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Britains Common Birds (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
I decided a little while ago to make a concerted effort to see all of Britains regular native species be they breeding, wintering or predictable established passage migrants by the time I'm 50 (I'm 45 now).

Nothing against Vagrants, I'll go off and chase them at a moments notice with the best of them but you can't really plan for them and I'd like to be able to say I've seen all the species that make up our avifauna. I know thats a very arbitary line

I started out with the common birds section from the current RSPB guide that they give as a membership gift.

But I'm having a bit of a hard time justifying a few of them as fitting in with my criteria, a few species seem to be listed because of former status, having bred once or twice in the past whereas the books rare birds section has things like Glossy Ibis, Great Shearwater and Ring Necked Duck which to my mind are much more regularly present in the UK

How would people define the current status of the following
Pectoral Sandpiper
Marsh Warbler
Icterine Warbler
Pallas Warbler
barred warbler
melodious Warbler
Red breasted flycatcher
Golden Oriole
Little Bittern

Again I'm happy to see those birds, I would get in the car if one was within a few hours drive but I'm not sure about considering them as part of the UK's standard avifauna let alone justifying their place in the RSPB commonest birds section

apologies if any of the terms in here are wrong 'native' and regular in particular could be a can of worms, hopefully you can see what I want to get out of the project


Well-known member
While I haven’t read it all yet that’s a great thread and I think we’re in agreement about the word native. My 4 year old daughter sees Canada geese all the time. They’re part of her British wildlife. Like I said I have nothing against vagrants but I’ve been able to get agreement for seeing all the regular species. Not sure I’d have that for chucking my job and doing a series of big years. Besides it’s good planning the trips for the 30-40 I need

Farnboro John

Well-known member

Pectoral Sandpiper Annual common Autumn migrant with a good record of sticking, no excuse for missing this in any year.

Marsh Warbler Regular Spring and Autumn migrant, occasional breeder, easy enough to twitch each year.

Icterine Warbler Occasional Spring and Autumn migrant (decreasing) gettable with determination.

Pallas's Warbler Annual fairly common Autumn migrant and winterer, no excuse for missing.

Barred Warbler Common Autumn migrant around much of the coast and on off-islands, no excuse for missing in any year.

Melodious Warbler Regular late Summer and Autumn but location unpredictable (Portland gets quite a few), should be twitchable but a miss not impossible.

Quail Never easy to see but in a Quail year gettable with effort: look out for news of males singing from any heaps/at open edges of habitat.

Red-breasted Flycatcher Easy Autumn migrant with a good record of stickiness, no excuse for missing in any year.

Golden Oriole Not easy to judge: determination is the way forward. Neither Spring nor Autumn birds are predictably sticky. If push comes to shove I would suggest May holidays on Scilly.

Little Bittern Regularly twitchable vagrant: occasional breeder, but risks associated with eggers may result in suppression of easily seen breeders until they stop being such!

Stands by for alternative viewpoints!



Well-known member
Thanks John. Really helpful advice and like I said I’d like to see the vagrants too but while a lot of them seem twitchable they do still seem like lost birds. Certainly they don’t seem to be easier/more regular/more sticky than say green winged teal or spotted sand or yellowlegs or other Nearctic species

I’m happy to go for them but I don’t really feel if I don’t see them I’m missing out on British birds. Quail stands out as an exception. They seem very hard but still an integral British species. A bit like corncrake.
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Well-known member
Looking at last years bubo year lists there were 100 pecs (arguably the least genuinely British of the lot although I’m fairly confident of seeing one) 75 barred warblers and under 50 observers of the rest. Generally of the same few birds often on scilly or Shetland (or spurn and I’m plannjng on doing a spurn day this autumn)

I’m not moaning about them being hard. To get a long list is obviously hard but the idea that they are more part of the British avifauna than say ring necked duck seems weird. I suppose there might be more individuals

Quail was in the 20s so rare and natural migrant can obviously coexist
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Bismarck Honeyeater

Barely known member
Thos is a (pretty) up to date list of all non-BBRC regularly occurring species on the British List. Some are still pretty tricky to connect with, however:

