Birds

A collection of birds commonly seen on our hikes for quick identification.

All text and pictures sourced from the RSPB.

https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife

Greenfinch

Carduelis Chloris

Its twittering, wheezing song and flash of yellow and green as it flies, make this finch a truly colourful character.

Chaffinch

Fringilla Coelebs

The chaffinch is one of the most widespread and abundant bird in Britian and Ireland. Its patterned plumage helps it to blend in when feeding on the ground and it becomes most obvious when it flies, revealing a flash of white on the wings and white outer tail feathers.

Starling

Sturnus Vulgaris

Smaller than blackbirds, with a short tail, pointed head, triangular wings, starlings look black at a distance but when seen closer they are very glossy with a sheen of purples and greens.

Jackdaw

Corvus Monedula

This is a small, black crow with a distinctive silvery sheen to the back of its head. The pale eyes are also noticeable.

Nuthatch

Sitta Europaea

The nuthatch is a plump bird about the size of a great tit that resembles a small woodpecker. It is blue-grey above and whitish below, with chestnut on its sides and under its tail.

Blue Tit

Cyanistes Caeruleus

A colourful mix of blue, yellow, white and green makes the blue tit one of our most attractive and most recognisable garden visitors.

Blackbird

Turdus Merula

The males live up to their name but, confusingly, females are brown often with spots and streaks on their breasts. The bright orange-yellow beak and eye-ring make adult male blackbirds one of the most striking garden birds.

Green Woodpecker

Picus Viridis

The green woodpecker is the largest of the three woodpeckers that breed in Britain. It has a heavy-looking body, short tail and a strong, long bill.

Woodpigeon

Columba Palumbus

The UK's largest and commonest pigeon, the woodpigeon is largely grey with a white neck patch and white wing patches, clearly visible in flight.

Black-headed Gull

Chroicocephalus Ridibundus

Not really a black-headed bird, more chocolate-brown - in fact, for much of the year, it has a white head. It is most definitely not a 'seagull' and is found commonly almost anywhere inland. Black-headed gulls are sociable, quarrelsome, noisy birds, usually seen in small groups or flocks, often gathering into larger parties where there is plenty of food, or when they are roosting.

Kestrel

Falco Tinnunculus

Kestrels are a familiar sight with their pointed wings and long tail, hovering beside a roadside verge. Numbers of kestrels declined in the 1970s, probably as a result of changes in farming and so it is included on the Amber List.

Buzzard

Buteo Buteo

Now the commonest and most widespread UK bird of prey. The buzzard is quite large with broad, rounded wings, and a short neck and tail. When gliding and soaring it will often hold its wings in a shallow 'V' and the tail is fanned.

Pheasant

Phasianus Colchicus

Pheasants are large, long-tailed gamebirds. The males have rich chestnut, golden-brown and black markings on their bodies and tails, with a dark green head and red face wattling. Females are mottled with paler brown and black.

Robin

Erithacus Rubecula

The UK's favourite bird - with its bright red breast it is familiar throughout the year and especially at Christmas! Males and females look identical, and young birds have no red breast and are spotted with golden brown.

Moorhen

Gallinula Chloropus

Moorhens are blackish with a red and yellow beak and long, green legs. Seen closer-up, they have a dark brown back and wings and a more bluish-black belly, with white stripes on the flanks.

Coot

Fulica Atra

All-black and larger than its cousin, the moorhen, the coot has a distinctive white beak and 'shield' above the beak which earns it the title 'bald'. Its feet have distinctive lobed flaps of skin on the toes which act in the same way as webbed feet when swimming.

Mute Swan

Cygnus Olor

The mute swan is a very large white waterbird. It has a long S-shaped neck and an orange bill with a black base and a black knob. It flies with its neck extended and regular, slow wingbeats.

Goldfinch

Carduelis Carduelis

The goldfinch is a highly coloured finch with a bright red face and yellow wing patch. Sociable, often breeding in loose colonies, they have a delightful liquid twittering song and call.

House Sparrow

Passer Domesticus

Noisy and gregarious, these cheerful exploiters of man's rubbish and wastefulness have managed to colonise most of the world. The ultimate avian opportunist perhaps.

Rook

Corvus Frugilegus

Bare, greyish-white face, thinner beak and peaked head make it distinguishable from the carrion crow. Rooks are very sociable birds and you're not likely to see one on its own.

Magpie

Pica Pica

With its noisy chattering, black-and-white plumage and long tail, there is nothing else quite like the magpie in the UK. When seen close-up its black plumage takes on an altogether more colourful hue with a purplish-blue iridescent sheen to the wing feathers and a green gloss to the tail.

Great Tit

Parus Major

The largest UK tit - green and yellow with a striking glossy black head with white cheeks and a distinctive two-syllable song. It is a woodland bird which has readily adapted to man-made habitats to become a familiar garden visitor.

Coal Tit

Periparus Ater

Not as colourful as some of its relatives, the coal tit has a distinctive grey back, black cap, and white patch at the back of its neck. Its smaller, more slender bill than blue or great tits means it can feed more successfully in conifers.

Wren

Troglodytes Troglodytes

The wren is a tiny brown bird, although it is heavier and not as slim as the even smaller goldcrest. It is dumpy, almost rounded, with a fine bill, quite long legs and toes, very short round wings and a short, narrow tail which is sometimes cocked up vertically.

Ring-necked Parakeet

Psittacula Krameri

The UK's only naturalised parrot - it is large, long-tailed and green with a red beak and a pink and black ring around its face and neck. In flight it has pointed wings, a long tail and very steady, direct flight.

Rock dove

Columba Livia

The rock dove is the wild ancestor of domestic pigeons the world over, domesticated originally to provide food. Feral pigeons come in all shades, some bluer, others blacker - some are pale grey with darker chequered markings, others an unusual shade of dull brick-red or cinnamon-brown.

Oystercatcher

Haematopus Ostralegus

The oystercatcher is a large, stocky, black and white wading bird. It has a long, orange-red bill and reddish-pink legs. In flight it shows a wide, white wing-stripe, a black tail and a white rump that extends as a 'V' between the wings.

Red Kite

Milvus Milvus

This magnificently graceful bird of prey is unmistakable with its reddish-brown body, angled wings and deeply forked tail. It was saved from national extinction by one of the world's longest-running protection programmes.

Grey Heron

Ardea Cinerea

Grey herons are unmistakeable: tall, with long legs, a long beak and grey, black and white feathering. They can stand with their neck stretched out, looking for food, or hunched down with their neck bent over their chest.

Carrion Crow

Corvus Corone

The all-black carrion crow is one of the cleverest, most adaptable of our birds. It is often quite fearless, although it can be wary of man. They are fairly solitary, usually found alone or in pairs, although they may form occasional flocks.

Jay

Garrulus Glandarius

Although they are the most colourful members of the crow family, jays are actually quite difficult to see. They are shy woodland birds, rarely moving far from cover. The screaming call usually lets you know a jay is nearby and it is usually given when a bird is on the move, so watch for a bird flying between the trees with its distinctive flash of white on the rump.

Mallard

Anas Platyrhynchos

The mallard is a large and heavy looking duck. It has a long body, and a long and broad bill. The male has a dark green head, a yellow bill, is mainly purple-brown on the breast and grey on the body. The female is mainly brown with an orange bill.

Canada Goose

Branta Canadensis

The canada goose is a large goose, with a distinctive black head and neck and large white throat patch. An introduced species from North America, it has successfully spread to cover most of the UK.

©2018 by UCL Hiking Club.