Sparrowhawks are one of our smallest birds of prey, the male being somewhere between a blackbird and a collared dove in size. The female is larger, up to the size of a pigeon. Sparrowhawks are excellent bird-hunters, catching small species
Sedge warblers are summer visitors to the UK where they live in reedbeds and scrub near to freshwater. They feed on insects and can be distinguished from reed warblers by their striped head and more ‘digital’ song.
Reed warblers are summer visitors to the UK where they live and breed in reed beds. They feed on insects and are often heard, rather than seen.
Long-tailed tits are tiny birds that live in small family groups, mainly in woodland and scrubby areas. They feed mainly on insects and can be seen all year round. In spring, they build domed nests out of lichen and cobwebs.
Kingfishers live mainly along rivers and, despite their bright colours, can be difficult to see due to their small size and fast flight. They feed mainly on small fish and can be seen all year round, breeding in holes in
A common dabbling duck, particularly during the winter, Shovelers feed by sweeping their broad bills back and forth through the water, filtering out small invertebrates, plant seeds and other plant matter.
Teal are winter visitors to the UK where they live on freshwater lakes and the surrounding wet grassland, feeding on insects and plants.
Wigeon are winter visitos to the UK, arriving in large flocks to feed on wet grassland.
The mallard is a very common species and can be seen all year round, usually near water where it likes to feed on aquatic plants and insects.
A fairly common dabbling duck the Gadwall is only a little smaller than a Mallard. It nests in small numbers in the UK, on freshwater lakes with a lot of vegetation, but can be seen in larger numbers in winter
Greylag geese are a common species that can be seen all year round. They like to live near fresh water but can often be found grazing on short grass. They can migrate long distances and make a loud honking noise.
Related to swallows, swifts are a summer visitor to the UK and can mainly be seen hunting for insects on the wing, over a variety of habitats.
The great white egret can look similar to the little egret but as the name suggests they are much larger, similar to the size of a grey heron. Great white egrets are an occasional visitor and favour all kinds of wetland
Herons are a very common species and can be seen all year round near to fresh water. They hunt fish and amphibians at the water’s edge and often stand stock still waiting for their prey to swim past.
Tufted duck live on freshwater and can be seen all year round. They usually dive to find food including aquatic insects and shellfish.
Canada geese are a very common species and can be seen all year round near to fresh water. They feed mainly on aquatic plants and grass and will often fly in a ‘V’ shaped formation.
Goldfinches are a very colourful bird that can be seen all year round, often feeding on thistle seed heads in scrubby and grassland areas.
Cetti’s warblers can be seen all year round in areas of dense scrub. They feed mainly on insects and have a distinctive, explosive song. They have only recently started breeding in the UK.
Greenfinches are mainly found in areas of scrub and woodland and feed mainly on seeds. They can be seen all year round but their numbers have declined in recent years due to a disease.
Black-headed gulls are a common species and can be found near freshwater and at the coast throughout the year. They feed mainly on insects but will also scavenge for scraps on rubbish tips. The black head is part of the
Our largest and most common pigeon, the woodpigeon is a familiar bird of gardens, parks, woodlands and farmlands right across the country. Its husky ‘hoo-hroo’ call is a well-known sound of the country. Woodpigeons feed on seeds, leaves, grains, fruit,
The crow that we are most familiar with, the Carrion Crow is all black and makes a hoarse, cawing sound. Carrion Crows make big nests out of twigs, rags, bones, and anything else they can find, which they hide in
Rooks are large crows that make big nests out of twigs in the top of trees, and gather in large colonies known as ‘rookeries'; they often nest in villages and graveyards, but are also birds of farmland and grassland. The
Our smallest crow, the Jackdaw is a bird of woodland, parkland, coasts and urban areas. The Jackdaw nests in holes in trees, and on cliffs and buildings: sometimes it will even make a nest in a chimney! It eats invertebrates,
Cuckoos are migrant birds that usually arrive in April and leave in August. They lay their eggs in the nests of other birds, such as reed warblers, who raise the cuckoo chick as their own. The distinctive call of the
Blue tits are a common species often seen in gardens, woodland and scrub. They feed mainly on insects in the summer but will also eat nuts and seeds in the winter.
