[Simon Thurgood Images] [Simon Thurgood Images]


[intro2]Introduction to the Birds section

I have split the birds into eight habitat based sections. Birds being birds iam sure will turn up where they are least expected and you may disagree with where I have placed them so iam open for debate on this.

If you click on the Blue icon you will get more information such as where they can be seen and their bird song.

In this section I have also added information from the "Population Status of Birds in the UK: Birds of Conservation Concern 2002-2007". This is where leading governmental and non-governmental conservation organisations in the UK have reviewed the population status of the birds that are regularly found here.

A total of 247 species were assessed, and each species was placed onto one of three lists - red, amber or green. Red is the highest conservation priority, with species needing urgent action. Amber is the next most critical group, followed by green.

Forty species are red-listed, 121 are amber-listed and 86 are green-listed. A full list of red and amber categorised species can be found on the RSPB web site.

I have tried to publish with the picture were it was taken, except if it will put them in harms way. The ref refers to the picture number rather than were they are in the group of pictures.

I would also recommend you visit the "Out and About" page which will give you more information on the places I have been.

For up-to-date information on bird sightings I would recommend you go to www.birdguides.com. Another useful website is www.birdwatch.co.uk.


Here is some information ive put together on:-

1) How to watch Birds 2) Photographing Birds 3) Attracting Birds to your Garden 4) Nests,Eggs and Nestboxes 5) Migration

[whswans1]More about Bird Migration

Here is a bit more on Bird Migration

[topo1]More about Birds

It is helpfull to memorise the names for the various parts of a bird. A beginner may find it hard to remember all these technical terms, but if you want a more experienced bird-watcher to identify a bird from your discription, it makes it much easier if you can tell him or her you saw a white spot on the scapulars instead of just on the wing. So, once these are memorised, you can make more meaningful notes on what you have seen.

[billpic1]Bills, wings and Feet

This section will give some more information on these areas.


Accentors are small birds that root about on the ground or among low plants seeking insects and spiders to eat, and also seeds in winter.


These are medium-sized seabirds with long, barrel-shaped bodies, short tails, very small wings and short legs set far back on the body. Most can hardly walk, but stand upright on cliff ledges where they come to breed each spring. They fly low and fast with whirring wings and poor manoeuvrability, but they are excellent swimmers and divers, using their wings to 'fly' underwater.


Brightly coloured, long winged, long tailed, gregarious land birds with long, slightly curved bill; sexes alike.

[nopic5]Birds of Prey-Buzzards

Large, short-necked, broad-winged raptors.

[whitetailedeagle6]Birds of Prey-Eagles

Large birds of prey with feathered legs and broad wings and tail. Adult plumage assumed over 2-3years. Flight rather heavy, soaring with outspread and often upturned primaries and appearing blunt winged. Wild mountainous or wooded country, nest on ledges or in a tree.

[pn6]Birds of Prey-Falcons

Falcons are generally smaller than other birds of prey and have long, pointed wings and long tails. They are ferocious hunters diving on or chasing their prey at great speed.

[henharrier1]Birds of Prey-Harriers

Slim, medium-sized raptors with long, rather narrow wings and tail, wings rather pointed, long legs, and a slight ruff often making the face rounded and owl like. Glide low over ground to hunt, soar and glide with wings usually canted upwards. Nest on ground.

[goshawk1]Birds of Prey-Hawks

The worlds largest raptor genus comprises the true hawks, long tail and rather short, broad rounded wings. Females larger than males. Flight fast, dashing, regularly hunting birds in woods and scrub. Nests in trees.

[redk8]Birds of Prey-Kites

Large raptors, longer-winged and longer-tailed than Buzzards, with forked tails which they twist from side to side in flight. Frequently feed on carrion and on refuse dumps. Nest in trees.

[osprey4]Birds of Prey-Osprey

The Osprey is placed in a family by itself becouse it differs in several ways from the other birds of prey. In particular, the osprey has a reversible outer toe, which is used in catching and holding slippery fishes, and it can also close its nostrils for when it plunges into water after fish.


Seed eaters, indifferent songsters. Flight bounding and fairly fast, mainly ground living usually avoiding human settlements.


Large long necked, long-legged, long and broad-winged land birds, bill stout, sexes alike, male larger. Flight strong, legs and neck stretched out like cranes and storks

[shag9]Cormorants and Shags

Large, dark water birds, in the UK just two species, one essentially marine, the other found on all kinds of waters. They are long-bodied, quite large-tailed birds, with broad wings and long necks.

They have short, thick legs, showing a relationship to gannets by the fact that webs join all four toes. Their bills are thick and hooked at the tip, helping to grasp fish, which they catch by diving under water.

Characteristic behaviour includes standing with wings held half open.


Large, mostly gregarious, with a high degree of intelligence and unmelodious song. Most have a robust bill, sexes alike. Nest in tree, on rock or in hole in tree or among rocks.

