A young herring gull has died after it was found with a crossbow bolt through its neck in Inverness.
An officer from the Scottish SPCA found the bird on Tuesday morning after receiving reports of a gull on Mile End Place, Charleston, which had been shot.
The gull's injuries were so severe that it to had to be put to sleep and end any further suffering.
Scottish SPCA chief inspector Iain Allan said: "The bolt had gone straight through the gull's neck and it appears to have been targeted at close range. This was a sickening incident which would have caused this bird a great deal of pain and suffering.
"We suspect this was a deliberate attack with the intention of causing harm to a defenceless animal. The gull was found in a residential area, however, we can't be sure whether the attack took place here as it's possible the bird was able to fly after being shot.
"Regardless of where this bird was targeted, this incident is extremely concerning and we would urge anyone with information to contact us as soon as possible."
Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, it is a criminal offence to use a crossbow to intentionally kill or injure any wild bird.
Information can be reported to the Scottish SPCA Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999.