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Garden Bird Identification

Below is a selection of photographs we have taken over the last few years of our little feathered friends in the Flyte so Fancy garden, as well as some little tidbits of information about each bird. Scroll down, and keep scrolling, its long ...

We just love that we have a huge number of sparrows, great tits and goldfinches on our feeders every day, but we also have resident woodpeckers, pheasants, partridge and nuthatches. We are still trying to get good photos of our Nutchatches, Siskins, Wrens and male Blackbirds.

To help and attract more garden birds, see our Garden Bird Feeders section

Goldfinches

Goldfinches


* Identify: Small, highly coloured, bright red face with black eye mask scowl, pale brown back, yellow wing patch, black tail
* Nature: Highly social, living in large groups
* Feed on: Fine Thistle seed (nyger); aphids; other seeding plants
* UK estimate: 1.2m breeding pairs
* Collective name: A Charm
* Size: 12cm long, 21-25cm wingspan
* Habitat: Gardens, parks, bushes, rough ground with thistles, orchards
* Region: Widely found throughout Europe, very numerous in the south of England
* Breeding: Nests in broad-leaved trees, raises up to 2 broods a year
* History: Popular as cage birds in Victorian England, led to a decline but saved by the RSPB
* Migration: Many, but not all, if well fed, migrate to Spain for winter
* Conservation status: Green

Blue Tits

Blue Tits


* Identify: Small, easily identifiable, blue and yellow garden bird. Blue cap and wings with yellow chest and green back, thin black stripe around head. Male is brighter than female
* Nature: Likes living in large groups, a feeder with 5 blue tits at once is probably feeding 20 others
* Feeds on: Insects, caterpillars, seeds and nuts
* UK estimate: 15 million birds
* Size: 12cm long, 18cm wingspan
* Habitat: Broad leaved woodlands, parks, hedgerows, gardens
* Regions: Found throughout UK except Scottish Islands
* Nesting: Usually holes in trees, but have been found in letterboxes, will readily use purpose-made nest boxes
* Breeding: Known to lay up to 12 eggs per clutch but up to 30% do not survive first month
* Migration: Rarely leave their home area and stay within 20km of breeding place
* Note: Blue Tit is the only one of the British Tit family with blue in its plumage
* Conservation status: Green

Great Tit

Great Tit


*Identify: Largest of Tit family, green and yellow with black head and white cheeks, black stripe down front
* Nature: As all Tit family, like living in sociable groups but can be aggressive to smaller birds
* Feed on: insects, caterpillars, seeds and nuts
* UK estimate: 2.5 million pairs
* Size: 14cm long, 24cm wingspan
* Habitat: Broad leaved woodlands, parks, hedgerows, gardens
* Regions: Found throughout UK except Scottish Islands
* Nesting: Usually holes in trees, will readily use purpose-made nest boxes
* Breeding: Lay one clutch up to 11 eggs
* Migration: Rarely leaves their home area and stays within 20km of breeding place
* Loves: Mature gardens with plentiful seed feeders
* Conservation status: Green

Chaffinches

Chaffinches


* Identify: Patterned plumage, colourful with a blue-grey crown, brown back and pink breast. Females are plain brown like a female sparrow.
* Nature: Not as sociable as Tits but they are the most widespread and abundant garden bird in Britain. Very identifiable loud song
* Feeds on: Ground feeder or bird table on seeds and insects
* UK estimate: 6m breeding pairs
* Size: 14cm long, 24-28cm wingspan
* Habitat: Gardens, parks, farmland, almost anywhere
* Region: Widely found throughout Europe
* Breeding: Nest in trees and bushes, raise up to 2 broods a year
* History: Trapped in huge numbers as cage birds in Victorian England, used for 'singing competitions', outlawed in 1898
* Migration: Non-migratory, UK has visitors from Scandinavia for winter
* Conservation status: Green

