List of birds of Leicestershire and Rutland

Last updated
Two great crested grebes swimming on Rutland Water. A great crested grebe is the emblem of the Leicestershire and Rutland Ornithological Society (LROS). Podiceps cristatus -Rutland Water, Rutland, England-8 (1).jpg
Two great crested grebes swimming on Rutland Water. A great crested grebe is the emblem of the Leicestershire and Rutland Ornithological Society (LROS).

Leicestershire and Rutland are neighbouring counties in the English Midlands. Rutland is the smallest county in England and its administration was amalgamated with its larger neighbour between 1974 and 1997. Since 1941, the two counties have shared a single bird-recording organisation, the Leicestershire and Rutland Ornithological Society (LROS). [1]

Contents

Since 1 January 1941, the date of the foundation of the LROS, 290 bird species have been recorded in the counties in an apparently natural wild state at least once. A further nine were documented prior to that date, but have not been recorded subsequently. There are nine introduced species that maintain themselves without necessary recourse to further introduction. The total list for the LROS recording area is therefore 308 species. [2]

Leicestershire and Rutland are landlocked lowland counties and most of the birds are typical of English farmland habitat. Many coastal, oceanic and highland birds are absent or rare, and there are few rare vagrants compared to coastal areas. The construction of two large reservoirs, Eyebrook Reservoir in 1940 and Rutland Water (England's largest reservoir) in 1976, has provided freshwater environments enabling many aquatic birds to thrive. [3]

The list below is based on the LROS checklist, using BOU species names, [4] and the status descriptors in the accounts have the following meanings: [2]

In the list below, "BBRC" means that a full description of nationally rare species is required for acceptance of the record by the British Birds Rarities Committee, and "LROS" indicates that a description of county rarities is required for acceptance of the record by the LROS Records Committee. Photographs of birds illustrating the list are not all taken within the locality.

Table of contents

Footnotes         Cited text         External links

Ducks, geese and swans

Order: Anseriformes    Family: Anatidae

The swans, ducks and geese are medium to large birds that are adapted to an aquatic existence with webbed feet and bills which are flattened to a greater or lesser extent. In many ducks the male is colourful while the female is dull brown. The diet consists of a variety of animals and plants. The family is well represented in the counties, especially in winter when large numbers visit from further north.

Common shelduck foraging in the mud around frozen-over Rutland Water in winter. Tadorna tadorna -Rutland Water, Rutland, England-8.jpg
Common shelduck foraging in the mud around frozen-over Rutland Water in winter.
A male Eurasian teal at Rutland Water Anas crecca -Rutland Water, Rutland, England -male-8.jpg
A male Eurasian teal at Rutland Water
Common nameBinomialStatus
Mute swan Cygnus olorFairly common resident; uncommon to fairly common breeding
Bewick's swan Cygnus columbianusUncommon in winter and on passage
Whooper swan Cygnus cygnusScarce in winter and on passage
Bean goose Anser fabalisRare in winter, LROS
Pink-footed goose Anser brachyrhynchusScarce in winter and uncommon on passage
White-fronted goose Anser albifronsScarce to uncommon in winter, mainly escapes
Greylag goose Anser anserFairly common feral resident; uncommon breeding
Canada goose Branta canadensisIntroduced common resident; fairly common breeding
Barnacle goose Branta leucopsisRare in winter, uncommon feral resident
Brent goose Branta berniclaScarce in winter and uncommon on passage
Egyptian goose Alopochen aegyptiacaIntroduced. Uncommon resident, scarce breeding
Ruddy shelduck Tadorna ferrugineaRare vagrant or escapee
Common shelduck Tadorna tadornaUncommon in winter and on passage, scarce breeding
Mandarin duck Aix galericulataIntroduced. Uncommon resident, scarce breeding
Eurasian wigeon Anas penelopeCommon in winter and on passage, scarce in summer
American wigeon Anas americanaVery rare, LROS
Gadwall Anas streperaCommon in winter and on passage, uncommon breeding
Eurasian teal Anas creccaCommon in winter and on passage, uncommon breeding
Green-winged teal Anas carolinensisVery rare, LROS
Mallard Anas platyrhynchosCommon in winter and on passage, fairly common breeding
Northern pintail Anas acutaUncommon to fairly common in winter and on passage
Garganey Anas querquedulaScarce to uncommon on passage; very rare breeding
Blue-winged teal Anas discorsVery rare, BBRC
Northern shoveler Anas clypeataFairly common in winter; rare-scarce breeding
Red-crested pochard Netta rufinaScarce in winter and on passage
Common pochard Aythya ferinaFairly common to common, rare breeding
Redhead Aythya americanaVery rare, BBRC
Ring-necked duck Aythya collarisVery rare, LROS
Ferruginous duck Aythya nyrocaRare in winter and on passage, LROS
Tufted duck Aythya fuligulaCommon in winter and on passage, uncommon breeding
Greater scaup Aythya marilaUncommon in winter and on passage
Lesser scaup Aythya affinisVery rare, BBRC
Common eider Somateria mollissimaRare in winter and on passage, LROS
Long-tailed duck Clangula hyemalisRare in winter
Common scoter Melanitta nigraRare in winter and uncommon on passage
Velvet scoter Melanitta fuscaRare in winter and on passage, LROS
Surf scoter Melanitta perspicillataVery rare vagrant- one record 2016-2017 LROS
Common goldeneye Bucephala clangulaFairly common in winter and on passage, uncommon in summer
Smew Mergellus albellusUncommon in winter
Red-breasted merganser Mergus serratorScarce in winter and on passage
Goosander Mergus merganserFairly common in winter and on passage
Ruddy duck Oxyura jamaicensisIntroduced. Uncommon in winter, scarce breeding

