List of birds of Wales

List of birds of Wales

This list of birds of Wales includes every species of bird that has been recorded in a wild state in Wales. Compared to the avifauna of Britain as a whole, Wales has fewer breeding species but these include a number of moorland species such as Red Grouse and Black Grouse, large numbers of seabirds (particularly on offshore islands such as Skomer, Grassholm and Bardsey) and good populations of several species typical of Welsh Oak woods including Redstart, Pied Flycatcher and Wood Warbler.O'Shea (2000)] [Tipling (1996)] Among the birds of prey is the Red Kite which had become extinct in other parts of Britain until being reintroduced recently. In winter many wildfowl and waders are found around the coast, attracted by the mild temperatures. In spring and autumn a variety of migrant and vagrant birds can be seen, particularly on headlands and islands.

The list is based on "Birds in Wales" (Lovegrove "et al." 1994), "Birds in Wales 1992-2000" (Green 2002) and the list of the Welsh Ornithological Society (Prater & Thorpe 2006) with updates from the Welsh Records Panel's annual reports. The taxonomy and scientific names follow the official list of the British Ornithologists' Union (BOU). [British Ornithologist's Union (2008)] The English names are the vernacular names used in the 7th edition of the BOU list with the standardized names from that list given in brackets where they differ. [Dudley "et al." (2006)] The family introductions are based on "The New Encyclopedia of Birds" (Perrins 2004) except where otherwise stated. The number of species in each family is approximate due to differing opinions on classification; the numbers given in the list are based on "The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World" (Clements 2007).

Certain categories of birds are noted with the following tags:
*BR - British Rarity. A species which occurs only as a rare visitor to Great Britain with fewer than 100 records in the last 10 years or less than 200 records ever. Records of these species are adjudicated by the British Birds Rarities Committee (BBRC). [BBRC (2005)]
*WR - Welsh Rarity. A species which occurs, on average, 5 times or less each year in Wales and is not considered by the BBRC. Records of these species are adjudicated by the Welsh Records Panel of the Welsh Ornithological Society. [Welsh Records Panel (2006)]
*I - Introduced. A non-native species whose presence in Wales is a result of accidental or deliberate release of birds into the wild by humans. They have either formed an established, self-sustaining breeding population in the country or have wandered from established populations in England.

The total number of species on the list is 435 including 133 British rarities, 65 Welsh rarities and 10 introduced species. About 150 species breed annually.


=Ducks, geese, and swans=

Order: AnseriformesFamily: Anatidae

The swans, ducks and geese are medium to large birds that are modified for an aquatic existence with webbed feet and bills which are flattened to a greater or lesser extent. In many ducks the male is colourful while the female is dull brown. The diet consists of a variety of animals and plants. The family is well-represented in Wales, especially in winter when large numbers visit from Greenland, Scandinavia and Russia. There are about 160 species worldwide, 53 in Britain and 47 in Wales.
*Mute Swan, "Cygnus olor"
*Bewick's Swan (Tundra Swan), "Cygnus columbianus"
*Whooper Swan, "Cygnus cygnus"
*Bean Goose, "Anser fabalis" WR
*Pink-footed Goose, "Anser brachyrhynchus"
*(Greater) White-fronted Goose, "Anser albifrons"
*Lesser White-fronted Goose, "Anser erythropus" BR
*Greylag Goose, "Anser anser"
*(Greater) Canada Goose, "Branta canadensis" I
*Barnacle Goose, "Branta leucopsis"
*Brent Goose, "Branta bernicla"
*Red-breasted Goose, "Branta ruficollis"
*Egyptian Goose, "Alopochen aegyptiacus" IMany or all records of Egyptian Goose and Ring-necked Parakeet may refer to escapes from captivity rather than feral wanderers from England (Prater & Thorpe 2006).]
*Ruddy Shelduck, "Tadorna ferruginea" BR
*(Common) Shelduck, "Tadorna tadorna"
*Mandarin Duck, "Aix galericulata" I
*(Eurasian) Wigeon, "Anas penelope"
*American Wigeon, "Anas americana" WR
*Gadwall, "Anas strepera"
*(Eurasian) Teal, "Anas crecca"
*Green-winged Teal, "Anas carolinensis" WR
*Mallard, "Anas platyrhynchos"
*American Black Duck, "Anas rubripes" BR
*(Northern) Pintail, "Anas acuta"
*Garganey, "Anas querquedula"
*Blue-winged Teal, "Anas discors" BR
*(Northern) Shoveler, "Anas clypeata"
*Red-crested Pochard, "Netta rufina"
*(Common) Pochard, "Aythya ferina"
*Redhead, "Aythya americana" BR
*Ring-necked Duck, "Aythya collaris" WR
*Ferruginous Duck, "Aythya nyroca" WR
*Tufted Duck, "Aythya fuligula"
*(Greater) Scaup, "Aythya marila"
*Lesser Scaup, "Aythya affinis" BR [Rogers & the BBRC (2004)]
*(Common) Eider, "Somateria mollissima"
*King Eider, "Somateria spectabilis" BR
*Long-tailed Duck, "Clangula hyemalis"
*Common Scoter, "Melanitta nigra"
*Black Scoter, "Melanitta americana" BR
*Surf Scoter, "Melanitta perspicillata" WR
*Velvet Scoter, "Melanitta fusca"
*(Common) Goldeneye, "Bucephala clangula"
*Smew, "Mergellus albellus"
*Red-breasted Merganser, "Mergus serrator"
*Goosander, "Mergus merganser"
*Ruddy Duck, "Oxyura jamaicensis" I


Order: GalliformesFamily: Tetraonidae

Grouse are sturdy, medium-sized terrestrial birds of the Northern Hemisphere. They have feathered feet and nostrils and short, rounded wings. They feed mainly on plant material and lay their eggs in a simple scrape on the ground. They are gamebirds and large numbers were shot in the past in moorland areas. [Lovegrove "et al." (1994)] There are about 19 species worldwide, 4 in Britain and 2 in Wales.
*Red Grouse (Willow Ptarmigan), "Lagopus lagopus"
*Black Grouse, "Tetrao tetrix"

Pheasants and partridges

Order: GalliformesFamily: Phasianidae

These are terrestrial species, feeding and nesting on the ground. They are variable in size but generally plump, with broad and relatively short wings. There are about 155 species worldwide with 6 in Britain and Wales. 4 of these were introduced for hunting or ornamental purposes but 2 have now apparently died out.

