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Birds which can be seen inland but which live on or near lakes and rivers are included in our page on Birds to see near fresh water.

Clifftops and moorland

Some birds, whilst not strictly water birds, certainly favour clifftops close to the sea. They love the scrubby vegetation of gorse, heather and thorn bushes. These include Stonechat, Wheatear, Whinchat and Linnet. Many birds favour open moorland as a breeding ground, but they manage to stay well hidden and are very elusive in this habitat.


Conservation projects and intervention of bodies such as the RSPB and National Trust have allowed many areas of ancient woodland to support a profusion of small woodland birds which depend on deciduous trees for their nesting and feeding. Coniferous plantation forests attract particular species but their ephemeral nature tends to discourage rare species from setting up permanent residence.

Some woodland birds are likely to visit garden feeders too. For example, the Great Tit and other Tits, Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker. Siskin or Brambling might also visit in winter.

Common birds

Your cottage garden may attract a variety of the more sociable birds which may be seen in parks and gardens everywhere: Dunnock (or Hedge Sparrow), Robin, Blue Tit, Blackbird and Song Thrush have not been included as they are well-known and easy to identify.

There are four common members of the Crow family:

Carrion Crow (46cm) is all black and hangs out over moors and farmland as well as by the sea. Not usually in flocks.

Rook is a similar size but has steep forehead and pointier bill. It hangs out in noisy flocks, nesting at the tops of trees on farmland or around villages. Bear in mind the saying is that “a Crow in a crowd is a Rook, a Rook on its own is a Crow”.

Jackdaw is smaller with greyish body and head; cap blacker. They bound around in flocks making loud chattering ‘chack-a-chack’ noise.

Raven is huge (63cm) and much like a crow in appearance. They nest on cliff ledges, so you’ll see them on the coast and on mountains. Not to be confused with Chough, which has RED legs and bill.

The Swallow is also fairly well-known but not to be confused with the House Martin and Swift. Swallows are the ones which are dark blue on top, white underneath, with a red chin and very fine, long, forked tail. They sit around on cables; the others do not.

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Summer Visitor


Sylvia genus. They sometimes stay all winter. Like woods and thickets but also come to gardens. Male: black cap, grey head and brownish grey body. Stumpy flat-ended tail. Lovely song like warbler.

Size: 14cm Where: Inland

Blue tit

Yellow breast, White head encircled by black line, turning blue on crown. Black eye stripe. Greenish back and blue wing and tail.

Size: 12cm Where: Inland
Winter Visitor


Fringilla family same as Chaffinch and often hangs out with them. Orange, black and grey plumage. Rosy breast. Flocks in beech woods in winter. Hops and rustles around under trees. Sometimes bird tables in very cold spells.

Size: 15cm Where: Inland


A large bird sitting on a fence or telegraph post is usually a buzzard; not a golden eagle. Flies with stiff wing beats, then glides. They eat carrion from roads but also small live prey. Streaky brown with paler breast and very dark wing tips with spread ‘fingers’ in flight.

Size: 55cm Where: Inland, Island


Fringilla family. It’s the most common finch. Male: in spring has grey crown and pale pinky orange face and breast. Duller in winter. In flight: balck and white wing bars and white sides on tail. Females are dull but with same wing pattern.

Size: 15cm Where: Inland
Summer Visitor


Arrives March and sits around on edges of woods or in thickets saying ‘chiff-chaff’. Greenish buff all over with paler underparts. Can appear grey. Legs very dark.

Size: 10cm Where: Inland

Coal Tit

Has black head, white cheek, white patch on back of neck and 2 rows of white spots across wings. Otherwise similar to Marsh and Coal Tits. Very agile. Takes whole nut from feeder and buries it or eats it alone.

Size: 11cm Where: Inland

Common Gull

Medium sized. Dainty bill not bright yellow. Grey and white. Herring gull is much more common in West Wales.

Size: 40-42cm Where: Sea coast, Inland


Largest wader of its kind with long down-turned bill. Mainly grey-brown speckled plumage. Reveals white rump in flight. Calls “Cu-urlew” often late into the evening. Breeds on uplands but is often around the Teifi estuary in late summer as well as winter.

Size: 53-58cm Where: Sea coast, Inland, Island


Commonest tiny wader. Winter: dull grey-brown with whiter belly. More colour other times with russet back, greyer head and breast, black belly. Thin bill. Thin white line along wing in flight, dark rump with white sides. Does many quick dashes; not as fast and erratic as Sanderling and less ponderous than Knot.

Size: 18cm Where: Sea coast, Inland, Fresh water


A darling, tiny little bird; buff underside, dark stripey wings. Crown of head: dark streak with gold line down centre. Often high in conifers but autumn or winter descends to bushes and can appear right by your side working along a bank or hedge. They just don’t seem to notice humans!

Size: 9cm Where: Inland
Winter Visitor

Golden Plover

Size of pigeon. Likes fields. Round head with big, dark eye, short, straight, dark bill, yellowish chest and bright white belly. It stands still, often tilting head before walking or running a few steps, tipping forward to pick at a worm. In Flight: underside of pointy wing flashes white.

Size: 28cm Where: Sea coast, Inland

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