Greenfinches

Greenfinches


* Identify: Flashes of yellow and green as it flies, this colourful bird's plumage ranges from yellow to green and grey
* Nature: A social bird but can be aggressive at the bird table/feeder, loves trees and bushes, likes ground feeding too
* Feed on: Sunflower seeds are a favourite, peanuts, seeds
* UK estimate: 1.7m breeding pairs
* Size: 15cm long, 26cm wingspan
* Habitat: Woods, gardens, parks, farmland, orchards
* Region: Widely found throughout Europe in wooded and farmland areas
* Breeding: Nests in trees and bushes, raise up to 2 broods a year, 4-6 eggs
* Note: Declining numbers since 2006 due to disease preventing eating (trichomonosis), thought to be due to dirty feeders and drinkers
* Migration: Rarely move more than 20km from breeding site
* Conservation status: Green

Long Tailed Tits

Long Tailed Tits


* Identify: Small, pretty, slightly round birds with long tails. Distinctive pink, white and black plumage.
* Nature: Gregarious and noisy, likes to live in flocks
* Feed on: Insects and spiders in trees, and occasionally, seeds in winter
* UK estimate: 340,000 breeding pairs
* Size: 14cm long, 16-18cm wingspan
* Habitat: Woodlands, hedgerows, gardens, scrubland
* Regions: Found throughout UK except far north of Scotland
* Nesting: Makes domed nests shaped like bottles, lined with feathers, covered in moss and lichen
* Breeding: Lay up to 12 eggs per clutch and babies are ready to leave after 14 days
* Migration: Stays within 20km of breeding place
* Conservation status: Green

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Great Spotted Woodpecker


* Identify: Striking, easily identifiable bird about the size of a starling. Black and white head, back and wings with distinctive red undertail, the male has a red patch on the back of the head. Bouncing flight.
* Nature: Shy and spends most of its time clinging to tree trunks but, although skittish, we frequently see him on our nut feeders with other birds. Very territorial.
* Feeds on: Insects, grubs, seeds and nuts
* UK estimate: 140,000 breeding pairs
* Size: 23cm long, 34-39cm wingspan
* Habitat: Broad-leaved trees and conifers, will also use nest boxes
* Regions: Common and resident in England & Wales. 3 species in the UK, Green, Great and Lesser (Lesser Spotted is rarest & half the size). Young 'Greats' have a red top knot until mature
* Nests: In holes in trees, 4-6 eggs in a clutch
* Migration: Resident all year but can travel over 100km to find mates and breeding sites
* Conservation status: Green

Robins

Robins


* Identify: The most recognisable of garden birds with grey/brown body and bright red chest. Both sexes are same plumage. Britain's National Bird
* Nature: Very friendly bird with a beautiful song. Member of the thrush family. Both male and female are very territorial
* Feed on: Worms, seeds, fruits, insects and grubs. Mealworms are a favourite.
* UK estimate: 6.7m territories
* Size: 14cm long, 20-22cm wingspan
* Habitat: Everywhere throughout the UK, parks, gardens, hedgerows, woodland
* Breeding: Can raise up to 5 broods a year
* Nesting: Cup nests made of dead leaves and moss. Nests in any nooks and crannies, famous for nesting almost anywhere. Likes only nestboxes with open fronts though
* Migration: Resident all year round, non-migratory
* Conservation status: Green

Swallows

Swallows


* Identify: Small with long forked tail and red throat, glossy blue-black upper parts and white underbelly
* Nature: Soothing twittering song, beautiful swooping flight (a Flyte so Fancy favourite!) usually seen in flight
* Feeds on: Small invertebrates, eats and drinks on the wing
* UK estimate: 860,000 territories
* Size: 17-19cm long, 32-35cm wingspan
* Habitat: Barns, farms, quiet outbuildings near open farmland with water nearby. Loves cowsheds (lots of flies to eat)
* Region: Summer visitor, widely found throughout Europe & UK from March-Sept
* Breeding: Builds nests from damp mud and grasses under sheltered eaves. Can hatch up to 3 broods in a good summer
* History: Popular in many cultures for centuries - songs, poems and much folklore surrounds the swallow. Believed to be a herald of good luck and bringer of spring and summer
* Migration: Very migratory travelling thousands of miles from the UK to winter in southern Africa, returning from late March to breed here
* Conservation status: Green

