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Grey Heron

A large bird with a very long neck which is often hunched up while it stands stock-still looking for fish. Huge wing span. Unmistakeable.

Size: 90cm Where: Fresh water
Winter Visitor

Grey Plover

Pigeon-size like Golden Plover and has same big eye in round head. Pale, mottled brownish grey. Feeds alone or as couple but flocks to roost. Bill: short and heavy, dark colour. In flight: pale underside but striking black ‘armpits’; patch on rump and stripe along wing both white. Loud whistling call travels far.

Size: 28cm Where: Sea coast

Grey Wagtail

It’s grey on top and male is very yellow underneath in spring. Tail is black with broad white edges. Belly goes paler in winter. The whole rear end bobs up and down. Very similar to yellow wagtail, but these are rarer.

Size: 18cm Where: Fresh water
Summer Visitor


Pelagic. Most on Skomer; also on Ramsey Few on Skokholm as ledges not good. Chocolate brown with white belly. Birds favour long, narrow ledges on sheer cliffs and cram themselves in. Lots between Angle and Stackpole on South Pembs coast and on Needle Rock close to Dinas Head.

Size: 41cm Where: Sea coast, Island
Winter Visitor

Hen Harrier

Stays in uplands in summer but descends to lower ground in winter. Flies low, gliding and dashing in on prey. Slimmer than buzzard with long tail and narrow wings. Head a bit like owl. Male grey with white belly, black wing tips; female brown mottled – much more barred than buzzard.

Size: 48cm Where: Inland

Herring Gull

Large and noisy. Grey and white with large yellow bill which has red spot on lower tip. Legs pinkish – NOT yellow.

Size: 56-62cm Where: Sea coast, Inland, Island


A glamorous bird often seen in flight near oak woods or on tree-lined verges. Striking blue on front edge of wing, white in centre and black at lower edge. Wing tips grey; white rump and black tail. Russet elsewhere.

Size: 34cm Where: Inland


The most common of falcons. Bright rusty brown upperparts spotted with black and long, slim tail barred with black, grey head and tail with black band at tip. Female has tail barred brown. Silvery underparts. Hovers or sits on posts.

Size: 33cm Where: Sea coast, Inland, Island


Much smaller than you might imagine and hard to spot unless you’re in the right place! It prefers slow-moving sections of river with overhanging branches out of which it might flit for a few yards. Vivid turquoise and orange.

Size: 16cm Where: Fresh water


Pelagic Skomer and Ramsey. Also Flimston in caves. Very pretty gull. Makes nest with mud, wet grass and saliva. Winter: blue-grey back and upper wing. Black wingtips. White elsewhere. Bill yellow, legs dark and dark patches on head. A few around harbours in winter. Offshore August to October.

Size: 40-42cm Where: Sea coast, Island
Winter Visitor


Small, dumpy body, bill and legs medium-length. Feed and roost in huge flocks; may fly in twisting clouds rather like starlings. It has few distinguishing marks apart from behaviour. Adult bird mostly grey with pale belly. In flight: shows pale grey rump with fine darker bars. Pale stripe on wing like Grey Plover.

Size: 25cm Where: Sea coast
Winter Visitor


Numbers declining. Distinctive long head crest and loud ‘peewit’ call. Flocks swoop and wheel as if blown by wind. Distinctive broad wings with blunt end in flight. Dark greenish with purple of blue wings, white throat and belly plus inner part of underwing. Shows white band above black tail when in flight.

Size: 30cm Where: Sea coast, Fresh water, Island

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