kids encyclopedia robot

List of birds of Wales facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Milvus milvus R(ThKraft)
Red kite, often considered to be the national bird 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. 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). 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. 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.

Table of contents

See also        Footnotes        References

Ducks, geese and swans

Cygnus olor 2 (Marek Szczepanek)
A pair of mute swans, a resident bird of lowland waters
Branta bernicla flying(ThKraft)
Brent goose of the dark-bellied race B. b. bernicla, a winter visitor mainly to the Burry Inlet
Mallard, the commonest and most widespread duck
Somateria mollissima male.
Eider, small numbers winter around the coast and breeding was recorded for the first time in 1997.

Order: Anseriformes   Family: Anatidae

The swans, ducks and geese are medium to large birds that are adapted to 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.

Common name Binomial Status
Mute swan Cygnus olor
Bewick's 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 I
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) shoveller 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
(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


Lagopus lagopus scoticus 2
Red grouse, a rapidly declining resident of heather moorland

Order: Galliformes   Family: 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. There are about 19 species worldwide, 4 in Britain and 2 in Wales.

Common name Binomial Status
Red grouse Lagopus lagopus
Black grouse Tetrao tetrix

Pheasants and partridges

Order: Galliformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
Red-legged partridge Alectorix rufa I
Grey partridge Perdix perdix
(Common) quail Coturnix coturnix
(Common) pheasant Phasianus colchicus I
Golden pheasant Chrysolophus pictus I
Lady Amherst's pheasant Chrysolophus amherstiae I


Order: Gaviiformes   Family: Gaviidae

Divers are aquatic birds the size of a large duck, to which they are unrelated. They swim well and fly adequately but are almost hopeless on land, because their legs are placed towards the rear of the body. 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.

Common name Binomial Status
Red-throated diver Gavia stellata
Black-throated diver Gavia arctica
Great northern diver Gavia immer
White-billed diver Gavia adamsii BR


Little grebe, breeds locally on well-vegetated water bodies

Order: Podicipediformes   Family: 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 nest on a floating platform of vegetation. There are about 19 species worldwide with 6 in Britain and Wales.

Common name Binomial Status
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: Procellariiformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
Black-browed albatross Thalassarche melanophris BR

Petrels and shearwaters

Northern Fulmar
The fulmar first bred in Wales in the 1940s and is now common on sea cliffs.

Order: Procellariiformes   Family: 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 9 species which have been recorded in Wales.

Common name Binomial Status
(Northern) fulmar Fulmarus glacialis
Cory's shearwater Calonectris borealis WR
Great shearwater Ardenna gravis WR
Sooty shearwater Ardenna griseus
Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus
Balearic shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus
Macaronesian shearwater Puffinus baroli BR

Storm petrels

Order: Procellariiformes   Family: Hydrobatidae

The storm petrels are the smallest 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.

Common name Binomial Status
Wilson's storm petrel Oceanites oceanicus WR
(European) storm petrel Hydrobates pelagicus
Leach's storm petrel Oceanodroma leucorrhoa


Northern Gannet 2006 2
The gannet has a single major Welsh colony at Grassholm island, now with over 30,000 pairs.

Order: Suliformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
(Northern) gannet Morus bassanus


Order: Suliformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
(Great) cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
(European) shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis

Herons and bitterns

The little egret is a recent colonist that first bred in 2001.

Order: Pelecaniformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
(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
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

Ibises and spoonbills

Order: Pelecaniformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
Glossy ibis Plegadis falcinellus BR
(Eurasian) spoonbill Platalea leucorodia


Order: Ciconiiformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
Black stork Ciconia nigra BR
White stork Ciconia ciconia WR

Hawks and eagles

Buteo buteo 5 (Marek Szczepanek)
Buzzard, a common bird of prey which reaches high population densities in some areas.

Order: Accipitriformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
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: Accipitriformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
Osprey Pandion haliaetus


Falco peregrinus - 01
Peregrine falcons from Wales have been used in falconry since Medieval times.

