 3 eggs varying in colour from light green to turquoise or ochre, with dark markings. Nests are sometimes found on unfrequented cliffs or flats.
Immatures initially mottled dark brown all over with paler barred rump (could be mistaken for a skua, but lacking white patches at primary bases); with age become paler, going through mottled brown and white stages with dark brown legs.
Adults have dark eyes and whitish-yellow feet.
Very common resident.
Common along the south-western Cape coast, in estuaries and on vleis that are not too far inland.