Grouse

Order: Galliformes    Family: Tetraonidae

Grouse are sturdy, medium-sized terrestrial birds of the Northern Hemisphere. They have feathered feet and nostrils and short, rounded wings. They feed mainly on plant material and lay their eggs in a simple scrape on the ground. They are gamebirds and large numbers were shot in the past in moorland areas.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Red grouse Lagopus lagopusExtinct resident since about 1840 [5]
Eurasian black grouse Tetrao tetrixExtinct resident since about 1840 [5]

Pheasants, partridges and quail

Order: Galliformes    Family: Phasianidae

A female common pheasant near Rutland Water Phasianus colchicus -Rutland Water -female-8.jpg
A female common pheasant near Rutland Water

Pheasants and allies are terrestrial species, feeding and nesting on the ground. They are variable in size but generally plump, with broad and relatively short wings.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Red-legged partridge Alectoris rufaCommon introduced resident breeder
Grey partridge Perdix perdixUncommon resident breeder
Common quail Coturnix coturnixScarce summer visitor, breeds
Common pheasant Phasianus colchicusCommon introduced resident breeder

Divers

Order: Gaviiformes    Family: Gaviidae

Divers are aquatic birds the size of a large duck, to which they are unrelated. They swim well and fly adequately but, because their legs are placed towards the rear of the body, are clumsy on land. They feed on fish and other aquatic animals.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Red-throated diver Gavia stellataRare in winter, LROS
Black-throated diver Gavia arcticaRare in winter, LROS
Great northern diver Gavia immerScarce in winter

Grebes

Order: Podicipediformes    Family: Podicipedidae

Grebes are small to medium-large diving birds with lobed toes and pointed bills. They are seen mainly on lowland waterbodies and coasts. They feed on aquatic animals and nest on a floating platform of vegetation. There are about 19 species worldwide with five in Leicestershire and Rutland.