*Red-legged Partridge, "Alectorix rufa" I
*Grey Partridge, "Perdix perdix"
*(Common) Quail, "Coturnix coturnix"
*(Common) Pheasant, "Phasianus colchicus" I
*Golden Pheasant, "Chrysolophus pictus" IThe populations of the introduced Golden Pheasant and Lady Amherst's Pheasant have now died out (Prater & Thorpe 2006)]
*Lady Amherst's Pheasant, "Chrysolophus amherstiae" I


Order: GaviiformesFamily: Gaviidae

Divers are aquatic birds the size of a large duck, to which they are unrelated. They swim well, and fly adequately but, because their legs are placed towards the rear of the body, are almost hopeless on land. They feed on fish and other aquatic animals. There are 5 species worldwide with 4 in Britain and Wales. They are all non-breeding visitors in Wales.

*Red-throated Diver, "Gavia stellata"
*Black-throated Diver, "Gavia arctica"
*Great Northern Diver, "Gavia immer"
*White-billed Diver (Yellow-billed Diver), "Gavia adamsii" BR


Order: PodicipediformesFamily: Podicipedidae

Grebes are small to medium-large diving birds with lobed toes and pointed bills. They are seen mainly on lowland waterbodies and coasts. They feed on aquatic animals and [bird nest|nest [ on a floating platform of vegetation. There are about 19 species worldwide with 6 in Britain and Wales.

*Pied-billed Grebe, "Podilymbus podiceps" BR
*Little Grebe, "Tachybaptus ruficollis"
*Great Crested Grebe, "Podiceps cristatus"
*Red-necked Grebe, "Podiceps grisegena"
*Slavonian Grebe, "Podiceps auritus"
*Black-necked Grebe, "Podiceps nigricollis"


Order: ProcellariiformesFamily: Diomedeidae

The albatrosses are among the largest flying birds with long, narrow wings for gliding. The majority are found in the Southern Hemisphere with only vagrants occurring in the North Atlantic. There are at least 13 species worldwide with 1 in Britain and Wales.

*Black-browed Albatross, "Thalassarche melanophris" BR

Petrels and shearwaters

Order: ProcellariiformesFamily: Procellariidae

These are highly pelagic birds with long, narrow wings and tube-shaped nostrils. They feed at sea on fish, squid and other marine life. They come to land to breed in colonies, nesting in burrows or on cliffs. There are about 77 species worldwide, 9 in Britain and 7 in Wales.

*(Northern) Fulmar, "Fulmarus glacialis"
*Cory's Shearwater, "Calonectris diomedea" WR
*Great Shearwater, "Puffinus gravis" WR
*Sooty Shearwater, "Puffinus griseus"
*Manx Shearwater, "Puffinus puffinus"
*Balearic Shearwater, "Puffinus mauretanicus"
*Macaronesian Shearwater, "Puffinus baroli" BR


Order: ProcellariiformesFamily: Hydrobatidae

The storm-petrels are the smallest of seabirds, feeding on plankton and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. They nest in colonies on the ground, most often in burrows. There are about 20 species worldwide, 6 in Britain and 3 in Wales.

*Wilson's Storm-petrel, "Oceanites oceanicus" WR
*(European) Storm Petrel, "Hydrobates pelagicus"
*Leach's Storm-petrel, "Oceanodroma leucorrhoa"


Order: PelecaniformesFamily: Pelecanidae

Gannets are large seabirds that plunge-dive for fish and nest in large colonies. They have a torpedo-shaped body, long, narrow, pointed wings and a fairly long tail. There are about 10 species worldwide with 1 in Britain and Wales.

*(Northern) Gannet, "Morus bassanus"


Order: PelecaniformesFamily: Phalacrocoracidae

Cormorants are medium to large aquatic birds with mainly dark plumage and areas of coloured skin on the face. The bill is long, thin, and sharply hooked for catching fish and aquatic invertebrates. They nest in colonies, usually by the sea. There are about 39 species worldwide, 3 in Britain and 2 in Wales.

*(Great) Cormorant, "Phalacrocorax carbo"
*(European) Shag, "Phalacrocorax aristotelis"

Herons and bitterns

Order: CiconiiformesFamily: Ardeidae

Herons and egrets are medium to large wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter-necked and more secretive. They all fly with their necks retracted. The sharp bill is used to catch fish, amphibians and other animals. Many species nest in colonies, often in trees. There are about 63 species worldwide, 12 in Britain and 11 in Wales.

*(Great) Bittern, "Botaurus stellaris"
*American Bittern, "Botaurus lentiginosus" BR
*Little Bittern, "Ixobrychus minutus" BR
*(Black-crowned) Night Heron, "Nycticorax nycticorax" WR
*Green Heron, "Butorides virescens" BR [First recorded October 2005 (WRP 2006)]
*Squacco Heron, "Ardeola ralloides" BR
*Cattle Egret, "Bubulcus ibis" BR
*Little Egret, "Egretta garzetta"
*Great White Egret, "Ardea alba" WR
*Grey Heron, "Ardea cinerea"
*Purple Heron, "Ardea purpurea" WR


Order: CiconiiformesFamily: Ciconiidae

Storks are large, heavy, long-legged, long-necked wading birds with long stout bills and wide wingspans. They fly with the neck extended. There are about 19 species worldwide with 2 occurring as vagrants in Britain and Wales.

