Wales has been described as a land of peaks and plateaux dissected by river valleys to which one must quickly add and a superb coastline. Although primarily upland, some 60% lies above the 500 foot (150m) contour, Wales is also a maritime country bounded on three sides by the sea.
The bird of Wales is without question the Red Kite. For many years the only ones in Great Britain were the handful clinging on, and only just, in a few remote Welsh valleys. Its fortunes monitored, and protection provided, for almost a century by a dedicated band of watchers to whom we should be eternally grateful. Their efforts have been well rewarded for now one can enjoy watching Red Kites across much of the heartland of Wales.
These same inland valleys, often with superb woodlands, also have other specialities such as Redstarts, Wood Warblers, Pied Flycatchers and Ravens. On many streams and rivers Goosanders, Kingfishers, Grey Wagtails and Dippers can be seen while Little Ringed Plovers nest on some gravel banks.
There are fine estuaries for wildfowl and waders, the Dee and Severn shared with England, but others wholly Welsh like the Burry Inlet, the Dyfi and the secret creeks round Milford Haven. Then the wild rocky coasts haunt of Peregrine and Chough, and headlands both north and south from which one can marvel at passage seabirds. Last but certainly not least the magical Welsh islands. Indeed you cannot really claim to know birds in Wales until you have spent at least a night on Skokholm or Skomer to see and hear the Manx Shearwaters. After all perhaps half the worlds’ population of this remarkable seabird nests on these two Pembrokeshire islands.
Top Welsh Bird Watching Sites
Everyone will have their own choice, but below are mine, though it has been extremely difficult to narrow it down to this list. You will find more detail on each Welsh county page.
(You can, of course, always dip into a copy of Where to Watch Birds in Wales by our contributor David Saunders - Fatbirder)
Fatbirder has pages for each of the new welsh administrative districts, rather than the old vice counties or previous large scale divisions so visiting or resident birders can see where their local reserves etc are. However, records continue to be collated by recorders in each of the old ceremonial counties.
Author - Where to Watch Birds in Wales
Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire
Cofnod - Local Records Centre for North Wales
BIS - Biodiversity Information Service for Powys and Brecon Beacons National Park
West Wales Biodiversity Information Centre
South East Wales Biodiversity Record Centre
(Editor Welsh Bird Report)
Number of Species
Number of bird species: 438
National Bird - Red Kite Milvus milvus [There is not, as far as we know, a national bird for Wales - however, great prominence has been given over many decades to the fact that the UK's remnant population of Red Kites hung on in mid-wales long after the English and Scottish populations had been extirpated by man - surely then the Red Kite deserves to represent Wales] Thanks to introductions in England and Wales the population is even greater and more genetically diverse.
Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web
Birds in Wales 1992-2000
Jonathan Green 2002 The Welsh Ornithological Society
ISBN: 0954214501Buy this book from NHBS.com
Collins Bird Guide Ap
http://collinsbirdguideapp.com/ The Collins Fieldguide and more...
See Fatbirder Review
In Search of Birds in Mid-Wales
Brian O'Shea & John Green | Paperback | 1992 | Artery Media Production
ISBN: 0951390902Buy this book from NHBS.com
The Breeding Birds of North Wales | Adar Nythu Gogledd Cymru
Edited by Anne Brenchley, Geoff Gibbs, Rhion Pritchard & Ian M Spence | Hardback | Sep 2013 | Liverpool University Press | 448 pages, 200 colour photos and colour illustrations, colour distribution maps
ISBN: 9781846318580Buy this book from NHBS.com
The Crossley ID Guide: Britain & Ireland
Series: Crossley ID Guide 3 | Richard Crossley and Dominic Couzens | 304 Pages | 310 Plates with Colour Photos | 250 Colour Distribution Maps | Princeton University Press | Paperback | Oct 2013
See Fatbirder Review
ISBN: 9780691151946Buy this book from NHBS.com
Where to Watch Birds in Wales
David Saunders Series: WHERE TO WATCH BIRDS IN BRITAIN AND EUROPE: HELM SERIES 281 pages, 70 maps, 45 line drawings. Christopher Helm due October 2007
ISBN: 9780713674842Buy this book from NHBS.com
Record Keeping in Wales
There are now four Local Records Centres (LRCs) in Wales. Together they collect, collate, disseminate and manage biodiversity information for the whole of Wales. To find your local record centre see the interactive map on this website which will take you to the four record areas.
Forums & Mailing Lists
Guides & Tour Operators
Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…
Birds of Snowdonia
Immerse yourself in the most beautiful scenery the British Isles has to offer. Welcome to Snowdonia, land of myths and legends, with the National Park covering over 800 square miles. Where else can you find beautiful valleys, snow capped mountains, stunning lakes and rivers, not to mention the unrivalled beaches?
