Hebridean Birds - Western Isles Birds - Birdlife and Bird Sightings in the Hebrides
The Hebrides has an extraordinary diversity of wildlife, birds - including oyster catchers,corncrakes and golden eagles. Birding in the Hebrides has the bonus of rare bird sightings which are frequent along with bird species that are common to the rest of the UK. The Hebrides also have unusual subspecies of species common to the rest of the UK, the Starling and Wren Species for example.
  B    
Bluetits - Isle of Lewis
Blackbird

Blackbirds can be seen pretty much anywhere in the UK. They are often one of the first species to start singing in the morning and one of the last to stop singing in the evenings in The Western Isles

Blackbird - Western Isles

Bluetits - Isle of Lewis
Bluetits

The blue tit is now starting to frequent the Stornoway Castle Grounds & indeed the surrounding areas near Stornoway.. It has a small, rounded head without an obvious neck.The crown is blue on a white head.

Bluetits - Western Isles

Reed Bunting - Isle of Lewis
Reed Bunting

This male reed bunting with its distinct black head and throat with white moustache is lovely. Reed buntings are more solitary than most buntings and finches but in winter can join up with mixed flocks feeding on farmland.



Reed Bunting - Western Isles

  B    
Snow bunting - Isle of Harris
Snow Buntings

Snow buntings - Western Isles - These birds - so pretty - many spend the winter here - then go off to Scandinavia or Greenland - although there are a few that actually breed here. Snow buntings are quite large for buntings with long wings.

Snow Buntings - Western Isles

Buzzards - Isle of Lewis
Buzzards

Buzzards - Hebridean Birds - Western Isles Birds. The buzzard is now the commonest bird of prey in the UK. Persecution of the buzzards started a long time ago and although Henry V111 made it illegal to take eggs, he excluded the buzzard..

Buzzards - Western Isles

     
     
  C    
Chaffinch - Isle of Lewis
Chaffinches

Chaffinches lives in groups during the winter time, whereas the rest time of the year it behaves rather territorial. The males Have particulaly stunning colours, oranges, ble greys and white. Chaffinches are uncommon breeders in the Western Isles

Chaffinches - Western Isles

Cormorants - Western Isles Bird Sightings
Cormorants

Cormorants - Western Isles Birds- For a water bird it is surprising how little time the cormorants actually spend in the water. You can see these prehistoric looking birds all around the western isles coasts and lochs.

Cormorants - Western Isles

Hooded Crow - Isle of Lewis
Hooded Crow

Hooded Crows are very common birds here in The Western Isles. These birds are light-grey with black wings and tail, a black head and untidy black bib down to its breast. The bill and legs are black; the iris dark brown.

Hooded Crows - Western Isles

  C    
Cormorants - Western Isles Bird Sightings
Cuckoo

Cuckoos - its said that when you hear the call of a cuckoo spring has arrived. These dove like birds, look similar to kestrels. THey are parasites taht lay their egss in other birds nests.

Cuckoos - Western Isles

Curlew - Isle of Harris - Western Isles Birds
Curlews

Curlews - the plumage is buffish brown in tone with delicate and intricate markings,, streaked underparts and a plain pale area under the tail. Curlews can be seen in many places on The Western Isles.

Curlews - Western Isles

     
  D    
Collared Dove - Western Isles Bird Sightings
Collared Dove

These birds, the collared doves have fared extraordinarily well since they first colonised Britain in the mid 1950s. They are white with pinkish-buff plumage and a distinctive black collar edged with white.

Collared Dove - Western Isles

Eider Ducks - Isle of Lewis
Eider Ducks

These birds the eiders are seen in several areas of the Western Isles, they have large heads and massive bills. The Common Eider is characterised by its bulky shape and large wedge-shaped bill.

Eider Ducks - Western Isles

Tufted Duck - Isle of Harris - Western Isles Birds
Tufted Ducks

These diving ducks - the tufted ducks - medium sized birds - are the most widespread duck in Britain. The distinctive male bird - is jet black - flanks and belly white -yellow eyes and a long head tuft

Tufted Ducks - Western Isles

     
  D - E    
Dunlin - Western Isles Bird Sightings
Dunlin

Dunlins - small wading birds which pass through the Western Isles on their way to the Arctic. Adaptable birds seen in Scotland and The Western Isles - happy on the beaches - coastal or freshwater marshes and even riverbanks..