*Black Stork, "Ciconia nigra" BR
*White Stork, "Ciconia ciconia" WR

Ibises and spoonbills

Order: CiconiiformesFamily: Threskiornithidae

A family of long-legged, long-necked wading birds. Ibises have long, curved bills. Spoonbils have a flattened bill, wider at the tip. There are about 33 species worldwide with 2 in Britain and Wales.

*Glossy Ibis, "Plegadis falcinellus" BR
*(Eurasian) Spoonbill, "Platalea leucorodia"

Hawks and eagles

Order: AccipitriformesFamily: Accipitridae

A family of birds of prey which includes hawks, buzzards, eagles, kites and harriers. These birds have very large powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons and keen eyesight. There are about 240 species worldwide, 16 in Britain and 12 in Wales.

*(European) Honey Buzzard, "Pernis apivorus"
*Black Kite, "Milvus migrans" WR
*Red Kite, "Milvus milvus"
*White-tailed Eagle, "Haliaaetus albicilla" WR
*(Eurasian) Marsh Harrier, "Circus aeruginosus"
*Hen Harrier, "Circus cyaneus"
*Montagu's Harrier, "Circus pygargus" WR
*(Northern) Goshawk, "Accipiter gentilis"
*(Eurasian) Sparrowhawk, "Accipiter nisus"
*(Common) Buzzard, "Buteo buteo"
*Rough-legged Buzzard, "Buteo lagopus" WR
*Golden Eagle, "Aquila chrysaetos" WR


Order: AccipitriformesFamily: Pandionidae

A large fish-eating bird of prey belonging to a family of its own. It is mainly brown above and white below with long, angled wings. It is mainly a passage migrant in Wales but has recently begun to breed.

*Osprey, "Pandion haliaetus"


Order: FalconiformesFamily: Falconidae

A family of small to medium-sized, diurnal birds of prey with pointed wings. They do not build their own nests and mainly catch prey in the air. There are about 64 species worldwide, 9 in Britain and 6 in Wales.

*(Common) Kestrel, "Falco tinnunculus"
*Red-footed Falcon, "Falco vespertinus" WR
*Merlin, "Falco columbarius"
*(Eurasian) Hobby, "Falco subbuteo"
*Gyr Falcon, "Falco rusticolus" BR
*Peregrine Falcon, "Falco peregrinus"


Order: GruiformesFamily: Rallidae

These birds mainly occupy dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, marshes, or rivers. Many are shy and secretive birds, difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs, and have long toes which are well adapted to soft, uneven surfaces. There are about 135 species worldwide, 11 in Britain and 8 in Wales.

*Water Rail, "Rallus aquaticus"
*Spotted Crake, "Porzana porzana" WR
*Sora, "Porzana carolina" BR
*Little Crake, "Porzana parva" BR
*Baillon's Crake, "Porzana pusilla" BR
*Corn Crake, "Crex crex" WR
*(Common) Moorhen, "Gallinula chloropus"
*(Common) Coot, "Fulica atra"


Order: GruiformesFamily: Gruidae

Cranes are large, long-legged and long-necked birds. Unlike the similar-looking but unrelated herons, cranes fly with necks outstretched, not pulled back. Most have elaborate and noisy courting displays or "dances". There are about 15 species worldwide, 2 in Britain and 1 in Wales.

*(Common) Crane, "Grus grus" WR


Order: GruiformesFamily: Otididae

Large, sturdy birds of open plains with long legs and necks and strong feet. There are about 26 species worldwide, 3 in Britain and 2 in Wales.

*Little Bustard, "Tetrax tetrax" BR
*Great Bustard, "Otis tarda" BR


Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Haematopodidae

The oystercatchers are large, obvious and noisy wading birds with strong bills used for smashing or prising open molluscs. There are about 11 species worldwide with 1 in Britain and Wales.

*(Eurasian) Oystercatcher, "Haematopus ostralegus"

Avocets and stilts

Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Recurvirostridae

A family of fairly large wading birds. The avocets have long legs and long up-curved bills. The stilts have extremely long legs and long, thin, straight bills. There are about 10 species worldwide with 2 in Britain and Wales.

*Black-winged Stilt, "Himantopus himantopus" BR
*(Pied) Avocet, "Recurvirostra avosetta"


Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Burhinidae

A small family of medium to large waders with strong black bills, large yellow eyes and cryptic plumage. There are 9 species worldwide with 1 in Britain and Wales.

*Stone Curlew, "Burhinus oedicnemus" WR

Pratincoles and coursers

Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Glareolidae

A family of slender, long-winged wading birds. There are 17 species worldwide, 4 in Britain and 3 in Wales.

*Cream-coloured Courser, "Cursorius cursor" BR
*Collared Pratincole, "Glareola pratincola" BR
*Black-winged Pratincole, "Glareola nordmanni" BR


Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Charadriidae

Small to medium-sized wading birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings. There are about 66 species worldwide, 16 in Britain and 12 in Wales.

*Little Ringed Plover, "Charadrius dubius"
*Ringed Plover, "Charadrius hiaticula"
*Killdeer, "Charadrius vociferus" BR
*Kentish Plover, "Charadrius alexandrinus" WR
*Greater Sand Plover, "Charadrius leschenaultii" BR
*(Eurasian) Dotterel, "Charadrius morinellus"
*American Golden Plover, "Pluvialis dominica" WR
*Pacific Golden Plover, "Pluvialis fulva" BR
*(European) Golden Plover, "Pluvialis apricaria"
*Grey Plover, "Pluvialis squatarola"
*Sociable Lapwing, "Vanellus gregarius" BR
*(Northern) Lapwing, "Vanellus vanellus"

Sandpipers, snipe and phalaropes

Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Scolopacidae

A large, diverse family of wading birds. Different lengths of legs and bills enable different species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food. There are about 89 species worldwide, 53 in Britain and 44 in Wales.