Pied Wagtail

Pied Wagtail


* Identify: Small, long-tailed black and white bird usually seen walking over the ground, has a plain chirping song
* Nature: When on the ground its tail wags up and down, has an undulating flight. Communal birds with large roosts but territorial when hungry. Almost exclusively a British bird
* Feeds on: Insects, but if hungry will eat seeds from bird tables
* UK estimate: 470,000 breeding pairs
* Size: 18cm long, 25-30cm wingspan
* Habitat: Throughout the UK, in most habitats near water. Also often gather in town centres for warmth
* Breeding: Will nest almost anywhere, makes a bowl nest of mud, grass, straw and feathers. Raises 2-3 broods a year
* Migration: Resident in the UK but may migrate south in cold weather
* Conservation status: Green

House Sparrow

House Sparrow


* Identify: Grey head and brown neck with white cheeks; white, brown, grey plumage. Quick, short, straight flight
* Nature: Highly social, noisy, chattering and cheerful; likes to live in colonies
* Feeds on: Almost anything, from seeds to scraps in the compost heap - mainly vegetarian
* UK estimate: 5.3m pairs (once most common British bird, recent declines have reduced population by up to 70%)
* Size: 14cm long, 21-25cm wingspan
* Habitat: Found anywhere from countryside to cities; happy to feed and breed near people but recent declines seen in urban areas
* Region: Seen throughout the UK, except highlands
* Breeding: Nests in bird boxes, trees, shrubs, hedges raising 2-3 broods a year. Incubation is 11 days, with young leaving nest after 14 days
* Migration: Fairly sedentary, non-migratory
* Conservation status: Currently Red

Starlings

Starlings


* Identify: Larger bird, short tail, long pointed beak, glossy speckled iridescent purple and green plumage (appears black at times). Juveniles are brown
* Nature: Gregarious, noisy, conspicuous, aggressive bird; likes to live in large flocks, not the most popular of birds
* Feeds on: Leatherjackets, seeds, berries, nuts
* UK estimate: 1.8m birds (recent declines of up to 80% seem to be halted)
* Collective name: A Murmuration (in large flocks over thousands of birds)
* Size: 21cm long, 37-42cm wingspan
* Habitat: Seen everywhere from farmland and villages to towns and city centres
* Region: Throughout UK, one of the commonest garden birds
* Breeding: Nests in cavities of houses or trees but less opportunities for this mean they will use nest boxes raising only one brood of 4-6 a year.
* Migration: UK resident but may migrate to Scandinavia; British flocks swelled in winter by European visitors
* Conservation status: Currently Red

The Squirrel Bird

The Squirrel Bird


We love all creatures here at Flyte so Fancy and this one is a frequent visitor to our old peanut feeder (of note, this wooden nut feeder has be visited by this Squirrel-Bird or his family for over 10 years now).

Long of tail and short of wing, the squirrel bird lives in trees and will inhabit almost any crevice large enough to hide him, sneaking out only when he thinks no-one is looking to nab all the nuts!

Cuddly-looking and cute they may be but in many urban gardens they are a nut-feeder-destroyer. Some consider them just rats with tails, others just love them and provide special nut feeders just for the Squirrel-Bird.

Conservation status: No worries as long as we feed him nuts!