Dunlin - Western Isles

Golden Eagle - Isle of Harris
Golden Eagle

The golden eagle, a very large bird of prey with a wingspan of more than 2 metres. This bird really does look magnificent in flight. We are fortunate here in the Western Isles to see them breeding again here.

Golden Eagles - Western Isles

White Tailed Sea Eagle - Isle of Harris - Western Isles Birds
White Tailed Eagle

The White tailed sea eagle is Britain's largest bird of prey. Its beak is nearly as long as its head. Immature birds have dark bills which gradually turn the yellow colour as the birds gets older.

White Tailed Sea Eagle Photo Gallery - Western Isles

     
  F    
Fieldfare - Western Isles Bird Sightings
Fieldfare

Fieldfare - a lovely thrush, the fieldfares are usually just passing through, they breed in places like Iceland. These thrushes are much like the mistle thrushes & stand very upright, spending the winter in flocks.

Fieldfare - Western Isles

Fulmars - Isle of Harris
Fulmar

Fulmars, hese birds are shaped like a gull, this bird glides like a shearwater. It has moderately long rounded wings - a short, stout pale bill - resembles a herring gull, but the head and neck are thicker.

Fulmars - Western Isles

     
  G    
White Tailed Sea Eagle - Isle of Harris - Western Isles Birds
Gannets

The gannet's capacity for eating large quantities of fish has led to "gannet" becoming a description of somebody who eats excessively, a glutton! At sea the gannets flap and glide low over the water,

White Tailed Sea Eagle Photo Gallery - Western Isles

Canada Geese - Western Isles Bird Sightings
Canada Geese

The Canada Goose - rarely seen in The Western Isles and indeed in Scotland.The Canada Goose is a large goose, with a distinctive black head and neck and large white throat patch or "chin strap".

Canada Goose - Western Isles

Greylag Goose - Isle of Harris
Greylag Geese

The Greylag Geese can be seen wandering all over The Isle of Harris and Lewis and Western Isles. With their large size and ungainly gait and loud honking call - you cant miss it.

Greylag Geese - Western Isles

  G    
Goldcrest - Western Isles Bird Sightings
Goldcrest

The

Western Isles Birds Sightings - The goldcrest is the Uk's smallest bird.

 

Really pretty birds that love pine needles as their beak is ideally suited for picking out the insects between the needles..

Goldcrest - Western Isles

Goldfinch - Isle of Harris
Goldfinches

The first succesful breeding here in The Outer Hebrides is recorded as being in 2000. Double-figure flocks now appear regularly here in The Western Isles - so not unusual but still nice to see them.

Goldfinch - Western Isles

Goldeneyes -  Isle of Harris - Western Isles Birds
Goldeneyes

These birds, the goldeneyes are lovely chunk sized ducks can be seen in the Western Isles.The males have a dark green almost black head and a bright yellow eye - hence their name the goldeneye.

White Tailed Sea Eagle Photo Gallery - Western Isles

     
  G    
Goosander - Bird Sightings
Goosanders

These lovely birds, the goosanders seen in The Western Isles and throughout Scotland & the Uk . The males lovely black and white plumage is really smart. Lovely looking birds that have great diving skills

Goosander - Western Isles

Great Northern Diver - Isle of Harris
Great Northern Diver

Great Northern Divers - spectacular birds, which occasionally breed here in Northern Scotland, though mainly breed in Iceland. These divers can dive to a depth of 200 feet (60metres)

Great Northern Diver - Western Isles

Greenfinches -  Isle of Harris - Western Isles Birds
Greenfinch

The greenfinch is a rather thickset finch - olive green with prominent yellow wing flashes. These pretty birds are regulars in the western isles. They love sunflower seeds and can often been seen in flocks

     
  G    
Greenshank - Bird Sightings
Greenshank

Greenshank - These birds some of which breed in the Western Isles are of great national importance being an uncommon resident or migrant breeder and low numbers of passage visitors.

Greenshank - Western Isles

Grey Heron - Stornoway
Grey Heron

The grey heron - a large bird with heavy bill, long legs and neck.The black and white patterning on its head and neck contrasts with the grey body. These birds often seen in the Western Isles

Grey Heron - Western Isles Photo Gallery

Red Grouse -  Isle of Harris - Western Isles Birds
Red Grouse

The red grouse - seen in the Western Isles - a russet, hen-sized bird with a longish neck and short beak. Males in full breeding finery have hot-red wattles above each eye.
Very shy, lovely birds.

