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Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus ©Sue Tranter

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.


David Saunders

Author - Where to Watch Birds in Wales

Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire


County Recorder

BTO Wales

John Lloyd

01550 750202


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


Jon Green

(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.


iGoTerra Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web

Useful Reading

Birds in Wales 1992-2000

Jonathan Green 2002 The Welsh Ornithological Society

ISBN: 0954214501

Buy 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: 0951390902

Buy 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: 9781846318580

Buy 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: 9780691151946

Buy 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: 9780713674842

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Useful Information

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

North Wales Birding Forum


List contact: website@northwalesbirding.co.uk

A Website and Forum dedicated to Birdwatching in North Wales…

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Birding Pal


Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…

Birds of Snowdonia

Tour Operator

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

Tour Operator

For Complete Bird Watching and Natural History Holidays in Wales and Ireland…

Mid Wales Birding

Tour Operator

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

Oriole Birding

Tour Operator

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

Tour Operator

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

Tour Operator

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.

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…


Trip Report Repository

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

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

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

Facebook Page

Menai Holiday Cottages is a small and successful business, privately owned and run letting over 300 self-catering properties throughout North Wales...

Welsh Cottages


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…

Other Links

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

Welsh Wildlife


Photos from south and west Wales…