BIRD PROFILES TOP 20 GARDEN BIRDS
From the RSPB

  • Starling
    Starlings are noisy and aggressive birds usually seen foraging in small flocks. At a distance, starlings look black, but close up you can see they have green and purple, glossy feathers, covered in white and buff spots. Starlings feed on scraps, seeds and from nut feeders; they also probe into lawns for worms and grubs. In winter, migrant starlings from northern Europe join the resident birds.

  • House sparrow
    These are often seen in small flocks. Males have a grey crown, black bib, reddish-brown back streaked with black, and grey breast and belly, while females have brown, streaky backs and are buff below. They feed on seeds, grains and scraps on the ground and on bird tables. House sparrows also feed from nut feeders. House sparrows are sedentary, rarely moving more than two kilometres from their birthplace.

  • Blue tit
    An agile bird, the blue tit is most often seen feeding on bird feeders. It is a small, sky blue and yellow bird with white cheeks and a dark eye stripe. Blue tits will feed on seeds and scraps from bird tables and the ground. In winter, family flocks of blue tits are joined by great tits, long-tailed tits and other woodland species, as they search for food.

  • Blackbird
    The male blackbird is black with a bright yellow bill, while the female is brown with a mottled breast. Blackbirds have a long tail and often hop along the ground with their tail up. They feed on berries, scraps and apples, and search for worms on the lawn. In winter, migrant blackbirds from northern Europe join the resident birds.

  • Chaffinch
    Usually seen feeding on the ground, both male and female chaffinches have black and white wings, and a green rump. The male has a pinky face and breast and a blue crown, while the female is a sandy brown. They feed on seeds and grain, mainly on the ground. In winter, migrant chaffinches from Scandinavia and Northern Europe join the resident birds.

  • Greenfinch
    The male is a green bird with yellow patches on the wings, a forked tail and a stout beak. The female is browner and may look like a female house sparrow until she flies and shows off the yellow in her tail and wings. Greenfinches feed on seeds and grain on the ground and on bird tables. They also feed from nut feeders.

  • Collared dove
    This dove is mainly buff coloured with a thin, black half collar, and a long, white tail with a black base. Collared doves originally came from southern Asia and spread from there to the extreme south-east of Europe. In the 1930s, they began a major expansion to the north and west. The species was first recorded in Britain in 1953 and has since become a common garden bird throughout Great Britain and Ireland. They feed on seeds and scraps, both on the ground and on bird tables.

  • Great tit
    Bigger than the blue tit, the great tit has a black and white head, bright yellow breast with a bold, black stripe running down it, and a greenback. The black breast stripe is wider on the male. They feed on seeds and scraps on the ground, on bird tables and from nut feeders. In winter, family flocks of great tits are joined by blue tits, long-tailed tits and other woodland species as they search for food.

  • Robin
    With its bright, orange-red breast, brown back and dumpy shape, the robin is a familiar garden bird. Robins are the only garden birds to sing throughout the winter, with both males and females holding winter territories. It is unusual to see more than two birds at a time, except in very cold weather. They feed on seeds, scraps, berries and insects, both on the ground and on the bird table. Some robins migrate from Europe to the UK.

  • Woodpigeon
    Woodpigeons are the largest of the pigeon family. They have a small, round, grey head, greyish back, tail and wings with a pink breast and white neck patch. In flight they have distinctive white wing patches and the tail has a dark band at the end. Their call is a cooing sound. Woodpigeons feed on grain, seeds and scraps and on berries and buds.

  • Dunnock
    A small, easily overlooked bird, the dunnock creeps around under bushes in a mouse-like way. It has a brown back with black markings and a grey face and breast. It has a slender beak, which it uses to catch its insect and spider food. Dunnocks are sedentary, rarely moving more than one kilometre from their birthplace.

  • Magpie
    This large, black and white bird with along tail is often seen in pairs or small groups. It is a noisy bird with a harsh, chattering call. It feeds on a variety of foods, including scraps, and is aggressive towards other birds. In winter, magpies flock together in small groups. They are sedentary and rarely move more than one kilometre from their birthplace.

  • Coal tit
    An agile and active, small, olive-brown tit, with a black crown, white cheeks and a white patch on the back of the head. They feed on the ground on seeds, scraps and insects, and visit peanut feeders. Coal tits often hide food. They may join flocks of other tit species.

  • Wren
    A tiny, very active, dumpy bird, with a thin beak and a raised tail. The wren is a reddish brown colour with some darker barring on the wings and belly. It has a very loud song for such a tiny bird: it uses this to help it hold a territory, sometimes even in winter. It feeds on insects and spiders.

  • Song thrush
    The song thrush has a brown head, back and tail, with pale under parts with dark brown, streaky spots. It feeds on worms, berries and scraps, and also on snails, which it smashes on stones. Although it is still a common garden bird, its numbers are declining at an alarming rate.

  • Long-tailed tit
    A small black, white and pink tit with a long tail. Long-tailed tits move around in small flocks, calling constantly: they are often seen with blue and great tits. Long-tailed tits feed on insects, but are increasingly visiting garden bird tables and nut feeders in winter, when insects are hard to find.

  • Jackdaw
    Smaller than a rook or a crow, the jackdaw is a blackish bird with a grey head, blackcap and white eyes. It has a distinctive 'jack jack call'. It feeds on mini beasts and scraps.

  • Goldfinch
    A small, dainty finch with a red, white and black face, brown body, black wings with abroad yellow wing band, and black tail. Goldfinches often feed in small flocks, and their twittering call and black and yellow wings draw attention to them. They are seed-eaters that feed on the ground, on seed heads of garden plants and on seed-filled birdfeeders. They occasionally feed from nut feeders. In very cold weather, most goldfinches migrate in a south-westerly direction, to winter in France and Spain.

  • Rook
    A large, black bird with a bare, white face and a white beak. Rooks are often seen in flocks. They roost at night in tall trees, with jackdaws and crows. Rooks feed on worms and other minibeasts living in the soil, but will take scraps from gardens. They are often very wary in gardens, snatching scraps and carrying them off to a nearby tree or rooftop to eat.

  • Feral pigeon
    Also known as town pigeons, feral pigeons are descended from rock doves, which were domesticated for food. Feral pigeons are usually dark grey, with some green or purple sheen on the neck, and have orange eyes and pink feet. There is a great deal of variation in their plumage; with many feral pigeons being mainly brown or grey and white. They feed on scraps and seeds, both on the ground and on bird tables. They may be very tame.


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