*(Red) Knot, "Calidris canutus"
*Sanderling, "Calidris alba"
*Semipalmated Sandpiper, "Calidris pusilla" BR
*Little Stint, "Calidris minuta"
*Temminck's Stint, "Calidris temminckii" WR
*Least Sandpiper, "Calidris minutilla" BR
*White-rumped Sandpiper, "Calidris fuscicollis" WR
*Baird's Sandpiper, "Calidris bairdii" BR
*Pectoral Sandpiper, "Calidris melanotos" WR
*Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, "Calidris acuminata" BR
*Curlew Sandpiper, "Calidris ferruginea"
*Stilt Sandpiper, "Calidris himantopus" BR [First recorded July 2006 (WRP 2007)]
*Purple Sandpiper, "Calidris maritima"
*Dunlin, "Calidris alpina"
*Broad-billed Sandpiper, "Limicola falcinellus" BR
*Buff-breasted Sandpiper, "Tryngites subruficollis" WR
*Ruff, "Philomachus pugnax"
*Jack Snipe, "Lymnocryptes minimus"
*(Common) Snipe, "Gallinago gallinago"
*Great Snipe, "Gallinago minima" BR
*Long-billed Dowitcher, "Limnodromus scolopaceus" BR
*(Eurasian) Woodcock, "Scolopax rusticola"
*Black-tailed Godwit, "Limosa limosa"
*Bar-tailed Godwit, "Limosa lapponica"
*Little Curlew, "Numenius minutus" BR
*Whimbrel, "Numenius phaeopus"
*(Eurasian) Curlew, "Numenius arquata"
*Upland Sandpiper, "Bartramia longicauda" BR
*Terek Sandpiper, "Xenus cinerea" BR
*Common Sandpiper, "Actitis hypoleucos"
*Spotted Sandpiper, "Tringa macularius" BR
*Green Sandpiper, "Tringa ochropus"
*Grey-tailed Tattler, "Heteroscelus brevipes" BR
*Spotted Redshank, "Tringa erythropus"
*Greater Yellowlegs, "Tringa melanoleuca" BR
*(Common) Greenshank, "Tringa nebularia"
*Lesser Yellowlegs, "Tringa flavipes" BR
*Marsh Sandpiper, "Tringa stagnatilis" BR
*Wood Sandpiper, "Tringa glareola"
*(Common) Redshank, "Tringa totanus"
*(Ruddy) Turnstone, "Arenaria interpres"
*Wilson's Phalarope, "Phalaropus tricolor" BR
*Red-necked Phalarope, "Phalaropus lobatus" WR
*Grey Phalarope, "Phalaropus fulicarius"


Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Stercorariidae

Medium to large seabirds with mainly grey or brown plumage, sharp claws and a hooked tip to the bill. They chase other seabirds to force them to drop their catches. There are about 7 species worldwide with 4 in Britain and Wales.

*Pomarine Skua, "Stercorarius pomarinus"
*Arctic Skua, "Stercorarius parasiticus"
*Long-tailed Skua, "Stercorarius longicaudus"
*Great Skua, "Stercorarius skua"


Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Laridae

Medium to large seabirds with grey, white and black plumage, webbed feet and strong bills. Many are opportunistic and adaptable feeders. There are about 56 species worldwide, 23 in Britain and 18 in Wales.

*Ivory Gull, "Pagophila eburnea" BR
*Sabine's Gull, "Larus sabini"
*(Black-legged) Kittiwake, "Rissa tridactyla"
*Bonaparte's Gull, "Larus philadelphia" BR
*Black-headed Gull, "Larus ridibundus"
*Little Gull, "Larus minutus"
*Ross's Gull, "Rhodostethia rosea" BR
*Laughing Gull, "Larus atricilla" BR
*Franklin's Gull, "Larus pipixcan" BR
*Mediterranean Gull, "Larus melanocephalus"
*Common Gull (Mew Gull), "Larus canus"
*Ring-billed Gull, "Larus delawarensis"
*Lesser Black-backed Gull, "Larus fuscus"
*Herring Gull, "Larus argentatus"
*Yellow-legged Gull, "Larus michahellis"
*Iceland Gull, "Larus glaucoides"
*Glaucous Gull, "Larus hyperboreus"
*Great Black-backed Gull, "Larus marinus"


Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Sternidae

Terns are slender seabirds with long, pointed wings, a pointed bill and a tail which is usually forked. There are about 44 species worldwide, 16 in Britain and 15 in Wales.

*Sooty Tern, "Onychoprion fuscata" BR
*Bridled Tern, "Onychoprion anaethetus" BR
*Little Tern, "Sternula albifrons"
*Gull-billed Tern, "Gelochelidon nilotica" BR
*Caspian Tern, "Hydroprogne caspia" BR
*Whiskered Tern, "Chlidonias hybrida"
*Black Tern, "Chlidonias niger"
*White-winged Black Tern, "Chlidonias leucoptera" WR
*Sandwich Tern, "Sterna sandvicensis"
*Royal Tern, "Sterna maxima" BR
*Lesser Crested Tern, "Sterna bengalensis" BR
*Forster's Tern, "Sterna forsteri" BR
*Common Tern, "Sterna hirundo"
*Roseate Tern, "Sterna dougallii"
*Arctic Tern, "Sterna paradisaea"


Order: CharadriiformesFamily: Alcidae

A family of seabirds which are superficially similar to penguins with their black-and-white colours, their upright posture and some of their habits but which are able to fly . There are about 23 species worldwide, 9 in Britain and 5 in Wales.

