The RSPB has urged the public to take care when disposing of plastic bags.

The charity warned against careless disposal after a red-throated diver was spotted with a plastic bag in its beak.

RSPB Scotland spoke out after a visiter to the Outer Herbrides photographed the bird carrying a plastic bag in its beak.

The bird was seen on a loch in a remote part of North Uist.

Jamie Boyle, site manager of the RSPB’s Uist reserves, said: “We urge people to take great care in the way they dispose of plastic bags or, indeed, any other rubbish, particularly balloons and Chinese lanterns. They pose a direct threat to our wildlife and it is depressing to think plastic bags are even reaching remote lochans in a place like North Uist.

“Marine birds such as red-throated divers are particularly at risk, both at sea and on their breeding grounds, where they can mistake the bags for fish or mistakenly use them for nesting material. If a bag becomes entangled on their legs or heads it can prove fatal.”

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