City and County of Cardiff

Redshank Tringa totanus ©Chris Thomas
Birding Cardiff

Cardiff is the capital and largest city in Wales and the tenth largest city in the United Kingdom. The city is the country’s chief commercial centre, the base for most national cultural and sporting institutions, the Welsh national media, and the seat of the National Assembly for Wales. The unitary authority area’s mid-2011 population was estimated to be c.350,000, while the population of the Larger Urban Zone was estimated at over 850,000 in 2009. The Cardiff metropolitan area makes up over a third of the total population of Wales, with a population estimate of about 1,100,000 people. Cardiff is a significant tourist centre and the most popular visitor destination in Wales with 18.3 million visitors in 2010. In 2011, Cardiff was ranked sixth in the world in National Geographic’s alternative tourist destinations.The city of Cardiff is the county town of the historic county of Glamorgan (and later South Glamorgan). The Cardiff Urban Area covers a slightly larger area outside the county boundary, and includes the towns of Dinas Powys and Penarth. A small town until the early 19th century, its prominence as a major port for the transport of coal following the arrival of industry in the region contributed to its rise as a major city. Cardiff also claims to have the largest concentration of castles of any city in the world.The centre of Cardiff is relatively flat and is bounded by hills on the outskirts to the east, north and west; it is built on reclaimed marshland. Cardiff is bordered to the west by the rural district of the Vale of Glamorgan, also known as The Garden of Cardiff, to the east by the city of Newport, to the north by the South Wales Valleys and to the south by the Severn Estuary and Bristol Channel. The River Taff winds through the centre of the city and together with the River Ely flows into the freshwater lake of Cardiff Bay. A third river, the Rhymney flows through the east of the city entering directly into the Severn Estuary.The newest wildlife ‘attraction’ was created to offset the loss of saltmarsh habitat created by Cardiff Bay barrage in 2001. Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve covers an area of approximately twenty acres of freshwater marsh in the lake created by the barrage. Although public access is not permitted onto the main body of the reserve, this is to allow excellent breeding and feeding conditions to develop for the species present. It is possible to view many bird species from the public area with the naked eye, and binoculars will allow an even better birding experience.

Top Sites
  • Cardiff Bay

    Satellite View
    The Taf mudflats have now been permanently flooded by the Cardiff Bay barrage which has reduced its attractiveness to waders, however it has attracted Long-tailed Duck, Slav Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, American Wigeon, Red-throated Diver, Common Tern, Little Gull and Glaucous Gull since it has been flooded. The Rhymni Estuary is still good for waders. There is also a small marsh nature reserve on the east side in front of St Davids hotel, which is beginning to attract fresh water species, such as Kingfisher, Common Sandpiper, Teal, and also flocks of Linnet & Chaffinch, and Reed Bunting, and there were up to 6 Brambling there in the winter of 2002.
County Recorder
  • Philip Bristow - East Glamorgan County Recorder

    2 Forest Oak Close, Cyncoed, Cardiff CF23 6QN

    07769 973 890

Useful Reading

  • Birds of Glamorgan

    | By Clive Hurford & Peter Lansdown | Hurford & Lansdown | 1995 | Hardback | 228 pages, 30 col & 17 b/w photos, line illus, maps ISBN: 9781872808345 Buy this book from
  • The Birds of Cardiff

    | By David RW Gilmore | Glamorgan BC | 2006 | Paperback | 56 pages, 16 col plates ISBN: 9780955448300 Buy this book from
  • Cardiff University Ornithological Society - Bird Club

    Facebook Page
    For those with an interest for birds and all things feathery.Follow us on twitter twitchers: @CUBirds
  • Glamorgan Bird Club & Gower Ornithological Society

    The Glamorgan Birds Website, a joint venture between the Glamorgan Bird Club and Gower Ornithological Society. The main function of these bodies is to produce the annual bird reports for the East and West of the county of Glamorgan. This website features a number of online services aimed at making your birding in Glamorgan much easier. There are links to a number of pages that will be useful to anyone with an interest in birds, from the casual birdwatcher to the keenest of birders
  • South & West Wales Wildlife Trust (Glamorgan Wildlife Trust)

    South & West Wales Wildlife Trust seeks to maintain and increase the biodiversity and to enhance public understanding, enjoyment and respect for the environment.

Abbreviations Key

  • Forest Farm

    WebsiteSatellite View
    In March 1990 a Friends group was formed to contribute in whatever way possible to the protection and development of the Forest Farm Country Park and the Glamorganshire Canal Local Nature Reserve, and to promote the study of flora and fauna in their natural habitat.
  • LNR Glamorganshire Canal & Long Wood Nature Reserve

    InformationSatellite View
    Located on the banks of the Taff just south of the M4 motorway, Forest Farm is full of surprises. Sections of the former Glamorganshire Canal still survive here and a wide range of habitats including woodland, scrub, hay meadow, ponds and marshland. The Taff Trail runs through the site and to the south is the recently restored Melingriffith Waterpump – a relic of the industrial past of the area.
  • LNR Hamadryad Park & Cardiff Bay Wetlands Nature Reserve

    WebpageSatellite View
    The site comprises around 14 hectares of land in Butetown, Cardiff. Much of the park is playing fields and open grassland crossed by broad, metalled pathways, screened from the Butetown Link Road by earth bunds which have been planted with trees. The Cardiff Bay Wetlands nature reserve is located south and east of the Butetown Link Road. Good views of the wetlands and the bay are afforded from the boardwalk, which is also a good place for bird watching.
  • LNR Howardian

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Howardian LNR in the lower Rhymney valley Penylan, Cardiff is a wildlife oasis of woodland, wildflower meadow, ponds and reedbeds.
  • WTSWW Coed y Bedw

    WebpageSatellite View
    There is a great diversity of resident woodland birds including Tawny Owl, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Treecreeper, which are augmented in summer by Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Willow Warbler and Blackcap.
  • Cardiff Bird Ringers

    Not updated since 2016 - Welcome to the blog of the Cardiff Bird Ringers! We are all associated with the Bull and Morgan Ringing Partnership and operate in and around the City and County of Cardiff. Although on occasion have been known to go further afield. The Cardiff Bird Ringers are a mixed group covering a wide range of ages and occupations. We hope you enjoy reading about our activities…
  • South Wales Birding

    The original and still the best Blog for Birders across South Wales

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