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Eider Duck

Male strikingly black and white with wedge-shaped head and green patch on back of neck. Appears to be wearing latest streamlined black cycle helmet. Neck and rump white. Female is dull speckled brownish like many female birds.

Size: 58cm Where: Sea coast


Pelagic. Skomer and Ramsey. Looks like gull but petrel family. Has tube nostrils. Flies with stiff, rectangular wings. Often groups to feed; breeds in colonies on cliffs. Regurgitates on intruder if alarmed. Blue grey on top and white under. Dark smudge around eye. Often lingers around breeding grounds all year.

Size: 44-50cm Where: Sea coast, Island


Pelagic. Huge colony breed on most remote Pembrokeshire island, Grassholm . Unmistakeable, it has long, narrow wings with black tips. Rest of upper body is white with yellowish head and neck. Very large grey bill and blue eye. It can be seen flying close to headlands all year.

Size: 90cm Where: Sea coast, Island
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
Winter Visitor


Sitting on the water it is stocky with a big head and rounded, thick bill. Male has white spot on dark green head; dark upper wing and white underparts. Female has brown head and otherwise greyish. Looks dark on water. Both show white inner wing in flight.

Size: 40-48cm Where: Sea coast, Inland, Fresh water
Winter Visitor


Often largest bird in mixed flocks of water fowl. Male: dull greenish black head, pinkish white breast. In flight wings are half white, half black with white innermost. Bill: dark red, thinning to tip with large hook. Female has dark reddish brown head and white chin and blue-grey with white inner wing and belly.

Size: 63-69cm Where: Sea coast, Fresh water
Winter Visitor

Great Crested Grebe

Very elegant with long neck, which is hunched when swimming. Same size as mallard. Bill is like a dagger and pale pink. In flight shows large stripes of white at front and back of wings. Legs trail.

Size: 45-51cm Where: Sea coast, Fresh water
Winter Visitor

Great Northern Diver

Coastal sea. A large, chunky bird, it has a big, dark dagger-like bill. In flight: neck outstretched with legs trailing. Winter: loses its 2 rows of fine white stripes from neck and checked pattern on back is less vivid. Appears dark on top with whitish underparts including throat and front of neck.

Size: 75-85cm Where: Sea coast

Greater Black-backed Gull

It is largest gull; very dark on back and upper wings. Bill very large and chunky and adult legs pink. Broad white trailing edge on wing plus white patch at tip of wing. Bill yellow with orange spot. Winter can be seen inland but not in W Wales. Nesting pairs are solitary.

Size: 65cm Where: Sea coast, Island
Winter Visitor


It is delicate and elegant (Redshank dumpier). Very quick – dashes along, splashing. Green legs can look dull grey. Head: pale, grey (whitish in winter). Bill: grey base and upcurved. In Flight: Legs stick out behind and it shows breast pale grey with white belly; white V shape up its back; very dark wings.

Size: 30cm Where: Sea coast
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
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

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