1. Mute Swan
2. Bewick's Swan
3. Whooper Swan
4. Tundra Bean Goose
5. Taiga Bean Goose
6. Pink-footed Goose
7. White-fronted Goose
8. Greylag Goose
9. Snow Goose
10. Canada Goose
11. Barnacle Goose
12. Brent Goose
13. Egyptian Goose
14. Shelduck
15. Mandarin Duck
16. Wigeon
17. American Wigeon
18. Gadwall
19. Teal
20. Green-winged Teal
21. Mallard
22. Pintail
23. Garganey
24. Shoveler
25. Red-crested Pochard
26. Pochard
27. Ring-necked Duck
28. Tufted Duck
29. Lesser Scaup
30. Scaup
31. Eider
32. Long-tailed Duck
33. Common Scoter
34. Surf Scoter
35. Velvet Scoter
36. Goldeneye
37. Smew
38. Red-breasted Merganser
39. Goosander
40. Ruddy Duck
41. Ptarmigan
42. Red Grouse
43. Black Grouse
44. Capercaillie
45. Red-legged Partridge
46. Grey Partridge
47. Quail
48. Pheasant
49. Lady Amherst’s Pheasant
50. Golden Pheasant
51. Red-throated Diver
52. Black-throated Diver
53. Great Northern Diver
54. White-billed Diver
55. Fulmar
56. Great Shearwater
57. Cory's Shearwater
58. Sooty Shearwater
59. Manx Shearwater
60. Balearic Shearwater
61. Storm-petrel
62. Wilson’s Storm-petrel
63. Leach's Storm-petrel
64. Gannet
65. Cormorant
66. Shag
67. Bittern
68. Night-heron
69. Cattle Egret
70. Little Egret
71. Great White Egret
72. Grey Heron
73. Purple Heron
74. White Stork
75. Spoonbill
76. Glossy Ibis
77. Little Grebe
78. Great Crested Grebe
79. Red-necked Grebe
80. Slavonian Grebe
81. Black-necked Grebe
82. White-tailed Eagle
83. Osprey
84. Golden Eagle
85. Honey-buzzard
86. Black Kite
87. Red Kite
88. Marsh Harrier
89. Hen Harrier
90. Montague's Harrier
91. Goshawk
92. Sparrowhawk
93. Buzzard
94. Rough-legged Buzzard
95. Kestrel
96. Merlin
97. Hobby
98. Red-footed Falcon
99. Peregrine Falcon
100. Water Rail
101. Spotted Crake
102. Corncrake
103. Moorhen
104. Coot
105. Crane
106. Oystercatcher
107. Black-winged Stilt
108. Avocet
109. Stone Curlew
110. Little Ringed Plover
111. Ringed Plover
112. Kentish Plover
113. Dotterel
114. Golden Plover
115. American Golden Plover
116. Grey Plover
117. Lapwing
118. Knot
119. Sanderling
120. Little Stint
121. Temminck’s Stint
122. Pectoral Sandpiper
123. Curlew Sandpiper
124. Purple Sandpiper
125. White-rumped Sandpiper
126. Dunlin
127. Buff-breasted Sandpiper
128. Ruff
129. Jack Snipe
130. Common Snipe
131. Woodcock
132. Black-tailed Godwit
133. Bar-tailed Godwit
134. Whimbrel
135. Curlew
136. Spotted Redshank
137. Redshank
138. Lesser Yellowlegs
139. Greenshank
140. Green Sandpiper
141. Wood Sandpiper
142. Common Sandpiper
143. Turnstone
144. Red-necked Phalarope
145. Grey Phalarope
146. Pomarine Skua
147. Arctic Skua
148. Long-tailed Skua
149. Great Skua
150. Mediterranean Gull
151. Little Gull
152. Sabine's Gull
153. Black-headed Gull
154. Ring-billed Gull
155. Common Gull
156. Lesser Black-backed Gull
157. Herring Gull
158. Yellow-legged Gull
159. Caspian Gull
160. Iceland Gull
161. Glaucous Gull
162. Great Black-backed Gull
163. Kittiwake
164. Sandwich Tern
165. Roseate Tern
166. Common Tern
167. Arctic Tern
168. Little Tern
169. Black Tern
170. White-winged Black Tern
171. Guillemot
172. Razorbill
173. Black Guillemot