Moorhens

Moorhens


* Identify: Large black bird with red and yellow beak, long green legs, white stripes on the flanks. Not a great flyer. Has a loud 'currack' call
* Nature: Often found on ponds, out in the open, a confident and aggressive bird it will readily take other birds eggs and attack baby chicks (often taken our duck eggs and ducklings). Good at walking on its strong legs
* Feeds on: Water plants, insects, snails, worms, seeds, grasses, other birds eggs and small fish
* UK estimate: 270,000 breeding pairs
* Size: 32-35cm long, 50-55cm wingspan
* Habitat: Any lake, pond, stream or river especially heavily planted
* Region: Widespread throughout lowland areas of the UK, especially England and Wales
* Breeding: Female makes the nest amongst reeds, both parents incubate, laying up to 22 eggs, hatchlings ready to swim after 2 days
* Migration: UK resident, they don't migrate but are joined by migrants from N Europe in the winter
* Conservation status: Green

Red Legged Partridge

Red Legged Partridge


* Identify: Large bird about the size of a pigeon; grey and brown body with white barring on wings; white throat; red beak, eyes and red legs
* Nature: Game bird seen predominantly on the ground; not native, brought into England from France in 1600 for sport; has a rythmic chuck-chuffa call
* Feeds on: Mainly leaves, roots, seeds of grasses, cereals, weeds
* UK estimate: 82,000 territories
* Size: 33cm long, 47-50cm wingspan
* Habitat: Likes farmland and open fields with some ground cover
* Region: Introduced species, most numerous in the south and east of England
* Breeding: Ground nesting; female builds 2 bowl nests on the ground under hedgerows or scrub; lays in both then both parents incubate 10-16 eggs
* MIgration: Non-migratory, rarely move far from hatching place
* Conservation status: Introduced species

Pheasants

Pheasants


* Identify: Very easily identifiable game bird. Large, long tailed, males have richly coloured plumage varying from copper to chestnut to gold to purple (melanistic); dark green head and red wattles; females are plain, paler brown
* Nature: Walks on the ground mainly; quick to flight when spooked; male protects his hareem in sometimes vicious fights; has a loud, harsh 'korr-kok' cry
* Feeds on: Ground feeds on seeds, berries, insects, worms, grass
* UK estimate: 2.3m females
* Size: 53-89cm long, 70-90cm wingspan
* Habitat: Open farmland and hedgerows; edge of woodland
* Regions: Throughout the UK except highlands of Scotland
* Breeding: Ground nesting under hedgerows; male protects several females; one clutch of 7-10 eggs
* History: Not UK native; native of Asia & Balkans; brought into UK by the Normans in the 11th century for sport and feathers; 30m birds bred for shooting season annually, protected under Game Act outside the Sep-Feb season
* Conservation status: Introduced species

Collared Doves

Collared Doves


* Identify: Smaller than pigeons; delicate-looking, cream-grey-buff plumage with black collar, pink legs. Distinctive coo-coo call.
* Nature: Pretty, gentle, non-aggressive bird common in most gardens. Can become quite tame. Monogamous, usually seen in pairs.
* Feeds: Ground feeding on seeds, grains, buds and shoots
* UK estimate: 1m pairs
* Size: 32cm long, 51cm wingspan
* Habitat: Just about anywhere where food is plentiful, especially gardens, parks
* Region: Widely found throughout the UK but not native; arrived from Middle East/Asia around 1950
* Breeding: Untidy nest builders, platform of sticks in a tree or on ledges. Breeds all year round in mild weather, usually 2 eggs per clutch, 3-4 broods a year
* Migration: Non-migratory but has managed to spread throughout Europe
* Conservation status: Green

Kestrel

Kestrel


* Identify: About the size of a magpie, light-brown plumage with dark spots. Males have a grey-blue head, while females are all brown. Pointed wings and tail. Incredible eyesight.
* Nature: The most common of UK’s birds of prey, until the Buzzard took top spot; hunts for voles around woodland edges and farmland. Territorial up to 1km from nest.
* Feeds on: Mainly voles
* UK estimate: 46,000 pairs
* Size: 32-35cm long, 71-80cm wingspan
* Habitat: Seen hovering along roadsides near fields and farmland or perched on posts looking out for prey. Adapted and can survive in towns if food available
* Regions: Found everywhere in the UK except some Scottish Highlands & Islands
* Breeding: Do not build their own nests, use old crow’s nests or stick nests but will use purpose made boxes. Female lays 3-6 eggs in Apr-May, male provides food for 2 months after hatching but only 30% survive due to lack of food
* Conservation status: Amber