Wonders of the wild: Bird bingo

Published on 12/07/2021, 10:55

The proximity of mountains and water is an ideal location for bird spotting (especially birds of prey). This list consists of some of the many stunning birds nesting in the area. If you get lucky, you might just spot some of the most majestic flying creatures of the Highlands! 

Golden eagles


Image by Kevinsphotos from Pixabay 


Golden eagles are big predators that tend to hunt rabbits, hares, foxes and young deer. They have a wingspan of over 2 metres and are quite rare to see. They tend to nest in rocky crags. The best chance to see these creatures is when they are flying high up over the mountains. 



White-tailed eagles

Photo by Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash


White-tailed eagles are bigger than golden eagles with a wingspan of almost 2.5 metres. They build their nest in trees and eat fish, rabbits, hares and birds. They can be spotted in the Scottish coasts, sea lochs and lochs. These magnificent birds became extinct in the UK in the beginning of the 20th century. However, they were successfully re-introduced by bringing chicks to the island of Rum all the way from Norway! 


Black grouse 


Black Grouse. Photo by Hans Veth on Unsplash

These birds are known for their red eyebrows and white tails. They also have a unique call: a bubbling noise combined with occasional hissing. They have a wingspan of approximately 80 cm. Black grouse’s diet consists of grass, buds, shoot and berries. They are becoming increasingly rare in the UK. During the breeding season (April-May), listen out for the calls that can be heard from four kilometres away!



An osprey. Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash


Ospreys can be identified by their white below and brown eyestripes.  They have a full wingspan of 1.5 metres. Ospreys are excellent fish hunters. Their nests can often be found on tree tops and sometimes on cliff ledges and coastal rocks. Some say that the beautiful bird has become a Scottish icon. 

Keep your eyes up in the sky and you might just see some of these beautiful birds soaring above you!

Sources: Forestry and Land Scotland, Scottish Wildlife Trust 

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