Red Grouse -  Western Isles

     
  Gulls    
Black Headed Gull - Bird Sightings
Black Headed Gull

These gulls are actually dark chocolate rather than black - is a most elegant bird - with its slender wings with sharp points - red legs and red bill. The Western Isles has an abundance of these pretty birds.

Black Headed Gull - Western Isles

Common Gull - Bird Sightings
Common Gull

The common gull is smaller than the herring gull. It has a thinner bill than the herring gull. It looks like a smaller gentler version of the herring gull,though much more dainty, not really resembling a gull

Common Gull - Western Isles

Common Gull - Bird Sightings
Great Black Backed Gull

Great Black-backed Gulls, the largest gull in Britain and has a powerful bill. Adult gulls scavenge like other gulls, it poses a real threat to seabird chicks and also attacks, kill and eat adult birds as big Puffins or Coots.

Great Black Backed Gulls - Western Isles

     
  Gulls & G &
   
Herring Gull
Herring Gull

The herring gull has silver-grey back, white head, neck and underpart. This gull has black wing tips with white spots or patches. The heavy looking bill has a red spot on underside.

Black Headed Gull - Western Isles

Lesser Black Backed Gull - Bird Sightings
Lesser Black Backed Gull

The lesser black backed gull, sometimes mistaken for the great black backed gull - but really it is much more graceful and elegant. It is also similar to the herring gull .though it has yellow legs

Lesser Black Backed Gull - Western Isles

Guillemot
Guillemot

The guillemot, is striking black and white plumage - with black legs. It has a long slender unmarked bill. When resting it stands upright and can look somewhat like a "penguin".

Black Headed Gull - Western Isles

     
  G & K & L    
Black Guillemot
Black Guillemot

Black Guillemots, striking black and white plumaged birds have red feet..In the summer these birds are truly black except for bright red highlights on the legs, feet and inside the mouth.

Black Headed Gull - Western Isles

Kittiwakes Bird Sightings
Kittiwakes

Kittiwakes - lovely gentle birds - although on face value - these birds look like gulls, they are an altogether more gentle bird than the gulls. They spend no time harassing other birds (as the gulls do)

Lesser Black Backed Gull - Western Isles

Kittiwakes Bird Sightings
Lapwings

The Lapwing from a distance appears black and white below, but closer observation revealsl the upperparts as a beautiful iridescent dark green and purple. It gives great acrobatic displays and loud calls

Lesser Black Backed Gull - Western Isles

     
  M - O    
Mallard
Mallards

Mallards - large heavy looking ducks.Seen throughout The Western isles as indeed they are in Scotland and the UK. The male is unmistakable with its bottle green head, yellow bill, white collar and magenta breast.

Black Headed Gull - Western Isles

Red Breasted Merganser
Red Breasted Merganser

Red Breasted Mergansers - These lovely diving ducks - belong to the sawbill family with their long serrated bills which they use to catch fish. The female has a brown head and neck, the male black

Red Breasted Mergansers - Western Isles

Oyster Catchers  Bird Sightings
Oyster Catcher

The Hebrides has an extraordinary diversity of birds, including the lovely oyster catchers. The oyster catchers have black and white plumage, orange - red bill and red legs, Pretty birds seen in the Western Isles

Oyster Catchers - Western Isles

     
  P    
Pheasant
Pheasant

Pheasants - You cant mistake the male Pheasants with their iridescent copper colour plumage.The head and small ear tufts and neck are green. Females are mottled with paler brown and black.

Black Headed Gull - Western Isles

Meadow Pipits
Meadow Pipit

Birds often seen here in The Western Isles , thrushlike birds. Meadow Pipits resemble rock pipits, except that they have pinkish legs and are more olive coloured and are more dainty that the rock pipits.

Red Breasted Mergansers - Western Isles

Meadow Pipits
Rock Pipit

A small streaky bird, long legs, have a habit of running or walking rather than hopping. Differs from the similar meadow pipit as it has dark legs - rather broad streaks down its breast and its overall dark plumage..

Rock Pipits - Western Isles

     
  P    
Ringed Plover
Ringed Plovers

The ringed plover's pied head and breast and white neck distinguish the bird from other common small waders. These delightful birds can be seen all over The Western Islea, really pretty birds.

