An urgent search for information has been launched by the RSPCA, following the emergence of a “shocking, disturbing and distressing video” appearing to show a man biting the head off a live pigeon.

Footage shared with the animal welfare charity appears to show a man gaining access to the bird by hitting at its nesting place with a stick.

He then grabs hold of the bird – whose wings are flapping – and seems to bite the head from the bird’s body.  The pigeon is then tossed to the floor, with wings momentarily still moving, before being picked back up by the man, who poses for the camera.

Laughter can be heard from other individuals on the audio of the video. The incident appears to take place at a building site.

The RSPCA says that – if what the video seems to show is accurate – the suffering experienced by the pigeon would have been “unimaginable”.

It has been suggested to the RSPCA that the incident could be linked to the North of England, or Wales. The charity is now urging the public to come forward with any information related to the incident, or which may identify the man appearing to commit the act.

Dermot Murphy, assistant director of the RSPCA inspectorate, said: “This is a deeply shocking, disturbing and distressing video, appearing to show a man biting the head off a live pigeon.

“If what this video seems to show is accurate, the pain and suffering caused to the pigeon is likely to have been unimaginable.

“Biting the head off a pigeon is likely to constitute an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

“We’re very eager for information identifying the individual involved, or providing related background, to be brought to our attention as a matter of urgency.

“It has been suggested to us that the incident may have links to either the North of England, or Wales. However, we are eager for any information which could assist with our enquiries on this serious matter.

“Our inspectorate appeal line can be reached on 0300 123 8018.”

If you wish to help the RSPCA investigate incidents such as this, you can donate online. The RSPCA is a charity and relies on public donations.