10 Common UK Birds

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The United Kingdom may not boast the colorful avian diversity found in other regions, but its birdlife is rich nonetheless. Here are ten of the most common birds you’re likely to encounter across the UK, each with its own unique charm and characteristics.

1. Wood Pigeon

Scientific Name: Columba palumbus
Lifespan: Up to 15 years
Size: 40-42 cm
Weight: 480-550 g
Wingspan: 75-80 cm
Population: 5,150,000 breeding pairs
Status: Amber

Wood pigeons, the largest pigeons in the UK, are distinguishable by their grey bodies, blue-grey heads, and white neck patches. Males flaunt a pink chest with an iridescent purple patch.

2. Magpie

Scientific Name: Pica pica
Lifespan: 3-6 years
Size: 44-46 cm
Weight: 210-250 g
Wingspan: 52-60 cm
Population: 600,000 breeding territories
Status: Green

Magpies sport black heads, breasts, wings, and backs with a white belly and undertail. Their plumage shines with a purple-blue sheen when hit by sunlight.

3. Blackbird

Scientific Name: Turdus merula
Lifespan: 3-5 years
Size: 24.5-25 cm
Weight: 80-100 g
Wingspan: 34-38.5 cm
Population: 5-5.1 million breeding pairs
Status: Green

Male blackbirds are black with yellow bills, while females are dark brown with streaky undersides. They feed on insects, worms, and berries.

4. Collared Dove

Scientific Name: Streptopelia decaocto
Lifespan: 3 years
Size: 32 cm
Weight: 180-220 g
Wingspan: 51 cm
Population: 810,000 breeding pairs
Status: Green

With pale grey plumage and a black half-collar, collared doves are a common sight across the UK. Both males and females share similar appearances.

5. Long-tailed Tit

Scientific Name: Aegithalos caudatus
Lifespan: 2-3 years
Size: 13-15 cm
Weight: 7-10 g
Wingspan: 16-19 cm
Population: 340,000 breeding territories
Status: Green

Recognizable by their round bodies, black heads, and long tails, long-tailed tits are energetic insect hunters found throughout the UK.

6. Goldfinch

Scientific Name: Carduelis carduelis
Lifespan: 8-10 years
Size: 12 cm
Weight: 14-19 g
Wingspan: 21-25.5 cm
Population: 1.2 million breeding pairs
Status: Green

Male goldfinches boast bright red faces with black caps, while females exhibit subtler colors. They’re known for their melodious songs and feeding on insects and seeds.

7. Chaffinch

Scientific Name: Fringilla coelebs
Lifespan: Up to 10 years
Size: 14.5 cm
Weight: 18-29 g
Wingspan: 24.5-28.5 cm
Population: 6.2 million breeding pairs
Status: Green

Male chaffinches have blue heads and reddish backs, while females are grey-brown. They’re often heard singing from branches across the UK.

8. Wren

Scientific Name: Troglodytes troglodytes
Lifespan: 2-3 years
Size: 9-10 cm
Weight: 7-12 g
Wingspan: 13-17 cm
Population: 8.6 million breeding territories
Status: Amber

Wrens, though tiny, are widespread in the UK. With brown plumage and a shy demeanor, they’re often overlooked despite their common presence.

9. Dunnock

Scientific Name: Prunella modularis
Lifespan: 2-3 years
Size: 14 cm
Weight: 18-24 g
Wingspan: 19-21 cm
Population: 2.3 million breeding territories
Status: Amber

Resembling sparrows, dunnocks feature brown plumage and grey heads. They feed on insects, spiders, worms, and seeds.

10. Carrion Crow

Scientific Name: Corvus corone
Lifespan: 5-10 years
Size: 45-47 cm
Weight: 370-650 g
Wingspan: 93-104 cm
Population: 1 million breeding territories
Status: Green

Completely black with a thick bill, carrion crows are intelligent birds often confused with ravens. They feed on a variety of foods, including carrion, insects, seeds, and fruit.

Conclusion: While the UK may lack the flamboyant avian species found in other regions, its common birds are a vital part of its natural heritage. Keep an eye out for these feathered friends on your next outdoor adventure!

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