A great crested grebe swimming at Rutland Water Podiceps cristatus -Rutland Water, Rutland, England-8.jpg
A great crested grebe swimming at Rutland Water
Common nameBinomialStatus
Little grebe Tachybaptus ruficollisUncommon to fairly common breeding
Great crested grebe Podiceps cristatusFairly common in winter and on passage, uncommon breeding
Red-necked grebe Podiceps grisegenaScarce in winter and on passage
Slavonian grebe Podiceps auritusScarce in winter and on passage
Black-necked grebe Podiceps nigricollisUncommon in summer and on passage, rare in winter
Pied-billed grebe Podilymbus podicepsVery rare

Shearwaters and petrels

Order: Procellariiformes    Family: Procellariidae

These are highly pelagic birds with long, narrow wings and tube-shaped nostrils. They feed at sea on fish, squid and other marine life. They come to land to breed in colonies, nesting in burrows or on cliffs. There are about 77 species worldwide, two of which are rare vagrants to Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Northern fulmar Fulmarus glacialisVery rare, LROS
Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus Very rare, LROS

Storm petrels

Order: Procellariiformes    Family: Hydrobatidae

The storm-petrels are the smallest seabirds, feeding on plankton and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. They nest in colonies on the ground, most often in burrows. There are about 20 species worldwide, two of which are rare vagrants to Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
European storm petrel Hydrobates pelagicusVery rare, LROS
Leach's storm petrel Oceanodroma leucorheaVery rare, LROS

Gannets

Order: Suliformes    Family: Sulidae

Gannets are large seabirds that plunge-dive for fish and nest in large colonies. They have a torpedo-shaped body, long, narrow, pointed wings and a fairly long tail. There are about 10 species worldwide, with one recorded as a rare vagrant to Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Northern gannet Morus bassanusVery rare, LROS

Cormorants

Order: Suliformes    Family: Phalacrocoracidae

Cormorants are medium to large aquatic birds with mainly dark plumage and areas of coloured skin on the face. The bill is long, thin and sharply hooked for catching fish and aquatic invertebrates. They nest in colonies, usually by the sea. There are about 39 species worldwide, with two recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Great cormorant Phalacrocorax carboFairly common all year, common breeding
Common shag Phalacrocorax aristotelisScarce in winter and on passage

Bitterns, herons and egrets

Order: Pelecaniformes    Family: Ardeidae

A little egret in Rutland Water, an uncommon visitor Egretta garzetta -Rutland Water, Rutland, England-8.jpg
A little egret in Rutland Water, an uncommon visitor

Herons and egrets are medium to large wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter-necked and more secretive. They all fly with their necks retracted. The sharp bill is used to catch fish, amphibians and other animals. Many species nest in colonies, often in trees.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Great bittern Botaurus stellataScarce in winter
Little bittern Ixobrychus minutusVery rare, BBRC
Black-crowned night heron Nycticorax nycticoraxVery rare, LROS
Squacco heron Ardeola ralloidesVery rare, BBRC
Cattle egret Bubulcus ibisVery rare, BBRC
Little egret Egretta garzettaUncommon in summer and on passage
Great egret Ardea albaVery rare, LROS
Grey heron Ardea cinereaFairly common, breeds
Purple heron Ardea purpureaVery rare, LROS

Ibises and spoonbills

Order: Pelecaniformes    Family: Threskiornithidae

A family of long-legged, long-necked wading birds. Ibises have long, curved bills. Spoonbills have a flattened bill, wider at the tip.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Common spoonbill Platalea leucorodiaRare

Storks

Order: Ciconiiformes    Family: Ciconiidae

Storks are large, heavy, long-legged, long-necked wading birds with long stout bills and wide wingspans. They fly with the neck extended.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Black stork Ciconia nigraVery rare, BBRC
White stork Ciconia ciconiaVery rare, LROS

Osprey

Order: Accipitriformes    Family: Pandionidae

A large migratory fish-eating bird of prey in a family of its own. It is mainly brown above and white below with long, angled wings.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Osprey Pandion haliaetusScarce on passage, scarce introduced breeder [6]

Buzzards, kites and allies

Order: Accipitriformes    Family: Accipitridae

Eurasian sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus Meneer Zjeroen.jpg
Eurasian sparrowhawk

A family of birds of prey which includes hawks, buzzards, eagles, kites and harriers. These birds have very large powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons and keen eyesight.