The mute swan is a very common species and can be seen all year round, usually near water where it likes to feed on aquatic plants and insects. It is called a ‘mute’ swan because it can’t make any noise
House martins are smaller than swallows but arrive at a similar time in spring. They hunt for insects on the wing and build mud nests under the eaves of buildings, hence their name.
The great spotted woodpecker is a medium-sized woodpecker, about the same size as a blackbird. great spotted woodpeckers nest in holes which they excavate in trees in woodlands (mainly broadleaved), large parks and gardens. They have a distinctive, bouncing flight
The Little Egret is a small, white heron which feeds on small fish and crustaceans. Once a very rare visitor from the Mediterranean, Little Egrets are now a common sight around the coasts of southern England and Wales as they
Reed bunting can be seen all year round, feeding on the seeds of grasses close to reed beds.
Robins are a very common species and can be seen all year round in a variety of habitats. They feed mainly on insects and are common visitors to gardens.
The hobby is Britain’s only migratory falcon and it arrives in April to breed in the disused nests of crows. It is an excellent flier and hunts dragonflies and other birds, such as swallows on the wing. It can be
Kestrels are a small bird of prey that can often be seen hovering whilst hunting for small mammals above areas of grassland. They can be seen all year round.
The chaffinch is a common bird that can be seen all year round, usually in woodland and scrubby areas. It feeds mainly on seeds and insects and has a long descending call.
The common sandpiper is a smallish wading bird which breeds along fast-moving rivers and near lakes, lochs and reservoirs in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the north of England. Wintering birds may be spotted along the south coast but passage
The male Goldeneye is a handsome diving duck. Apart from a small breeding population in the highlands of Scotland, most Goldeneye only spend the winter in this country, particularly on larger lakes and reservoirs. Goldeneye never really gather in large
Lapwings feed on insects and other invertebrates and can be seen all year round, although greater numbers can be seen in winter. They like areas of wet grassland and breed on bare ground.
Golden plovers are winter visitors to the UK where they feed on invertebrates on wet grassland and farmland.
The coot is a very common species and can be seen all year round, usually near water where it likes to feed on aquatic plants and insects. It has a white bill.
Snipe are secretive birds that live in muddy lake and river margins and wet grassland. They feed on insects and can be found all year round, except for a few weeks in summer, when they leave to breed.
The moorhen is a very common species and can be seen all year round, usually near water where it likes to feed on aquatic plants and insects. They like to hide in the reeds at the edge of the water
Oystercatchers are mainly summer visitors, feeding on insects and shellfish in the mud and meadows around lakes and rivers.
Swallows are migratory birds that spend the winter in Africa and arrive in the UK in April. They feed mainly on flying insects and often build their mud nests on the sides of buildings, returning to the same spot year
The lesser black-backed gull can be found on farmland, wetlands and around the coast. It is a large, elegant gull just a little smaller than herring gull. The world’s population of this gull can be found entirely in Europe; in
This is a species which skulks in the undergrowth, creeping through bushes and low foliage, and which is very difficult to see except sometimes when singing from a prominent position. The song, which gives this species its name, is a
Red kites are scavengers that can be seen all year round, often feeding on road kill. They were hunted almost to extinction in the 19th century but have recently been successfully reintroduced to Northamptonshire and are now a common sight
Great tits are a common species often seen in gardens, woodland and scrub. They feed mainly on insects in the summer but will also eat nuts and seeds in the winter. They have a large variety of calls which often
Cormorants are a common species often found near fresh and salt water. They feed on fish and often be seen standing with their wings stretched out (we’re still not quite sure why they do this).
A very familiar gamebird, pheasants are large, colourful and have a long tail. Common in farmland and woodland throughout Britain, the males’ loud, sharp, croaking call can be heard resonating through the countryside before the bird is actually seen. Pheasants
Chiffchaffs are a small warbler, known for their distinctive song. They are summer visitors to the UK, living mainly in woodland and scrubby areas and feeding on insects.
Willow Warblers are slim, delicate birds of woodland, scrub, parks and gardens. They can be heard singing a melodious, warbling song from amongst the tree canopy. Willow Warblers are migratory birds, breeding in Europe and migrating to southern Africa for
Magpies are one of our most familiar birds and the source of much myth and legend – ‘one for sorrow, two for a joy’ is a rhyme that many children learn. Magpies are, in fact, small crows, and are omnivorous,
Green woodpeckers are often seen feeding on ants in grassy areas near to trees. They have a distinct laughing call and can be seen all year round.
