A 50ft whale has been washed ashore on the west coast island of Coll.
The carcass is believed to be a sei whale
The dead animal was found on Sunday by a local resident and is believed to be a sei whale, larger than the more commonly-found minke whale.
Samples will be taken to confirm its type and to establish a cause of death, said the RSPB wildlife charity.
It is the second whale to have been stranded recently off the west coast - a beaked whale was found washed ashore on Mull last week.
The RSPB and Argyll and Bute Council are now studying options for removing the
Sarah Money, RSPB Scotland's warden on Coll, said: "This is extremely
saddening to see.
"It is such a beautiful creature and as far as we can tell, there is no
reason for this whale to have washed ashore."
She went on: "We have alerted the experts who plan to positively identify it as soon as possible and try to determine why this has happened."
She said sei whales were generally found much further out to sea, in mainly
temperate and polar areas of both the northern and southern hemispheres.
A cuvier's beaked whale was found last week
They feed on small fish and plankton and sometimes find themselves targeted by
No official population estimate has been carried out recently but the RSPB
said: "It's believed there are only a few thousand individuals left in the
North Atlantic, with evidence of depletion in some of the former whaling
Cally Fleming of the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust said: "During the
summer, we received roughly 3,000 whale and dolphin sightings off the west coast
"Of these, only five or six where thought to be sei or the larger fin whale.
"What a tragedy it is that one has washed ashore and died here."