Order: Falconiformes   Family: 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 name Binomial Status
(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: Gruiformes   Family: Rallidae

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

Common name Binomial Status
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: Gruiformes   Family: 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 name Binomial Status
(Common) crane Grus grus WR


Order: Otidiformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
Little bustard Tetrax tetrax BR
Great bustard Otis tarda BR


Haematopus ostralegus He
Oystercatcher, common in coastal areas.

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
(Eurasian) oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus

Avocets and stilts

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
Black-winged stilt Himantopus himantopus BR
(Pied) avocet Recurvirostra avosetta


Order: Charadriiformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
Stone curlew Burhinus oedicnemus WR

Pratincoles and coursers

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Glareolidae

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

Common name Binomial Status
Cream-coloured courser Cursorius cursor BR
Collared pratincole Glareola pratincola BR
Black-winged pratincole Glareola nordmanni BR


Kiebitz 050424ausschnitt
Lapwing, seriously declining as a breeding species.

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
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, snipes and phalaropes

Sanderling, a winter visitor and passage migrant, mainly on sandy shores
Gallinago gallinago 1 (Marek Szczepanek)
Snipe, declining like many breeding waders
Arenaria interpres
Turnstone, a non-breeding species but some are present on rocky coasts all year round.

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Scolopacidae

A large, diverse family of wading birds. Different lengths of legs and bills enable multiple species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food.

Common name Binomial Status
(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
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 Tringa 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: Charadriiformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
Pomarine skua Stercorarius pomarinus
Arctic skua Stercorarius parasiticus
Long-tailed skua Stercorarius longicaudus
Great skua Stercorarius skua


Ring-billed gull, the first British record of this American species was in Wales in 1973. It now occurs annually.

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
Ivory gull Pagophila eburnea BR
Sabine's gull Xema sabini
(Black-legged) kittiwake Rissa tridactyla
Bonaparte's gull Chroicocephalus philadelphia BR
Black-headed gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus
Little gull Hydrocoloeus minutus
Ross's gull Rhodostethia rosea BR
Laughing gull Leucophaeus atricilla BR
Franklin's gull Leucophaeus pipixcan BR
Mediterranean gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalus
Common 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


Koajisashi 05a2432s
Little tern, only a single colony remains in Wales at Gronant in the north-east.

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
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 Thalasseus sandvicensis
Royal tern Thalasseus maximus BR
Lesser crested tern Thalasseus bengalensis BR
Forster's tern Sterna forsteri BR
Common tern Sterna hirundo
Roseate tern Sterna dougallii
Arctic tern Sterna paradisaea


Puffin, breeds on islands and headlands; the largest colonies are on Skomer and Skokholm.

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: 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. Great auks are extinct.

Common name Binomial Status
(Common) guillemot Uria aalge
Razorbill Alca torda
Black guillemot Cepphus grylle
Little auk Alle alle
(Atlantic) puffin Fratercula arctica


Order: Pteroclidiformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
Pallas's sandgrouse Syrrhaptes paradoxus BR

Pigeons and doves

Collared dove, first recorded in 1959 and now a common resident.

Order: Columbiformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
Rock dove Columba livia
Stock dove Columba oenas
(Common) woodpigeon Columba palumbus
(Eurasian) collared dove Streptopelia decaocto
(European) turtle dove Streptopelia turtur


Order: Psittaciformes   Family: Psittaculidae

Common name Binomial Status
Ring-necked parakeet (rose-ringed parakeet) Psittacula krameri I


Order: Cuculiformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
Great spotted cuckoo Clamator glandarius BR
(Common) cuckoo Cuculus canorus
Yellow-billed cuckoo Coccyzus americanus BR

Barn owls

Barn-owl (Racheeo)
Barn owl, a scarce bird of farmland.

Order: Strigiformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
Barn owl Tyto alba

Typical owls

Order: Strigiformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
(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: Caprimulgiformes   Family: Caprimulgidae

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

Common name Binomial Status
(European) nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus
Common nighthawk Chordeiles minor BR


Order: Apodiformes   Family: Apodidae

The swifts are small birds which spend 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.