*(Common) Guillemot, "Uria aalge"
*Razorbill, "Alca torda"
*Black Guillemot, "Cepphus grylle"
*Little Auk, "Alle alle"
*(Atlantic) Puffin, "Fratercula arctica"


Order: PteroclidiformesFamily: Pteroclididae

Sturdy, medium-sized birds with a small head and long, pointed wings. There are 16 species worldwide. 1 has occurred as a vagrant in Britain and Wales.

*Pallas's Sandgrouse, "Syrrhaptes paradoxus" BR

Pigeons and doves

Order: ColumbiformesFamily: Columbidae

Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere. There are about 308 species worldwide, 7 in Britain and 5 in Wales.

*Rock Dove (Rock Pigeon), "Columba livia"
*Stock Dove (Stock Pigeon), "Columba oenas"
*(Common) Woodpigeon, "Columba palumbus"
*(Eurasian) Collared Dove, "Streptopelia decaocto"
*(European) Turtle Dove, "Streptopelia turtur"


Order: PsittaciformesFamily: Psittacidae

Parrots are small to large birds with a characteristic curved beak shape. They are found mainly in areas with warm climates. There are about 347 species worldwide with 1 introduced species in Britain and Wales.

*Ring-necked Parakeet (Rose-ringed Parakeet), "Psittacula krameri" I


Order: CuculiformesFamily: Cuculidae

Birds of variable size with slender bodies and long tails. Some species are known for laying their eggs in the nests of other birds. There are about 141 species worldwide, 4 in Britain and 3 in Wales.

*Great Spotted Cuckoo, "Clamator glandarius" BR
*(Common) Cuckoo, "Cuculus canorus"
*Yellow-billed Cuckoo, "Coccyzus americanus" BR

=Barn owls=

Order: StrigiformesFamily: Tytonidae

Barn owls are medium-sized to large owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons. There are about 16 species worldwide with 1 in Britain and Wales.

*Barn Owl, "Tyto alba"

Typical owls

Order: StrigiformesFamily: Strigidae

Typical owls are small to large solitary nocturnal birds of prey. They have large forward-facing eyes and ears, a hawk-like beak and a conspicuous circle of feathers around each eye called a facial disc. There are about 199 species worldwide, 8 in Britain and 6 in Wales.

*(Eurasian) Scops Owl, "Otus scops" BR
*Snowy Owl, "Bubo scandiaca" BR
*Little Owl, "Athene noctua" I
*Tawny Owl, "Strix aluco"
*Long-eared Owl, "Asio otus"
*Short-eared Owl, "Asio flammeus"


Order: CaprimulgiformesFamily: Caprimulgidae

Nightjars are medium-sized nocturnal birds with long wings, short legs and very short bills that usually nest on the ground. Their soft plumage is cryptically coloured to resemble bark or leaves. There are about 91 species worldwide, 4 in Britain and 2 in Wales.

*(European) Nightjar, "Caprimulgus europaeus"
*Common Nighthawk, "Chordeiles minor" BR


Order: ApodiformesFamily: Apodidae

The swifts are small aerial birds, spending the majority of their lives flying. These birds have very short legs and never settle voluntarily on the ground, perching instead only on vertical surfaces. There are about 100 species worldwide, 7 in Britain and 5 in Wales.

*Chimney Swift, Chaetura pelagica BR [First recorded November 2005 (WRP 2006)]
*(Common) Swift, "Apus apus"
*Pallid Swift, "Apus pallidus" BR
*Alpine Swift, "Apus melba" WR
*Little Swift, "Apus affinis" BR


Order: CoraciiformesFamily: Alcedinidae

Kingfishers are medium sized birds with large heads, long pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails. There are about 93 species worldwide, 2 in Britain and 1 in Wales.

*(Common) Kingfisher, "Alcedo atthis"


Order: CoraciiformesFamily: Meropidae

A group of near-passerine birds characterised by richly-coloured plumage, slender bodies and usually elongated central tail-feathers. There are about 26 species worldwide, 2 in Britain and 1 in Wales.

*(European) Bee-eater, "Merops apiaster" WR


Order: CoraciiformesFamily: Coraciidae

A small family of colourful, medium-sized birds with a crow-like shape that feed mainly on insects. There are about 12 species worldwide with 1 in Britain and Wales.

*(European) Roller, "Coracias garrulus" BR


Order: CoraciiformesFamily: Upupidae

A distinctive bird in its own family with a long curved bill, a crest and black-and-white striped wings and tail.

*Hoopoe, "Upupa epops"


Order: PiciformesFamily: Picidae

Woodpeckers are small to medium-sized birds with chisel-like beaks, short legs, stiff tails and long tongues used for capturing insects. Many woodpeckers have the habit of tapping noisily on tree trunks with their beaks. There are about 219 species worldwide, 5 in Britain and 4 in Wales.

*(Eurasian) Wryneck, "Jynx tranquila"
*Green Woodpecker, "Picus viridis"
*Great Spotted Woodpecker, "Dendrocopos major"
*Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, "Dendrocopos minor"


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Alaudidae

Larks are small terrestrial birds with often extravagant songs and display flights. Most larks are fairly dull in appearance. Their food is insects and seeds. There are about 96 species worldwide, 10 in Britain and 6 in Wales.

*Black Lark, "Melanocorypha yeltoniensis" BR
*(Greater) Short-toed Lark, "Calandrella brachydactyla" WR
*Crested Lark, "Galerida cristata" BR
*Woodlark, "Lullula arborea" WR
*Skylark, "Alauda arvensis"
*Shore Lark (Horned Lark), "Eremophila alpestris" WR

Swallows and martins

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Hirundinidae

A group of passerines characterized by their adaptation to aerial feeding. Their adaptations include a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings and short bills with wide gape. There are about 83 species worldwide, 8 in Britain and 5 in Wales.