Ringed Plover- Western Isles

Golden Plover
Golden Plovers

Although there are some resident birds in The Western isles - in winter these golden plovers are joined by immigrants from the North and East with flocks of several thousand not being uncommon

Golden Plover- Western Isles

Puffins
Puffin

Puffins are striking looking birds with their deep triangular bill, patterned blue grey, orange, yellow and red, The puffins are stocky, short-winged and short-tailed birds, that can carry in their bill many fish.

Rock Pipits - Western Isles

     
 R    
Raven
Redwings

Redwings, shiny red flanks and underwings they are like thrushes. Many birds arrive on the Islands in September or October. They may have come from Iceland and spend the winter here.
Ravens -  Western Isles

Razorbill
Razorbills

Razorbills, medium sized seabirds, black plumage above and really white below. The razorbills have a really chunky thick black / dark grey blunt beak with a white band around it.

Razorbills - Western Isles

Redshank
Redshank

Redshanks have long bright orange-red legs, bills with red base - a medium sized wader. They fly fast, tilting from side to side, holding their wings upraised after landing. Really graceful birds

Redshanks - Western Isles

     
 R    
Raven
Ravens

Ravens - Huge black birds - members of the crow family, similar size as buzzards. Ravens are becoming quite common now and can be seen throughout The Western Isles. Their bills look really evil.

Ravens -  Western Isles

Red Throated Divers
Red Throated Divers

The Red-Throated Diver is a plain looking bird in winter, greyish above fading to white below. During the breeding season, it acquires the distinctive reddish throat which gives rise to its common name.

Red THroated Divers - Western Isles

Robin
Robin

The robin, about the size of a sparrow. It has of course the magnificent red breast. Both the males and females have the red breasts., s feed on insects and their larvae, spiders, worms and berries.

Robin

     
 R & S    
Rook
Rook

In The Western Isles - rooks arent at all that common - they are an uncommon resident breeder - only up to around 100 pairs in Stornoway Castle Grounds. There are recorded low numbers of winter visitors

Rook

Sanderling
Sanderling

Sanderlings - mainly seen in their non breeding plumage, these lovely little wading birds are just passing through the Western Isles. They breed much further north. The Arctic is their breeding area

Sanderling

Common Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper

A small short legged, short billed wading bird - bill with a pale base and dark tip - often seen in The Western Isles. Its upper parts are olive brown, finely spotted - the neck and sides of breast are grey-brown.

Common Sandpiper

     
  S    
Shag
Shag

Shags breed on all exposed rocky coasts usually nesting on low ledges. Many can be seen at The Butt of Lewis. These primeval looking birds are prolific in the Western isles. They look similar to cormorants

Shag

Shelduck
Shelduck

Often seen here in The Western Isles, Scotland, the shelduck has a particularly large prominent red bill, an elongated head, black-green, and chestnut and white upperparts. These ducks are really striking birds

Shelduck

Siskin
Siskin

Siskins - small yellow green finches - the male has a black cap, chin & throat - yellow wing flashes & a yellowish rump. It also has a notched tail which you can clearly see in flight. The female is much greyer

Siskin

  S    
Arctic Skua
Arctic Skua

The Arctic Skua really is powerful, a Parasitic Jaeger which preys on other seabirds, though scarce. these majestic birds are seen here in The Western Isles as they soar to the skies, really graceful birds

Arctic Skuas - Western Isles

Great Skua near The Shiants
Great Skua

Great Skuas - very powerful majestic seabirds - in and around The Western Isles. In poor light you could mistake them for large gulls, but at close range there really is no mistaking them.

Great Skua

Skylark
Skylark

The skylark is a large lark. Its size is really in between a sparrow and a thrush, smaller than a starling.The Skylark is known for it's sweetsong when it is in flight. It has a distinctive appearance when in flight

SKYLARK

  S    
Common Snipe
Common Snipe

The Common Snipes, often seen in The Western Isles. These birds are medium sized, skulking wading birds, short legs and long straight bills.They are one of the few birds using non vocal sound during display

Arctic Skuas - Western Isles

Song Thrush
Songthrush

The Hebridean Song Thrush Turdus philomelos hebridensis is the thrush that resides the islands.

This breed has a dark-brown back, greyish rump pale buff base colour to underparts & grey-tinged flanks.



Song Thrush - Western Isles

House Sparrow
Sparrow - Housesparrow

The House Sparrow - small birds, though common in the Western Isles, still striking birds. Both male house sparrows and females have brown backs, with dark streaks, and grey underparts.

