Birdspotter’s top 10 birds of Britain
Come rain or shine bird spotting can be enjoyed any time of the year. With one of the hottest UK summers on record there’s no better time to explore the great outdoors, or the comfort of your garden and spot some of the best birds of England.
To give you a helping hand in identifying which bird species you may have seen, here are 10 of the most common British birds that have been spotted according to our BirdSpotter tool.
- Barn Owl
This much-loved countryside bird, with its heart-shaped face, buff back and wings and pure white underparts are widely distributed across the UK. Although barn owls are nocturnal you may be able to spot one in the open countryside, along with field edges, riverbanks and roadside verges.
- Great Tit
The great tit is one of the most common urban birds and is the largest of the UK tit family. It has a green and yellow body, a glossy black head and white cheeks. If you’re not sure whether it’s a great tit that you’re looking at, the distinctive two-syllable song is your give away. Great tits can be seen in woodlands, parks, and gardens across the UK.
- Blue Tit
The blue tit is a colourful mix of striking blues, yellows, and greens and is one of the UK’s most attractive and recognisable garden visitors. They are commonly seen in woodland, hedgerows, parks, and gardens. During the winter they tend to flock in groups as they search for food with other tits.
Of the three species of woodpecker found in Britain, the great spotted woodpecker is the most common. Great spotted woodpeckers can also be seen in woodland, parks and large gardens, especially where there are peanut feeders and bird tables. During February you’ll be able to hear them with their beaks making a repetitive “rat-a-tat-tat” sound on a dead branch or tree trunk.
Blackbirds are found everywhere in gardens, the countryside and from the coast to the hills of the UK. Their name may be a giveaway to their looks, however, it is in fact only the males which are black and are easily recognisable with their orange-yellow beak. The female blackbirds are actually mainly brown in colour with spots and other patterns on their breasts.
The goldfinch is a colourful British garden bird, with its vibrant red face and yellow wings. An increase in sightings of goldfinches in gardens highlights the importance of well-stocked Niger seed feeders. Don’t worry if you don’t have any goldfinch visitors in the winter as they generally migrate to warmer climates as far as Spain.
The jay is the most colourful of the crow family but it is in fact quite difficult to spot. They are shy woodland birds and rarely move far from cover. Its screaming call usually lets you know that a jay is nearby and can usually be heard when it is on the move. The jay is renowned for feeding on mainly acorns, especially in autumn where it can be seen burying them in preparation for winter.
A good starting point for your chaffinch search is near a bird feeder. Although they won’t likely openly feed on the bird feeder, you’ll see them hopping down it while looking for food in the hedges and on the ground. Its patterned feathers help it to blend in when feeding on the ground, but its loud song will usually mean you hear it before you see it.
The robin is arguably one of the most common wild birds in the UK and one of the easiest to spot. Its bright red chest is familiar throughout the year especially at Christmas, where even if you don’t see one outside you’re sure to find one on a Christmas card. Robins sing nearly all year round and at night they will sing next to street lights.
The emblem of the RSPB, the avocet is an elegant and distinctively-patterned black and white wader, with a long up-curved beak and strikingly long blue legs. With its return to the UK from near extinction in the 1940s, the avocet is one of the country’s most successful conservation and protection projects. The avocet can be seen in coastal lagoons on the east coast in summer and the Exe estuary in winter.
Whether you’re a bird watching beginner or a seasoned twitcher, make sure to check out our BirdSpotter tool which is a great way to record your sightings and contribute to conservation.