United Kingdom Nature

Birding United Kingdom

Despite its relatively small size, Britain – or the United Kingdom – has an impressive bird list: 600 species. For the purpose of this feature, the UK includes Scotland, England and Wales only; the Irish maintain their own National List, so birds that occur there "do not count" on the Official British List.

Britain is host to a fantastic range of habitats from the Scottish mountains, to acid heaths, extensive moorland, rocky coastlines, Ancient woodlands, myriad small islands, internationally important marshes and much more. During passage times, in favorable weather conditions, vagrants make landfall in Britain from all points of the compass and species from Southern Europe, Siberia and The Americas regularly drop in, sometimes together in one hedgerow or field on the same day!

British birders benefit from a quirk of geography that steers Arctic breeders such as geese, ducks and shorebirds to overwinter in Britain's relatively mild winter climate – the Gulf Stream warms the coasts to manageable temperatures compared to other countries on a similar latitude – and species that winter further south in Southern Europe and Africa either head north to breed in the UK or pass through to replenish fat levels on their way to breeding grounds further north.

Britain is home to some of the keenest birdwatchers on the planet, and the site of the British Birdwatching Fair, the largest gathering of birders in the world. Every August, twenty or thirty thousand birders make a pilgrimage to the Bird Fair to meet friends and evaluate new products and tours while a portion of their entrance fees go toward conservation.

In short, if you are a birdwatcher in Britain there is always something to see and with a bit of planning a day-list of around 100 species should be doable at all times of year. What the UK lacks in size, it makes up for it with an ever-changing aviflora! Contributor: Neil Glenn, Avian Adventures.

What to See in United Kingdom

Notable Birds in United Kingdom (click species name to see related articles)

Notable Mammals and Other Wildlife

Other Attractions

Where and When to Go

Nature & Birding Hotspots in United Kingdom

  • See the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Reserves list.
  • Wildlife and Wetland Trust
  • Woodland Trust
  • BirdMap.net - Birding information by county location
  • Wild Future - connecting you to countryside locations
  • The Isles of Scilly are the most southerly point of the British Isles, located just 28 miles off Land’s End. Consisting of five inhabited islands, the Scillies have a phenomenal record for turning up rare and vagrant bird species each fall.
  • Seabirds off the dramatic coastline at South Stack, North Wales
  • Isles of Anglesey with its dramatic coastal scenery.
  • Yorkshire Coast

United Kingdom Birding and Nature Tours

United Kingdom Ecolodges/Accommodations

  • Princes Arms Hotel in Trefriw, in the Conwy Valley.

Best Time to Go

Visit United Kingdom

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