*Sand Martin, "Riparia riparia"
*(Eurasian) Crag Martin, "Ptyonoprogne rupestris" BR
*(Barn) Swallow, "Hirundo rustica"
*House Martin, "Delichon urbicum"
*Red-rumped Swallow, "Cecropis daurica" WR

Wagtails and pipits

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Motacillidae

The Motacillidae are a family of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They are slender, ground-feeding insectivores of open country. There are about 66 species worldwide, 15 in Britain and 13 in Wales.

*Richard's Pipit, "Anthus richardi"
*Blyth's Pipit, "Anthus godlewskii" BR [First recorded October 2005 (WRP 2006)]
*Tawny Pipit, "Anthus campestris" WR
*Olive-backed Pipit, "Anthus hodgsoni" BR
*Tree Pipit, "Anthus trivialis"
*Meadow Pipit, "Anthus pratensis"
*Red-throated Pipit, "Anthus cervinus" WR
*Rock Pipit, "Anthus petrosus"
*Water Pipit, "Anthus spinoletta"
*Yellow Wagtail, "Motacilla flava"
*Citrine Wagtail, "Motacilla citreola" BR
*Grey Wagtail, "Motacilla cinerea"
*Pied Wagtail (White Wagtail), "Motacilla alba"


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Bombycillidae

The waxwings are a group of passerine birds characterised by soft, silky plumage and unique red tips to some of the wing feathers. There are 3 species worldwide, 2 in Britain and 1 in Wales.

*(Bohemian) Waxwing, "Bombycilla garrulus"


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Cinclidae

Dark, dumpy, aquatic birds that are able to forage for food on the beds of rivers. There are 5 species worldwide with 1 in Britain and Wales.

*(White-throated) Dipper, "Cinclus cinclus"


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Troglodytidae

Wrens are small and inconspicuous birds, except for their loud songs. They have short wings and a thin down-turned bill. There are about 80 species worldwide with 1 in Britain and Wales.

*(Winter) Wren, "Troglodytes troglodytes"


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Mimidae

Medium-sized passerine birds with long tails. Some are notable for their ability to mimic sounds such as other birds’ songs. There are about 35 species worldwide. 3 have occurred as vagrants in Britain and 1 in Wales.

*Grey Catbird, "Dumetella carolinensis" BR


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Prunellidae

A small family of drab, unobtrusive, insectivorous birds with thin, pointed bills. There are 13 species worldwide with 2 in Britain and Wales.

*Dunnock, "Prunella modularis"
*Alpine Accentor, "Prunella collaris" BR

Thrushes and chats

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Turdidae

The thrushes and chats are plump, soft-plumaged, small to medium-sized insectivores or sometimes omnivores, often feeding on the ground. Many have attractive songs. There are about 331 species worldwide including the chats, 42 in Britain and 29 in Wales.

*(European) Robin, "Erithacus rubecula"
*Thrush Nightingale, "Luscinia luscinia" BR
*(Common) Nightingale, "Luscinia megarhynchos" WR
*Bluethroat, "Luscinia svecica" WR
*White-throated Robin, "Irania gutturalis" BR
*Black Redstart, "Phoenicurus ochruros"
*(Common) Redstart, "Phoenicurus phoenicurus"
*Moussier's Redstart, "Phoenicurus moussieri" BR
*Whinchat, "Saxicola rubetra"
*Stonechat, "Saxicola torquata"
*Isabelline Wheatear, "Oenanthe isabellina" BR
*(Northern) Wheatear, "Oenanthe oenanthe"
*Pied Wheatear, "Oenanthe pleschanka" BR
*Black-eared Wheatear, "Oenanthe hispanica" BR
*Desert Wheatear, "Oenanthe deserti" BR
*(Rufous-tailed) Rock Thrush, "Monticola saxatilis" BR
*Blue Rock Thrush, "Monticola solitarius" BR
*Swainson's Thrush, "Catharus ustulatus" BR
*Grey-cheeked Thrush, "Catharus minimus" BR
*Ring Ouzel, "Turdus torquatus"
*(Common) Blackbird, "Turdus merula"
*Eyebrowed Thrush, "Turdus obscurus" BR
*Dusky Thrush, "Turdus naumanni" BR
*Dark-throated Thrush, "Turdus ruficollis" BR [First recorded December 2005 (WRP 2006)]
*Fieldfare, "Turdus pilaris"
*Song Thrush, "Turdus philomelos"
*Redwing, "Turdus iliacus"
*Mistle Thrush, "Turdus viscivorus"
*American Robin, "Turdus viscivorus" BR

Old World warblers

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Sylviidae

A group of small, insectivorous passerine birds. Most are of generally undistinguished appearance, but many have distinctive songs. There are about 408 species worldwide, 49 in Britain and 37 in Wales.