Common nameBinomialStatus
European honey buzzard Pernis apivorusRare, LROS
Red kite Milvus milvusRare on passage, very rare breeder (spread from re-introduction in Northamptonshire) [7]
White-tailed eagle Haliaeetus albicillaVery rare, LROS
Marsh harrier Circus aeruginosusUncommon on passage
Hen harrier Circus cyaneusScarce, LROS
Pallid harrier Circus macrourusVery rare, BBRC
Montagu's harrier Circus pygargusVery rare, LROS
Northern goshawk Accipiter gentilisRare to scarce, LROS
Eurasian sparrowhawk Accipiter nisusFairly common resident
Common buzzard Buteo buteoUncommon to fairly common resident and on passage
Rough-legged buzzard Buteo lagopusRare in winter and on passage, LROS
Golden eagle Aquila chrysaetosVery rare, one record 1895 LROS [8]

Falcons

Order: Falconiformes    Family: Falconidae

A family of small to medium-sized, diurnal birds of prey with pointed wings. They do not build their own nests and mainly catch prey in the air.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Common kestrel Falco tinnunculusFairly common breeding resident
Red-footed falcon Falco vespertinusVery rare, LROS
Merlin Falco columbariusScarce in winter and on passage, LROS
Eurasian hobby Falco subbuteoScarce to uncommon breeding summer visitor
Peregrine falcon Falco peregrinusUncommon in winter and on passage, scarce breeding

Rails, crakes and coots

Order: Gruiformes    Family: Rallidae

Eurasian coot Fulica atra 1.JPG
Eurasian coot

Rails and allies mainly occupy dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, marshes or rivers. Many are shy and secretive birds, making them difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs and long toes which are well adapted to soft uneven surfaces.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Water rail Rallus aquaticusUncommon in winter and on passage, rare breeding
Spotted crake Porzana porzanaRare on passage, bred in nineteenth century, LROS [5]
Little crake Porzana parvaVery rare, one old record from 1841, BBRC [9]
Baillon's crake Porzana pusillaVery rare, BBRC
Corn crake Crex crexVery rare, bred to about 1960, LROS [5]
Common moorhen Gallinula chloropusCommon resident breeder
Eurasian coot Fulica atraCommon in winter, fairly common breeding

Cranes

Order: Gruiformes    Family: Gruidae

Cranes are large, long-legged and long-necked birds. Unlike the similar-looking but unrelated herons, cranes fly with necks outstretched, not pulled back. Most have elaborate and noisy courting displays or "dances".

Common nameBinomialStatus
Common crane Grus grusVery rare, LROS

Oystercatchers

Order: Charadriiformes    Family: Haematopodidae

The oystercatchers are large, obvious and noisy wading birds with strong bills used for smashing or prising open molluscs. There are about 11 species worldwide with one recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Pied oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegusUncommon on passage, scarce breeding

Avocets and stilts

Order: Charadriiformes    Family: Recurvirostridae

A family of fairly large wading birds. The avocets have long legs and long up-curved bills. The stilts have extremely long legs and long, thin, straight bills. There are about 10 species worldwide, with two recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Black-winged stilt Himantopus himantopusVery rare, LROS
Pied avocet Recurvirostra avosettaRare to scarce on passage, rare breeding

Thick-knees

Order: Charadriiformes    Family: Burhinidae

A small family of medium to large waders with strong black bills, large yellow eyes and cryptic plumage. There are 9 species worldwide, with one recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Stone-curlew Burhinus oedicnemusVery rare, bred to about 1880, LROS [5]

Pratincoles and coursers

Order: Charadriiformes    Family: Glareolidae

A family of slender, long-winged wading birds. There are 17 species worldwide, three of which have occurred as vagrants in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Cream-coloured courser Cursorius cursorVery rare, one 1827 record, BBRC [10]
Collared pratincole Glareola pratincolaVery rare, BBRC
Black-winged pratincole Glareola nordmanniVery rare, BBRC

Plovers and lapwings

Order: Charadriiformes    Family: Charadriidae

Small to medium-sized wading birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings. There are about 66 species worldwide, nine of which have been recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