Great crested grebes are a common species found mainly on freshwater throughout the year. They are excellent divers and feed mainly on small fish and aquatic insects. During the breeding season, the birds stick out their crests and perform an
Dunnocks are a very common bird but their dull colours and secretive behaviour means that they often go unnoticed. They live in a variety of habitats including woodland and scrub and feed mainly on insects, berries and seeds.
The Bullfinch is a large, plump finch which feeds on buds and fruit in woodlands, hedgerows, parklands, gardens and orchards. Beautiful, easy to tame and skilful at mimicry, it was often taken as a cage-bird in times past. Shy and
A small relative of the moorhen and coot and about the same size as a redshank, water rails live in reedbeds and freshwater wetlands where they feed on invertebrates and small fish. Secretive and rarely seen they are more often
Goldcrests are tiny birds of conifer woodland, scrub, parks and gardens. As well as our own resident birds, large numbers arrive on the east coast during autumn migration, and are often found in bushes on sand dunes. It is widespread
Sand martins are common summer visitors, arriving in March and leaving in October. They nest in colonies, digging burrows in steep, sandy cliffs, usually around water, so are commonly found on wetland sites. The tunnels they bore can be up
Common terns are summer visitors that can usually be seen swooping over lakes whilst hunting for fish.
Tawny owls are nocturnal hunters, feeding mainly on small mammals and birds in woodland habitats. They can be seen all year round.
Starlings are very familiar birds of farmland, parks, gardens and towns. Sociable birds, they spend a lot of their time in large flocks, roosting and performing sweeping, aerial displays – they can often be seen moving fluidly through a winter’s
Blackcaps are a common warbler that like to live in scrubby areas where they feed mainly on insects and berries. They are mainly summer visitors but are occasionally seen in the winter. Only the male has a black cap.
The Garden Warbler is a medium-sized warbler of woodland and tall scrub, habitats it shares with the Blackcap. Garden Warblers are summer visitors, arriving in April and leaving in July, although Continental birds can be seen on migration around the
Whitethroats are a summer visitor that live mainly in scrub and bramble, feeding on insects and fruit.
Grebes are diving waterbirds, feeding on small fish and aquatic invertebrates. The Little Grebe or ‘Dabchick’, as it is sometimes known, is our smallest grebe, about half the size of a Moorhen. Grebes nest on floating platforms made up of
Wrens are one of Britain’s smallest birds, although also one of the loudest, and stay here all year round. They live mainly in woodland and scrub and feed on insects.
Blackbirds are a very common species and can be seen all year round in a variety of habitats. They feed mainly on insects and berries and are common visitors to gardens.
The Song thrush is a cousin of the blackbird and can be found in woodlands and scrubby areas all year round. It feeds mainly on insects (particularly snails) and berries and is known for its repetetive song.
Barn owls are nocturnal hunters, feeding mainly on small mammals such as mice and voles in open, grassy habitats. Their numbers dropped in the last century due to pesticide use by farmers. However, they are now protected by law and
This large duck likes to live on mud-flats in coastal areas and inland lakes. They can be seen all year round and feed mainly on insects and shellfish.
The meadow pipit is a very common nesting bird of moorland, heathland and rough grassland. In the autumn and winter it moves out of upland areas to lowlands where it gathers in small flocks and can also be found on
Buzzards are a large bird of prey that can be seen all year round in a variety of habitats wherever there are trees present. They hunt small mammals, such as rabbits, as well as birds, amphibians and insects. Their numbers
A small, dumpy chat, the stonechat is a little smaller than a robin. Stonechats have quite a big head and short tail. They can frequently be seen sitting on the top of gorse bushes, flicking their wings and making a
A common and familiar bird, the pied wagtail is often seen in towns and cities, dashing across lawns, roads and car parks while wagging its long tail up and down. Pied wagtails eat insects but will feed on seeds and
The goosander is a large duck of rivers and lakes in forested areas. It eats fish and nests in holes in trees.
Collared doves are small, common pigeons found in farmland, woodland, parks and gardens across the country. Since breeding in the UK was first recorded in the 1950s numbers have increased and the collared dove is now one of the top
Skylarks are present all year round but are mainly seen in the spring and summer when they perform their distinctive song flights to defend their breeding territory. They nest in grassland and feed mainly on insects and seeds.