[spbill19]Cranes, Ibises, Storks and Spoonbills

Large long legged birds that fly with outstretched neck unlike a Heron.


Medium to large, rather slender, solitary arboreal birds with long, graduated tail and slightly decurved bill.Cuckoos are famous for laying their eggs in nests of other birds and leaving the other birds to bring up the young cuckoos


Dippers are unusual perching birds becouse they are water birds. They can swim and dive, and may even walk along the bottom of a stream to look for small freshwater animals. Only one species found in Europe


Divers are really at home underwater, where they catch fish and crustaceans. they either dive suddenly from the surface or sink slowly in the water. On land, divers walk clumsily and they normally come ashore only to breed. In winter all divers become greyish above and white below.

[fduck2]Ducks-Female ID

This is to try and help ID female ducks,there are some gaps which hopefully I will be able fill soon

[mrd12]Ducks-Dabbling Ducks (ANAS)

Normally feed on the surface or by up-ending, rarely diving except when young or unable to fly. Both sexes have a coloured wing patch . Fast flight, direct.

[pochard1]Ducks-Pochards (Aythya)

Often dive and swim submerged. Shorter-necked and more compact than some dabblers, with legs set further back. Flight direct, with rapid wing-beats.

[eider13]Ducks-Sea Ducks

A group of diving ducks, that breed by freshwater but winter mainly in coastal water.

[goosander14]Ducks-Saw Bills (Mergus)

Diving ducks, with narrow saw-edged bills and crested heads. Duck and juv/imm (redheads) have chestnut head and nape, with white chin.

[Egyptiangoose5]Ducks-Shelducks and others

Mixture of remaining species


Small gregarious songbirds, with stout bills adapted to seed-eating, and with a characteristic bounding or dancing flight. Often better songsters than Buntings. Breeding in habitats associated with trees and bushes, in which they nest.


Small songbirds, with rather broad, flattened bill for feeding on flying insects, caught in persistent to and fro sallies from perch. Rarely on ground except to fly down and pick up an insect. Chat like alarm note, nest in hole or on ledge.


Birds of mainly of open country, some species in small parties (coveys) up to 20.


Large, cigar shaped seabirds, tai wedge shaped. Flight strong, flapping and gliding. Diving from both air and surface.

[beangoose2]Geese-Grey (Anser)

Plumage grey-brown, except Snow goose, under tail coverts white. In winter on farmland, marshes and Estuaries.

[pbbrentgoose5]Geese-Black ( Branta )

Relatively small (except Canada), with crown and neck black (except Red-breasted) sexes alike. The three native species are mainly winter visitors to the region. Usually in flocks.


Grebes are elegant water birds with colourful breeding plumage in spring and summer. The bodly patterned heads and necks with their ear tuffs and frills. Grebes feed by diving for fish and other water animals. Although agile in the water they are not good fliers.


Gregarious, long winged, web footed seabirds, sexes alike. Larger and stouter than most Terns with broader, blunter wings. Tail usually square ended. Many species are scavengers, breeding colonies, often noisy on cliffs or flat ground by the sea and inland.

[greatwe14]Herons, Egrets and Bitterns

Wading birds, well adapted to feeding in shallow water by their long legs, neck and bill. Tail rather short, wings broad and rounded, the larger species with a ponderously slow flight, when neck retracted and legs outstretched, mainly colonial nesting in trees or reed-beds


One European species, rare in the UK, and a closely related species in Africa. Hoopoes are medium-sized birds with long, broad, rounded wings, slightly decurved bills and unique fan-like crests that open over the top of the head. Their calls are soft, quick, poo-poo-poo notes, which give them their common name. They nest in cavities in rocks, trees and buildings and feed on the ground, searching for insects, worms, small reptiles and other creatures.


Small waterside bird with large head, long stout, sharply pointed dagger like bill, sexes more or less alike, female adult has a reddish lower mandible. Flight normally fast and direct. Nests in holes on river bank.


Very small "Large eyed" greenish warblers, the regions smallest breeding birds, with tiny needle like bill.


Smallish ground-living songbirds, mostliy with sober brown plumage, often darker in the N and paler in sandy desert areas, sexes usuallya like. Song usually well developed and delivered either when climbing steeply or when circling in the air. Flight typically direct and undulating. Often in flocks when not breeding.


The Nightjars are nocturnal birds with long wings and tail and a very agile,silent flight. The bill is short, but opens very widely to scoop up insects in flight. The name is derived from the penetrating churring song which can be heard at dusk


Medium sized arboreal songbirds, with a fairly stout bill. The UK is the most northern part of its range.


Owls are mainly nocturnal hunters, feeding mostly on small rodents. Some also eat other birds and insects.They have powerful talons and a large,hooked beak, although the beak is partly buried in the feathers and does not look very large. The eyes look forward and are extremely efficient. The ears are also very sensitive, allowing the owls to hear their prey on the ground. Feathery edges to the wings allow the owls to fly silently.