A northern lapwing wading through mud at Rutland Water Vanellus vanellus -Rutland Water, Rutland, England-8.jpg
A northern lapwing wading through mud at Rutland Water
Common nameBinomialStatus
Little ringed plover Charadrius dubiusUncommon on passage and breeding
Ringed plover Charadrius hiaticulaFairly common on passage, scarce breeding
Killdeer Charadrius vociferusVery rare, BBRC
Kentish plover Charadrius alexandrinusVery rare, LROS
Eurasian dotterel Charadrius morinellusRare on passage, LROS
American golden plover Pluvialis dominicaVery rare, LROS
European golden plover Pluvialis apricariaCommon in winter and on passage
Grey plover Pluvialis squatarolaScarce in winter and on passage
Northern lapwing Vanellus vanellusAbundant in winter; fairly common breeding

Sandpipers and allies

Order: Charadriiformes    Family: Scolopacidae

A large, diverse family of wading birds. Different lengths of legs and bills enable multiple species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food. There are about 89 species worldwide, 32 of which have been recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

A common redshank in winter plumage at Rutland Water Tringa totanus -Rutland Water, Rutland, England-8.jpg
A common redshank in winter plumage at Rutland Water
Common nameBinomialStatus
Red knot Calidris canutusScarce on passage, rare in winter
Sanderling Calidris albaScarce to uncommon on passage
Little stint Calidris minutaUncommon on passage, rare in winter
Temminck's stint Calidris temminckiiRare, LROS
White-rumped sandpiper Calidris fuscicollisVery rare, LROS
Baird's sandpiper Calidris bairdiiVery rare, BBRC
Pectoral sandpiper Calidris melanotosRare, LROS
Curlew sandpiper Calidris ferrugineaUncommon on passage
Purple sandpiper Calidris maritimaVery rare, LROS
Dunlin Calidris alpinaUncommon to fairly common in winter and on passage
Ruff Philomachus pugnaxUncommon in winter and on passage
Jack snipe Lymnocryptes minimusUncommon in winter and on passage
Common snipe Gallinago gallinagoFairly common in winter and on passage, rare breeding
Great snipe Gallinago mediaVery rare, 14 records in nineteenth century, none since, BBRC [11]
Long-billed dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceusVery rare, BBRC
Eurasian woodcock Scolopax rusticolaUncommon to fairly common in winter and on passage, rare breeding
Black-tailed godwit Limosa limosaFairly common on passage, rare in winter
Bar-tailed godwit Limosa lapponicaScarce to uncommon on passage, rare in winter
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopusUncommon on passage
Eurasian curlew Numenius arquataUncommon on passage; scarce in winter; rare-scarce breeding
Spotted redshank Tringa erythropusScarce to uncommon on passage
Common redshank Tringa totanusFairly common on passage; uncommon in winter; scarce breeding
Common greenshank Tringa nebulariaUncommon on passage
Lesser yellowlegs Tringa flavipesVery rare, BBRC
Green sandpiper Tringa ochropusFairly common on passage; uncommon in winter;
Wood sandpiper Tringa glareolaScarce on passage
Common sandpiper Actitis hypoleucosScarce to uncommon on passage, rare in winter, bred to 1908 [5]
Spotted sandpiper Actitis maculariusVery rare, BBRC
Ruddy turnstone Arenaria interpresUncommon on passage
Wilson's phalarope Phalaropus tricolorVery rare, BBRC
Red-necked phalarope Phalaropus lobatusRare, LROS
Grey phalarope Phalaropus fulicariaRare, LROS

Skuas

Order: Charadriiformes    Family: Stercorariidae

Medium to large seabirds with mainly grey or brown plumage, sharp claws and a hooked tip to the bill. They chase other seabirds to force them to drop their catches. There are about seven species worldwide, with four recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Pomarine skua Stercorarius pomarinusVery rare, LROS
Arctic skua Stercorarius parasiticusRare, LROS
Long-tailed skua Stercorarius longicaudusVery rare, LROS
Great skua Stercorarius skuaRare, LROS

Gulls

Order: Charadriiformes    Family: Laridae

Medium to large seabirds with grey, white and black plumage, webbed feet and strong bills. Many are opportunistic and adaptable feeders. There are about 56 species worldwide, 16 of which have been recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