174. Little Auk
175. Puffin
176. Rock Dove
177. Stock Dove
178. Woodpigeon
179. Collared Dove
180. Turtle Dove
181. Rose-ringed Parakeet
182. Cuckoo
183. Barn Owl
184. Little Owl
185. Tawny Owl
186. Long-eared Owl
187. Short-eared Owl
188. European Nightjar
189. Common Swift
190. Alpine Swift
191. Bee-eater
192. Kingfisher
193. Hoopoe
194. Wryneck
195. Green Woodpecker
196. Great Spotted Woodpecker
197. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
198. Golden Oriole
199. Red-backed Shrike
200. Great Grey Shrike
201. Woodchat Shrike
202. Jay
203. Magpie
204. Chough
205. Jackdaw
206. Rook
207. Carrion Crow
208. Hooded Crow
209. Raven
210. Goldcrest
211. Firecrest
212. Marsh Tit
213. Willow Tit
214. Coal Tit
215. Crested Tit
216. Blue Tit
217. Great Tit
218. Bearded Tit
219. Short-toed lark
220. Wood Lark
221. Sky Lark
222. Shore Lark
223. Sand Martin
224. Swallow
225. Red-rumped Swallow
226. House Martin
227. Cetti's Warbler
228. Long-tailed Tit
229. Pallas's Warbler
230. Yellow-browed Warbler
231. Greenish Warbler
232. Arctic Warbler
233. Wood Warbler
234. Chiffchaff
235. Radde’s Warbler
236. Dusky Warbler
237. Willow Warbler
238. Dartford Warbler
239. Barred Warbler
240. Lesser Whitethroat
241. Whitethroat
242. Garden Warbler
243. Blackcap
244. Grasshopper Warbler
245. Icterine Warbler
246. Melodious Warbler
247. Sedge Warbler
248. Marsh Warbler
249. Blyth’s Reed Warbler
250. Reed Warbler
251. Waxwing
252. Nuthatch
253. Treecreeper
254. Penduline Tit
255. Wren
256. Starling
257. Rosy Starling
258. Dipper
259. Ring Ouzel
260. Blackbird
261. Fieldfare
262. Song Thrush
263. Redwing
264. Mistle Thrush
265. Spotted Flycatcher
266. Red-breasted Flycatcher
267. Pied Flycatcher
268. Robin
269. Nightingale
270. Bluethroat
271. Red-flanked Blue-tail
272. Black Redstart
273. Redstart
274. Whinchat
275. Stonechat
276. Wheatear
277. Dunnock
278. House Sparrow
279. Tree Sparrow
280. Richard's Pipit
281. Olive-backed Pipit
282. Tree Pipit
283. Meadow Pipit
284. Rock Pipit
285. Water Pipit
286. Yellow Wagtail
287. Citrine Wagtail
288. Grey Wagtail
289. Pied Wagtail
290. Chaffinch
291. Brambling
292. Serin
293. Greenfinch
294. Goldfinch
295. Siskin
296. Linnet
297. Twite
298. Lesser Redpoll
299. Mealy Redpoll
300. Common Crossbill
301. Scottish Crossbill
302. Parrot Crossbill
303. Common Rosefinch
304. Bullfinch
305. Hawfinch
306. Lapland Bunting
307. Snow Bunting
308. Yellowhammer
309. Cirl Bunting
310. Ortolan Bunting
311. Little Bunting
312. Reed Bunting
313. Corn Bunting


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Well-known member
Thanks that’s really useful. I’d quibble about the inclusion of say Lady Amherst against say white billed diver. (Not seen either) but it’s a good reference to have

Earnest lad

Well-known member
I have a similar project and I find the RSPB website A-Z of birds helpful.
I reason that the approximately 270 birds listed there must be the "common" birds of Britain.
Alternatively, I think the RSPB handbook of birds has exactly the same birds featured

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