Cambrian Bird Holidays
For Complete Bird Watching and Natural History Holidays in Wales and Ireland…
Mid Wales Birding
Details of all aspects of Mid Wales Birdwatching Holidays are contained on the various pages of our web site. We hope you enjoy exploring the site. Do give us a call if you need more information, or if you would like to receive a brochure, or if you would like to make a booking… Guest stay at Mount Hazel - where I have stayed many times and can heartily recommend it! Fatbirder
A UK-based company specialising in bird watching tours of Norfolk and Wales, and a wide range of other UK destinations, a comprehensive programme of tours worldwide. Neil Donaghy and Ashley Saunders have over nineteen years experience between them, running their own companies Celtic Bird Tours and Oriole Adventures, before merging the two to create this new venture which offers complete bird tour packages. Value for money, genuinely small groups and great birds.
Shearwater Coastal Cruises - Pelagics
Shearwater is a large, stable luxury charter boat conducting seabird watching tours along the beautiful coast of the Lleyn Peninsula, from Pwllheli…
Thousand Islands Expeditions
On a trip with Thousand Islands Expeditions you can witness some of the most powerful currents in Britain. We will weave you gently in and out of the bays, grey seal pups are on every beach from September to October. Pass below some of the highest cliffs in Wales, you will see the spectacular breeding colonies of thousands of nesting sea-birds set in the cliffs adorned with wild flowers dipping into a blue ocean which abounds with seals, porpoise and such wildlife as you will never forget. In spring Choughs and Peregrines nest on the cliffs and in Summer the seabird colonies are in abundance and the carpets of heather are in full bloom.
CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.
2010 [05 May] - Pat & Judy Hayes
Having cut our early birding teeth between the Dovey and Mawddach estuaries or from Barmouth to just south of Aberdyfi, it is an area we periodically return to and one we feel we know as well as any…
Places to Stay
Last Minute Wales
Why not take a last minute holiday in Wales? Relax and enjoy our fabulous scenery and breathtaking coastline or if you feeling energetic, why not try some of the many activities Wales has to offer. There`s lots to do for all the family - so whether you just want to getaway for the weekend and enjoy a short break in Wales, or stay a little longer we can help you at Last Minute Wales…
Menai Holiday Cottages
Menai Holiday Cottages is a small and successful business, privately owned and run letting over 300 self-catering properties throughout North Wales...
Our 2001 brochure contains an excellent selection of over 200 holiday cottages in Pembrokeshire and North Wales providing a wide range of coast and country holiday locations and self-catering accommodation.
Cymdeithas Adarydda Cambria - Cambrian Ornithological Society
The Cambrian Ornithological Society (C.O.S.) is for everyone interested in bird watching and bird recording in the new counties of Anglesey, Gwynedd and the western half of Conwy (west of the River Conwy). It doesn`t matter if you live outside this area…
Cymdeithas Adaryddol Cymru - Welsh Ornithological Society
This home site of the Welsh Ornithological Society's purpose is to give a true and up to date reflection on the status of ornithology in Wales.
Welsh Kite Trust
The feeding station at Gigrin… a site mentioned in its counties notes but the speciality bird of Wales and a very nice site as an introduction tom Wales`s birds.
National Museum of Wales
Database of the mounted animals available for loan at the National Museum & Galleries of Wales. This database has been created to provide information on the mounted animals that the museum holds which are suitable for loan. Information provided is limited to: the scientific name and hierarchy; the common name; the nature and condition of the specimen; and the donor/vendor. Images are limited at the moment but it is hoped to add more in the future. It is aimed at those wishing to see what the museum holds with a view to loaning specimens or wishing to see if we hold specimens collected by a certain individual or prepared by a particular taxidermist. Most of the specimens have little information on collection locality or date, although future versions will be updated as what information we have is checked.
Birding North Wales - Alex Jones
I am a keen birdwatcher and enjoy visiting local sites whether it is to patch or twitch for birds. I am currently in university but still find time to birdwatch around…
South Wales Birding
A blog for birders across South Wales…
The Black Grouse
The purpose of this blog is to provide a regular update of bird and nature sightings across Clwyd, plus news and views on all things wild and beyond…
Birds in Wales
Members of the BBC Wales Nature Flickr group have taken photographs of over 80 species of birds in Wales. If you need to identify a bird you've seen, or you're a birdwatcher, a photographer, or just want to delight in Wales' wealth of wildlife, you can check out our great shots. This isn't an exhaustive collection of course, so if you've got photos you'd like to share, please join us on the group…
Chris's Bird Ringing
A diary and photo diary of my ringing training in North Wales, consisting mainly of waders and passerines….
Ringing and Birding in North Wales
Fascinating BLOG with excellent pics of birds in the hand…
Photographers & Artists
Photos from south and west Wales…