Common name Binomial Status
Chimney swift Chaetura pelagica BR
(Common) swift Apus apus
Pallid swift Apus pallidus BR
Alpine swift Apus melba WR
Little swift Apus affinis BR


Alcedo atthis 2 (Lukasz Lukasik)
Kingfisher, a colourful inhabitant of lowland waters

Order: Coraciiformes   Family: 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 name Binomial Status
(Common) kingfisher Alcedo atthis


Order: Coraciiformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
(European) bee-eater Merops apiaster WR


Order: Coraciiformes   Family: Coraciidae

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

Common name Binomial Status
(European) roller Coracias garrulus BR


Order: Coraciiformes   Family: Upupidae

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

Common name Binomial Status
Hoopoe Upupa epops


Picus viridis juv(ThKraft)
A young European green woodpecker, declining in many western areas

Order: Piciformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
(Eurasian) wryneck Jynx tranquila
European green woodpecker Picus viridis
Great spotted woodpecker Dendrocopos major
Lesser spotted woodpecker Dryobates minor


Order: Passeriformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
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 Eremophila alpestris WR

Swallows and martins

Swallow, a very widespread summer visitor breeding in every 10km square in Wales.

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Hirundinidae

The family Hirundinidae is adapted to aerial feeding. They have a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings and a short bill with a wide gape. There are about 83 species worldwide, 8 in Britain and 5 in Wales.

Common name Binomial Status
Sand martin Riparia riparia
(Eurasian) crag martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris BR
(Barn) swallow Hirundo rustica
(Common) house martin Delichon urbicum
Red-rumped swallow Cecropis daurica WR

Wagtails and pipits

Anthus triviallis (Marek Szczepanek)
Tree pipit, widely distributed across the country in summer.

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Motacillidae

Motacillidae is 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.

Common name Binomial Status
Richard's pipit Anthus richardi
Blyth's pipit Anthus godlewskii BR
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
(Eurasian) rock pipit Anthus petrosus
Water pipit Anthus spinoletta
(Western) yellow wagtail Motacilla flava
Citrine wagtail Motacilla citreola BR
Grey wagtail Motacilla cinerea
Pied wagtail Motacilla alba


Order: Passeriformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
(Bohemian) waxwing Bombycilla garrulus


Order: Passeriformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
(White-throated) dipper Cinclus cinclus


A wren at the nest. It is one of Wales' commonest birds, occurring in a wide variety of habitats.

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Troglodytidae

Wrens are small and inconspicuous birds, except for their loud songs. They have short wings and thin down-turned bills.

Common name Binomial Status
(Eurasian) wren Troglodytes troglodytes


Order: Passeriformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
Grey catbird Dumetella carolinensis BR


Order: Passeriformes   Family: Prunellidae

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

Common name Binomial Status
Dunnock Prunella modularis
Alpine accentor Prunella collaris BR

Thrushes and chats

Redstart, a common summer migrant in upland woods and scrub
Turdus torquatus 2
Ring ouzel, a scarce breeder in rocky upland areas

Order: Passeriformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
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
Red-throated thrush (dark-throated thrush) Turdus ruficollis BR
Fieldfare Turdus pilaris
Song thrush Turdus philomelos
Redwing Turdus iliacus
Mistle thrush Turdus viscivorus
American robin Turdus viscivorus BR

Cettid warblers

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Cettiidae

Common name Binomial Status
Cetti's warbler Cettia cetti

Locustellid warblers

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Locustellidae

Common name Binomial Status
Lanceolated warbler Locustella lanceolata BR
(Common) grasshopper warbler Locustella naevia
River warbler Locustella fluviatilis BR
Savi's warbler Locustella luscinioides BR

Acrocephalid warblers

Acrocephalus schoenobaenus 1 (Marek Szczepanek)
Sedge warbler, a summer migrant to wetland areas

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Acrocephalidae

Common name Binomial Status
Aquatic warbler Acrocephalus paludicola WR
Sedge warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
Paddyfield warbler Acrocephalus agricola BR
Blyth's reed warbler Acrocephalus dumetorum BR
Marsh warbler Acrocephalus palustris WR
(Eurasian) reed warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus
Great reed warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus BR
Booted warbler Iduna caligata BR
Icterine warbler Hippolais icterina WR
Melodious warbler Hippolais polyglotta WR

Phylloscopid warblers

Wood warbler, this species is local in most of Britain but widespread in Wales

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Phylloscopidae

Common name Binomial Status
Greenish warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides WR
Arctic warbler Phylloscopus borealis BR
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

Old World warblers

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Sylviidae

A group of small, insectivorous passerine birds. Most are of generally undistinguished appearance, but many have distinctive songs.