*Cetti's Warbler, "Cettia cetti"
*Lanceolated Warbler, "Locustella lanceolata" BR
*(Common) Grasshopper Warbler, "Locustella naevia"
*River Warbler, "Locustella fluviatilis" BR
*Savi's Warbler, "Locustella luscinioides " BR
*Aquatic Warbler, "Acrocephalus paludicola" WR
*Sedge Warbler, "Acrocephalus schoenobaenus"
*Paddyfield Warbler, "Acrocephalus agricola" BR
*Blyth's Reed Warbler, "Acrocephalus dumetorum" BR [First recorded October 2006 (WRP 2007)]
*Marsh Warbler, "Acrocephalus palustris" WR
*(Eurasian) Reed Warbler, "Acrocephalus scirpaceus"
*Great Reed Warbler, "Acrocephalus arundinaceus" BR
*Booted Warbler, "Hippolais caligata" BR
*Icterine Warbler, "Hippolais icterina" WR
*Melodious Warbler, "Hippolais polyglotta" WR
*Blackcap, "Sylvia atricapilla"
*Garden Warbler, "Sylvia borin"
*Barred Warbler, "Sylvia nisoria" WR
*Lesser Whitethroat, "Sylvia curruca"
*(Common) Whitethroat, "Sylvia communis"
*Dartford Warbler, "Sylvia undata"
*Rüppell's Warbler, "Sylvia rueppelli" BR
*Subalpine Warbler, "Sylvia cantillans" WR
*Sardinian Warbler, "Sylvia melanocephala" BR
*Greenish Warbler, "Phylloscopus trochiloides" WR
*Arctic Warbler, "Phylloscopus borealis" BR
*Pallas's Warbler (Pallas’s Leaf Warbler), "Phylloscopus proregulus" WR
*Yellow-browed Warbler, "Phylloscopus inornatus"
*Hume's Leaf Warbler, "Phylloscopus humei" BR
*Radde's Warbler, "Phylloscopus schwarzi" WR
*Dusky Warbler, "Phylloscopus fuscatus" WR
*Western Bonelli's Warbler, "Phylloscopus bonelli" BR
*Wood Warbler, "Phylloscopus sibalatrix"
*(Common) Chiffchaff, "Phylloscopus collybita"
*Willow Warbler, "Phylloscopus trochilus"
*Goldcrest, "Regulus regulus"
*Firecrest, "Regulus ignicapilla"

Old World flycatchers

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Muscicapidae

The flycatchers are small birds that fly out from a perch to catch insects in the air. There are about 120 species worldwide, 5 in Britain and 4 in Wales.

*Spotted Flycatcher, "Muscicapa striata"
*Red-breasted Flycatcher, "Ficedula parva" WR
*Collared Flycatcher, "Ficedula albicollis" BR
*Pied Flycatcher, "Ficedula hypoleuca"


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Timaliidae

Babblers are a large and varied group of small to medium-sized passerine birds. There are about 294 species worldwide including the parrotbills with 1 in Britain and Wales.

*Bearded Tit, "Panurus biarmicus" WR

Long-tailed tits

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Aegithalidae

Small, long-tailed birds that typically live in flocks for much of the year. There are 8 species worldwide with 1 in Britain and Wales.

*Long-tailed Tit, "Aegithalos caudatus"


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Paridae

Tits are mainly small, stocky, woodland species with short stout bills. They are adaptable birds, with a mixed diet including seeds and insects. There are about 59 species worldwide, 6 in Britain and 5 in Wales.

*Blue Tit, "Cyanistes caeruleus"
*Great Tit, "Parus major"
*Coal Tit, "Periparus ater"
*Willow Tit, "Poecile montana"
*Marsh Tit, "Poecile palustris"


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Sittidae

Nuthatches are small woodland birds with the unusual ability to climb down trees head-first, unlike other birds which can only go upwards. There are about 24 species worldwide, 2 in Britain and 1 in Wales.

*(Wood) Nuthatch, "Sitta europaea"


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Certhiidae

Treecreepers are small woodland birds, brown above and white below. They have thin, pointed, down-curved bills, which they use to extricate insects from bark. There are 7 species worldwide, 2 in Britain and 1 in Wales.

*(Eurasian) Treecreeper, "Certhia familiaris"

Penduline tits

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Remizidae

Small birds with finely-pointed bills that build purse-like nests hanging from a branch. There are about 13 species worldwide with 1 in Britain and Wales.

*(Eurasian) Penduline Tit, "Remiz pendulinus" BR


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Oriolidae

Orioles are colourful, medium-sized passerine birds with far-carrying, fluting songs. There are about 30 species worldwide with 1 in Britain and Wales.

*(Eurasian) Golden Oriole, "Oriolus oriolus" WR


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Laniidae

Shrikes are passerine birds known for their habit of catching other birds and small animals and impaling the uneaten portions of their bodies on thorns. A typical shrike's beak is hooked, like a bird of prey. There are about 30 species worldwide, 9 in Britain and 5 in Wales.

*Isabelline Shrike, "Lanius isabellinus" BR
*Red-backed Shrike, "Lanius collurio" WR
*Lesser Grey Shrike, "Lanius minor" BR
*Great Grey Shrike, "Lanius excubitor"
*Woodchat Shrike, "Lanius senator" WR


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Corvidae

The crows and their relatives are fairly large birds with strong bills and are usually intelligent and adaptable. There are about 119 species worldwide with 9 in Britain and Wales.

*(Eurasian) Jay, "Garrulus glandarius"
*(Black-billed) Magpie, "Pica pica"
*(Spotted) Nutcracker, "Nucifraga caryocatactes" BR
*(Red-billed) Chough, "Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax"
*(Eurasian) Jackdaw, "Corvus monedula"
*Rook, "Corvus frugilegus"
*Carrion Crow, "Corvus corone"
*Hooded Crow, "Corvus cornix"
*(Common) Raven, "Corvus corax"


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Sturnidae

Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds with strong feet. Their flight is strong and direct and most are very gregarious.There are about 114 species worldwide with 2 in Britain and Wales.

*(Common) Starling, "Sturnus vulgaris"
*Rosy Starling, "Sturnus roseus" WR


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Passeridae

Sparrows tend to be small, plump, brownish or greyish birds with short tails and short, powerful beaks. They are seed-eaters and they also consume small insects. There are about 38 species worldwide, 4 in Britain and 3 in Wales.

*House Sparrow "Passer domesticus"
*Spanish Sparrow, "Passer hispaniolensis" BR
*(Eurasian) Tree Sparrow, "Passer montanus"


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Vireonidae

The vireos are a group of small to medium sized passerine birds restricted to the New World. There are about 52 species worldwide. 3 have occurred as vagrants in Britain and 1 in Wales.