A black-headed gull in winter plumage flying at Rutland Water Chroicocephalus ridibundus -Rutland Water, Rutland, England -flying-8.jpg
A black-headed gull in winter plumage flying at Rutland Water
Common nameBinomialStatus
Mediterranean gull Ichthyaetus melanocephalusUncommon in winter and on passage
Laughing gull Leucophaeus atricillaVery rare, BBRC
Franklin's gull Leucophaeus pipixcanVery rare, BBRC
Little gull Hydrocoloeus minutusUncommon on passage; rare to scarce in winter;
Sabine's gull Xema sabiniVery rare, LROS
Black-headed gull Chroicocephalus ridibundusAbundant in winter, uncommon breeding
Ring-billed gull Larus delawarensisVery rare, LROS
Common gull Larus canusAbundant in winter, fairly common to common on passage
Lesser black-backed gull Larus fuscusCommon in winter and on passage
Yellow-legged gull Larus michahellisUncommon in winter and on passage
Herring gull Larus argentatusCommon in winter, scarce to uncommon on passage
Caspian gull Larus cachinnansUncommon in winter and on passage
Iceland gull Larus glaucoidesRare to scarce in winter, LROS
Glaucous gull Larus hyperboreusRare to scarce in winter, LROS
Great black-backed gull Larus marinusFairly common in winter, scarce to uncommon on passage
Black-legged kittiwake Rissa tridactylaScarce on passage

Terns

Order: Charadriiformes    Family: Sternidae

Arctic tern Havterne.jpg
Arctic tern

Terns are slender seabirds with long, pointed wings, a pointed bill and a tail which is usually forked. There are about 44 species worldwide, 10 recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Caspian tern Hydroprogne caspiaVery rare, BBRC
Sandwich tern Sterna sandvicensisScarce on passage
Roseate tern Sterna dougalliiVery rare, LROS
Common tern Sterna hirundoUncommon to fairly common on passage, uncommon breeding
Arctic tern Sterna paradisaeaUncommon to fairly common on passage
Bridled tern Onychoprion anaethetusVery rare, BBRC
Little tern Sternula albifronsScarce on passage
Whiskered tern Chlidonias hybridusVery rare, BBRC
Black tern Chlidonias nigerUncommon on passage
White-winged tern Chlidonias leucopterusVery rare, LROS

Auks

Order: Charadriiformes    Family: Alcidae

Auks are seabirds which are superficially similar to penguins with their black-and-white colours, their upright posture and some of their habits, but the living species are able to fly. There are about 23 species worldwide, four of which are rare vagrants in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Common guillemot Uria aalgeVery rare, LROS
Razorbill Alca tordaVery rare, LROS
Little auk Alle alleRare, LROS
Atlantic puffin Fratercula arcticaVery rare, LROS

Sandgrouse

Order: Pterocliformes    Family: Pteroclidae

Sturdy, medium-sized birds with a small head and long, pointed wings. There are 16 species worldwide, one of which has occurred as a vagrant in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Pallas's sandgrouse Syrrhaptes paradoxusVery rare, except at least 45 birds in an 1888 population peak and temporary range expansion, BBRC [12]

Pigeons and doves

Order: Columbiformes    Family: Columbidae

Common wood pigeon Columba palumbus -garden fountain-8a.jpg
Common wood pigeon

Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere. There are about 308 species worldwide, five of which occur in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Feral pigeon Columba liviaCommon feral resident
Stock dove Columba oenasCommon resident breeding
Common wood pigeon Columba palumbusAbundant resident breeding
Eurasian collared dove Streptopelia decaoctoCommon resident breeding
Turtle dove Streptopelia turturUncommon breeding summer visitor

Cuckoos

Order: Cuculiformes    Family: Cuculidae

Birds of variable size with slender bodies and long tails. Some species are lay their eggs in the nests of other birds. There are about 141 species worldwide, one of which breeds in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Common cuckoo Cuculus canorusFairly common breeding summer visitor

