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Home > Bird Feeding Blog > Rare British Woodland Birds

Rare British Woodland Birds

Tuesday, 19th January 2021

Following on from our recent blog about forests and woodlands, we would like to focus on those rare woodland birds whose habitats are slowly disappearing.
UK woodland was once full of a wide variety of woodland species, but sadly many are now in decline.

These are usually quite stunning birds and should not be forgotten. Just because they are not typically found in gardens does not make them any less appealing, in fact, if you are lucky enough to spot one, then you’re in for a treat.

The Hawfinch is the UK’s largest finch and has a substantial, powerful bill. Mostly now restricted to England, the Home Counties, western England near the Welsh Border, and the south east from Hampshire to Kent are the best places to see them. Hawfinches perch high in trees but will scrat around on the floor searching in foliage for buds, shoots and seeds.
Lesser Spotted Wood Pecker

Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers are the smallest and least common of the three woodpecker’s resident in Britain. It nests and feeds high up and when feeding it creeps along branches looking for insects and moths. Favouring deciduous woodland, it is mainly seen in south east England but can be seen, although rarely, in Yorkshire and Lancashire.

Pied Flycatcher

Smaller than a house sparrow the Pied Flycatcher is a summer visitor to the UK, spending the winter in West Africa. Usually to be found in mature woodland mainly to the west of the UK, particularly in the valleys and hillsides of Wales where you may see a breeding pair during the summer months. Whilst here it loves to overindulge on caterpillars, insects, fruit and seeds.

The Nightjar is an almost mythical nocturnal bird but can be seen at dawn and dusk searching for moths and beetles. It is a master of disguise and you would be very lucky to spot one, but it is possible at dusk on a warm summer evening, be quick as it leaves our shores by August. Nightjars can be found in woodland clearings and felled conifer plantations, most numerous in southern England with large numbers in the New Forest but can also be seen in northern England and south west Scotland.
Lesser Redpoll

Lesser Redpoll’s are stunning little finches and breed in woodland habitats. Only just larger than a Blue Tit they can display aerial gymnastics as it dangles from tiny twigs of birch and alder trees looking for seeds. They are better to see during winter when trees have lost their leaves but do sometimes visit gardens. It breeds well in Scotland, northern and eastern England and Wales but does venture south in colder months.

Last but by no means least is the Capercaillie. This huge woodland grouse is in serious risk of extinction due to its very rare vulnerable habitat. There are only thought to be around 2000 of these iconic birds left around their preferred area of Strathspey. Needing a native pine woodland, containing trees of various ages as well as boggy areas where their chicks can search for insects, they can be seen all year round. If you are lucky enough to see one, look out for the males very impressive courtship display called lekking.

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