*Red-eyed Vireo, "Vireo olivaceus" BR


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Fringillidae

Seed-eating passerine birds that are small to moderately large and have a strong beak, usually conical and in some species very large. There are about 176 species worldwide, 21 in Britain and 16 in Wales.

*Chaffinch, "Fringilla coelebs"
*Brambling, "Fringilla montifringilla"
*(European) Serin, "Serinus serinus" WR
*(European) Greenfinch, "Carduelis chloris"
*(European) Goldfinch, "Carduelis carduelis"
*(Eurasian) Siskin, "Carduelis spinus"
*(Common) Linnet, "Carduelis cannabina"
*Twite, "Carduelis flavirostris"
*Lesser Redpoll, "Carduelis cabaret"
*Common Redpoll, "Carduelis flammea" WR
*Arctic Redpoll, "Carduelis hornemanni" WR
*Two-barred Crossbill, "Loxia leucoptera" BR
*(Common) Crossbill, "Loxia curvirostris"
*Common Rosefinch, "Carpodacus erythrinus" WR
*(Common) Bullfinch, "Pyrrhula pyrrhula"
*Hawfinch, "Coccothraustes coccothraustes"

New World warblers

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Panuridae

A group of small, often colourful passerine birds restricted to the New World. Most are arboreal and insectivorous. There are about 118 species worldwide. 18 have occurred as vagrants in Britain and 6 in Wales.

*Black-and-white Warbler, "Mniotilta varia" BR
*Yellow Warbler, "Dendroica petechia" BR
*Blackburnian Warbler, "Dendroica fusca" BR
*Yellow-rumped Warbler, "Dendroica coronata" BR
*Blackpoll Warbler, "Dendroica striata" BR
*Common Yellowthroat, "Geothlypas trichas" BR


Order: PasseriformesFamily: Thraupidae

The tanagers are a large group of small to medium-sized passerine birds restricted to the New World, mainly in the tropics. Many species are brightly coloured. There are about 226 species worldwide. 2 have occurred as vagrants in Britain and 1 in Wales.

*Summer Tanager, "Piranga rubra" BR

Buntings and New World sparrows

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Emberizidae

The Emberizidae are a large family of seed-eating passerine birds with a distinctively-shaped bill. There are about 372 species worldwide, 27 in Britain and 18 in Wales.

*Song Sparrow, "Melospiza melodia" BR
*White-throated Sparrow, "Zonotrichia albicollis" BR
*Dark-eyed Junco, "Junco hyemalis" BR
*Lapland Bunting (Lapland Longspur), "Calcarius lapponicus"
*Snow Bunting, "Plectrophenax nivalis"
*Pine Bunting, "Emberiza leucocephalos" BR
*Yellowhammer, "Emberiza citrinella"
*Cirl Bunting, "Emberiza cirlus" WR
*Rock Bunting, "Emberiza cia" BR
*Ortolan Bunting, "Emberiza hortulana" WR
*Rustic Bunting, "Emberiza rustica" WR
*Little Bunting, "Emberiza pusilla" WR
*Yellow-breasted Bunting, "Emberiza aureola" BR
*Reed Bunting, "Emberiza schoeniclus"
*Black-headed Bunting, "Emberiza melanocephala" BR
*Corn Bunting, "Emberiza calandra" WR
*Rose-breasted Grosbeak, "Pheucticus ludovicianus" BR
*Indigo Bunting, "Passerina cyanea" BR

New World orioles and New World blackbirds

Order: PasseriformesFamily: Icteridae

A group of small to medium, often colourful passerine birds restricted to the New World. There are about 101 species worldwide. 3 have occurred as vagrants in Britain and 2 in Wales.

*Bobolink, "Dolichonyx oryzivorus" BR
*Baltimore Oriole, "Icterus galbula" BR

ee also

*List of birds of Great Britain
*British avifauna
*Lists of birds by region



*British Birds Rarities Committee (2006) " [ BBRC says goodbye to birders favourites] ". Accessed 22/04/08.
*British Ornithologists' Union (2008) " [ The British List: the official list of bird species recorded in Great Britain.] ". Accessed 22/04/08.
*Clements, James F. (2007) "The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World", 6th ed., Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York.
*Dudley, Steve P.; Mike Gee; Chris Kehoe; Tim M. Melling; The British Ornithologists’ Union Records Committee (BOURC) (2006) [ The British List: A Checklist of Birds of Britain (7th edition)] , "Ibis", 148 (3): 526–563.
*Evans, Ceri (2003) " [ Intorduction to the species audit for Wales (phase 2) and species groups] ". Accessed 22/04/08.
*Green, Jonathan (2002) "Birds in Wales 1992-2000", Welsh Ornithological Society.
*Lovegrove, Roger; Graham Williams & Iolo Williams (1994) "Birds in Wales", T & AD Poyser Ltd, London.
*O'Shea, Brian (2000) "In Search of Birds in Wales", Skylark Books, Aberystwyth.
*Perrins, Christopher, "ed." (2004) "The New Encyclopedia of Birds", Oxford University Press, Oxford.
*Prater & Thorpe (2006) " [ Welsh Species List] ". Accessed 22/04/08.
*Pugh, Elfyn (2005) [ The Red Kite] , "Birds of Britain". Accessed 22/04/08.
*Rogers, M. J. & the British Birds Rarities Committee (2004) [ Report on Rare birds in Great Britain in 2003] , "British Birds", 97:564.
*Snow, D. W. & Perrins, C. M. (1998) "Birds of the Western Palearctic: Concise Edition", Vol. 2, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
*Tipling, David (1996) "Top Birding Spots in Britain & Ireland", HarperCollins, London.
*Welsh Records Panel (2006) " [ Scarce and rare birds in Wales 2005] ". Accessed 22/04/08.
*Welsh Records Panel (2007) " [ Scarce and rare birds in Wales 2006] ". Accessed 22/04/08.

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