Song Thrush - Western Isles

  S    
Sparrowhawk
Sparrowhawk

Sparrowhawks - seen now a little more often in The Western Isles. The females are as with all birds of prey larger than the males. These birds take tits, pigeons and female thrushes, swooping down to startle the birds.

Arctic Skuas - Western Isles

Starling
Starling

Starlings - these noisy birds can now easily be seen in The Western Isles - however their status is "red" as they did become a rarity in Scotland and The Western Isles in the eighties.

Arctic Skuas - Western Isles

Stonechat
Stonechat

Robin sized dumpy birds. Males have black heads, white around the side of their necks, orange-red breasts & mottled brown backs. Females lack the male's black head, have brown backs & orange tinge to chests

Song Thrush - Western Isles

     
  S    
Whooper Swans
Whooper Swans

The whooper swans are a winter visitor to The Western Isles and are actually a little more scarce in the summer. As large as a Mute Swan the Whooper swan is bigger than a Bewick Swan

Song Thrush - Western Isles

 
 T    
Teal
Teal

Teals - the most liked small ducks - loved for their plumage. They are are seen all over the UK. The male teal has a chestnut and green head. Green and black speculum and white wing bar in flight. .



Teal - Western Isles

Arctic Terns - Hebrides
Arctic Terns

These lovely terns seen all over the Western Isles - they look similar to common terns except that they have a totally red bill (no black tip as in the common terns) and the tail streamers in Arctic terns are longer

Song Thrush - Western Isles

Common Terns - Hebrides
Common Terns

Common Terns - greyish plumage - smart black cap and long dagger shaped red bill. It has a long, strongly forked tail and supremely angular wings with the sharp tips that distinguish them from other gulls.

Common Terns - Western Isles

     
     
 T    
Coal Tit - Hebrides
Coal Tit

Coal tits are an uncommon resident breeder - mainly appearing on The Isle of Lewis around the Castle Grounds. The coal tit has a distinctive grey back, black cap, and white patch at the back of its neck.

Coal Tits - Western Isles

Common Terns - Hebrides
Common Terns

Common Terns - greyish plumage - smart black cap and long dagger shaped red bill. It has a long, strongly forked tail and supremely angular wings with the sharp tips that distinguish them from other gulls.

Common Terns - Western Isles

Turnstones - Hebrides
Turnstones

Turnstone - A small colourful wading shore bird - smaller than a redshank, turnstones have a characteristic tortoiseshell mottled appearance with brown or chestnut and black upper parts.

Turnstones - Western Isles

 T - W    
Twite - Hebrides
Twite

Finch like birds. seen in The Western Isles & Northern Scotland, elsewhere in Southern England & Ireland were in severe decline. Twite eat seeds, are ground feeders, unusual in that twites also feed their young seeds

Twite - Western Isles

Pied Wagtail - Hebrides
Pied Wagtails

Pied Wagtails, small black & white - pied bird with a long tail that can sometimes be mistaken as being a young Magpie - however this bird is much smaller than a Magpie. This little bird is only a little bigger than a great tit.

Pied Wagtails - Western Isles

Waxwings - Hebrides
Waxwings

Waxwings, cockatoo like birds with a crest and lovely waxy wing tips with yellow and red. Winter visitors to Britain, however odd years there can be an "irruption" of them & they can be seen in hundreds in The Western Isles

Common Terns - Western Isles

     
 W    
Wheatear - Hebrides
Wheatears

Wheatears are a small mainly ground-dwelling bird. Wheatears hop or run on the ground. They are blue-grey above with black wings and white below with an orange flush to the breast.

Wheatear - Western Isles

Whimbrel - Hebrides
Whimbrel

Whimbrel - These birds seen in the Western Isles are usually "passage" birds - birds who breed in Greenland and Siberia.There are a few that do breed in the UK - but these are down south or in Shetland and Orkney.

Common Terns - Western Isles

Wigeon - Hebrides
Wigeon

Wigeon have short legs and a large round head shape. With large numbers of wintering birds at a few UK sites it is an Amber List species. The male and female look very different

wigeon - Western Isles

     
Click Pictures for Larger Images and More Information
©2014 Virtual Hebrides
Website Design and Hosting by Western Isles Web Services Ltd, Isle of Lewis Western Isles - Outer Hebrides