[stockdove6]Pigeons and Doves

Medium sized land birds. Larger species usually called Pigeons and smaller ones Doves, but no real distinction. Soberly coloured, in pastel shades of grey or brown often with iridescent green/purple neck patches, smallish head, short bill, longish tail and crooning or cooing voice, gait a walk. Tree or ledge nesters.

[treepipit3]Pipits and Wagtails

Small, rather slim, long tailed, thin billed ground feeders with a distinctive habit of wagging tail up and down, sexes alike

[mhen4]Rails and Crakes

Medium to small ground dwellers, wings and tail rather short, legs and toes fairly long. Gait on land and water jerky. all species in the region except Corncrake inhabit densely vegetated wetlands, swamps, bogs, fens, marshes, reedbeds and fresh waters and their margins. Unlike the aquatic Moorhen and Coot, the terrestrial species are shy and rarely seen in the open.


Medium- sized, long winged oceanic seabirds, superb gliders with nostrils lying in two short tubes on the bill and a strong musky smell. Colonial breeders. Shearwaters have a distinctive stiff winged mode of flight, "shearing" the waves, tilting the waves from one wing tip to the other.


Aggressive hook-billed birds with dipping flight, often impaling prey on thorns as "larder". Tail longish, rounded or graduated.


Skuas are fast flying sea birds with hooked beaks,they will take on all other sea birds and have been known to down a Gannet and will also chase seabirds to make them drop their catch to eat themselves.


Soberly plumaged songbirds with a short, thick, seed eating bill and rounded wings differing from the finches especially in having a shorter, square tipped tail. Flight direct or bounding.


Gregarious medium sized land birds, with plumage often mainly blackish or iridescent and strong legs and bill, sexes alike. Flight fast and direct. Hole nesters.

[wilsons10]Storm Petrels

Small, Oceanic black petrels, mostly white rumped, flying or fluttering low over the surface, on land above ground only at night when breeding in holes on rocky coastal islands, sexes alike, bill short, black, tube nosed.


The largest water fowl, adults all white, legs black, sexes alike. Juv grey-brown, whitening over the first year, with pink bill, usually with adults in winter.

[redswallow6]Swifts, Swallows and Martins

Small, slender, short necked aerial birds with long wings, tail forked and a short bill. Sexes alike, flight is graceful and often fast.


Most terns are like graceful small gulls, with longer wings, held at an angle in their buoyant flight, forked tail and thinner, more pointed bills, often held almost vertically downward as they hover and dive for small fish.

[mistlethrush3]Thrushes, Chats and Allies

A large family containing some of the finest European songsters, in two groups, the smaller Robins, Chats, Wheatears and Redstarts, and the larger Thrushes. They are all insect-eaters and many eat fruits and berries. Gait a short run or hop.


Small, active and acrobatic, insectivorous birds, sexes alike, several species may flock together. Nests normally in holes, including nestboxes.

[bwstilt8]Waders-Avocets,Stilts and Oystercatchers

3 Species of very attractive Waders


Mostly rather small waders, with only moderately long bill and legs with shortish neck and wings. All show white wing bar in flight. Calls are piping or twittering, flocks often keeping up a conversational twitter.

[bartailedgodwit5]Waders-Curlew and Godwits

5 Species of these Medium and Large Waders

[turnstone4]Waders-Plovers,Turnstone & Lapwing

There are 8 species that are on the UK list. Quite short to long legs, but short bills; feed with characteristic run-stop-tilt forward action on areas of open sand, mud, shingle, bare earth or short turf.

[ruff03]Waders-Ruff and Snipes

4 Species in this section

[redshank11]Waders-Sandpipers and Shanks

6 species in this section of elegant birds.

[redneckedphalarope4]Waders-Stone Curlew and Phalaropes

Some of our rarest Waders


Rare visitors

[whitethroat4]Warblers: Syviidae

Small, mainly migratory songbirds with thin, insect-eating bill. Sexes usually alike, juv usually like adult. Song often a key field character, nest usually in bush or on or near ground.


Plain brown warblers, notable for their broad, granulated tail. Reeling song and extremely shy.


Small greenish or yellowish warblers


Brown above, paler below, with whitish throat and rounded tail. Scolding, churring calls rather similar, Skulkers in thick marshy vegetation.


Uniformly coloured with bland faces, songs babbling.


Waxwings are unusual birds because they do not have particular homes. Execpt when nesting, they continually wander in flocks from place to place, looking for fruits, berries and insects to eat. They may be seen in one place for a short time and then not again for years.


Very small, short-tailed, dumpy birds. Sexes alike.

[greatsw3]Woodpeckers, Nuthatchers and Treecreepers

Land birds, highly adapted to climbing about trees extracting insect prey from bark and rotten wood.

© Simon Thurgood 2024
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