Common name Binomial Status
Eurasian 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 ruppeli BR
Subalpine warbler Sylvia cantillans WR
Sardinian warbler Sylvia melanocephala BR


Order: Passeriformes   Family: Regulidae

Common name Binomial Status
Goldcrest Regulus regulus
Common firecrest Regulus ignicapilla

Old World flycatchers

Ficedula hypoleuca NRM
Pied flycatcher, a characteristic bird of sessile oak woods

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Muscicapidae

The flycatchers are small birds that fly out from a perch to catch insects in the air.

Common name Binomial Status
(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
(European) 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
Spotted flycatcher Muscicapa striata
Red-breasted flycatcher Ficedula parva WR
Collared flycatcher Ficedula albicollis BR
Pied flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca

Bearded reedling

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Panuridae

Common name Binomial Status
Bearded reedling Panurus biarmicus WR

Long-tailed tits

Order: Passeriformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
Long-tailed tit Aegithalos caudatus


Blue tit on feeder
Blue tit, a common woodland bird which easily adapts to parks and gardens

Order: Passeriformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
Blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus
Great tit Parus major
Coal tit Periparus ater
Willow tit Poecile montana
Marsh tit Poecile palustris


Order: Passeriformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
(Wood) nuthatch Sitta europaea


Certhia familiaris 01
Treecreeper, a common but elusive bird of woodlands

Order: Passeriformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
(Eurasian) treecreeper Certhia familiaris

Penduline tits

Order: Passeriformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
(Eurasian) penduline tit Remiz pendulinus BR


Order: Passeriformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
(Eurasian) golden oriole Oriolus oriolus WR


Order: Passeriformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
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


Corvus corax (NPS)
Raven, Wales has some of the highest densities of this species in the world.

Order: Passeriformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
(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: Passeriformes   Family: 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 name Binomial Status
(Common) starling Sturnus vulgaris
Rosy starling Pastor roseus WR


House sparrowIII
House sparrow, strongly associated with human habitation

Order: Passeriformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
House sparrow Passer domesticus
Spanish sparrow Passer hispaniolensis BR
(Eurasian) tree sparrow Passer montanus


Order: Passeriformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
Red-eyed vireo Vireo olivaceus BR


Fringilla coelebs (Chaffinch-Buchfink)
Chaffinch, one of the commonest and most widespread species in Wales

Order: Passeriformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
Common chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
Brambling Fringilla montifringilla
(European) serin Serinus serinus WR
(European) greenfinch Chloris chloris
(European) goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
(Eurasian) siskin Spinus spinus
(Common) linnet Linaria cannabina
Twite Linaria flavirostris
Lesser redpoll Acanthis cabaret
Common redpoll Acanthis flammea WR
Arctic redpoll Acanthis 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

Dendroica petechia1
Yellow warbler, one on Bardsey Island in 1964 was the first European record of this North American species.

Order: Passeriformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
Black-and-white warbler Mniotilta varia BR
Yellow warbler Setophaga petechia BR
Blackburnian warbler Setophaga fusca BR
Yellow-rumped warbler Setophaga coronata BR
Blackpoll warbler Setophaga striata BR
Common yellowthroat Geothlypas trichas BR


Order: Passeriformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
Summer tanager Piranga rubra BR

Longspurs and arctic buntings

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Calcariidae

Common name Binomial Status
Lapland bunting Calcarius lapponicus
Snow bunting Plectrophenax nivalis

Buntings and New World sparrows

Yellowhammer, a declining species but still the commonest bunting in Wales

Order: Passeriformes   Family: 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.

Common name Binomial Status
Song sparrow Melospiza melodia BR
White-throated sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis BR
Dark-eyed junco Junco hyemalis BR
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: Passeriformes   Family: Icteridae

A group of small to medium-sized, 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.

Common name Binomial Status
Bobolink Dolichonyx oryzivorus BR
Baltimore oriole Icterus galbula BR
kids search engine
List of birds of Wales Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.