Barn owls

Order: Strigiformes    Family: Tytonidae

Barn owls are medium-sized to large owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons. There are about 16 species worldwide, with one in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Barn owl Tyto albaUncommon breeding resident

Typical owls

Order: Strigiformes    Family: Strigidae

Typical owls are small to large solitary nocturnal birds of prey. They have large forward-facing eyes and ears, a hawk-like beak and a conspicuous circle of feathers around each eye called a facial disc. There are about 199 species worldwide, with four recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Little owl Athene noctuaIntroduced. Fairly common resident breeding
Tawny owl Strix alucoFairly common resident breeding
Long-eared owl Asio otusScarce in winter, rare breeding
Short-eared owl Asio flammeusUncommon in winter

Nightjars

Order: Caprimulgiformes    Family: Caprimulgidae

Nightjars are medium-sized nocturnal birds that usually nest on the ground. They have long wings, short legs and very short bills. Their soft plumage is cryptically coloured to resemble bark or leaves. There are about 91 species worldwide, one of which occurs in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
European nightjar Caprimulgus europaeusRare to scarce in summer and on passage

Swifts

Order: Apodiformes    Family: Apodidae

The swifts are small birds which spend the majority of their lives flying. These birds have very short legs and never settle voluntarily on the ground, perching instead only on vertical surfaces. There are about 100 species worldwide, two of which have been recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Common swift Apus apusCommon summer breeding visitor
Alpine swift Apus melbaVery rare, LROS

Kingfishers

Order: Coraciiformes    Family: Alcedinidae

Common kingfisher Common Kingfisher I IMG 8014.jpg
Common kingfisher

Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long pointed bills, short legs and stubby tails. There are about 93 species worldwide, one of which breeds in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Common kingfisher Alcedo atthisUncommon breeding resident

Bee-eaters

Order: Coraciiformes    Family: Meropidae

A group of near-passerine birds characterised by richly coloured plumage, slender bodies and usually elongated central tail feathers. There are about 26 species worldwide, one of which has occurred in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
European bee-eater Merops apiasterVery rare, LROS

Rollers

Order: Coraciiformes    Family: Coraciidae

A small family of colourful, medium-sized birds with a crow-like shape that feed mainly on insects. There are about 12 species worldwide, one of which has occurred in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
European roller Coracias garrulusVery rare, BBRC

Hoopoe

Order: Coraciiformes    Family: Upupidae

A distinctive bird in its own family with a long curved bill, a crest and black-and-white striped wings and tail.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Hoopoe Upupa epopsVery rare, LROS

Woodpeckers

Order: Piciformes    Family: Picidae

Woodpeckers are small to medium-sized birds with chisel-like beaks, short legs, stiff tails and long tongues used for capturing insects. Many woodpeckers have the habit of tapping noisily on tree trunks with their beaks. There are about 219 species worldwide, four recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Eurasian wryneck Jynx torquillaVery rare, bred to 1903, LROS [5]
European green woodpecker Picus viridisFairly common breeding resident
Great spotted woodpecker Dendrocopos majorFairly common breeding resident
Lesser spotted woodpecker Dryobates minorUncommon breeding resident

Larks

Order: Passeriformes    Family: Alaudidae

Larks are small terrestrial birds with often extravagant songs and display flights. Most larks are fairly dull in appearance. Their food is insects and seeds. There are about 96 species worldwide, three of which have been recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Wood lark Lullula arboreaRare, bred to about 1840, LROS [5]
Skylark Alauda arvensisCommon breeding, wintering and on passage
Shore lark Eremophila alpestrisVery rare, LROS

Swallows and martins

Order: Passeriformes    Family: Hirundinidae

Barn swallow Barn Swallow 800.jpg
Barn swallow

This is adapted to aerial feeding. They have a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings and a short bill with a wide gape. There are about 83 species worldwide, five of which have been recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Sand martin Riparia ripariaFairly common summer breeding visitor
Crag martin Ptyonoprogne rupestrisVery rare, BBRC
Barn swallow Hirundo rusticaCommon summer breeding visitor
Red-rumped swallow Hirundo dauricaVery rare, LROS
Common house martin Delichon urbicumCommon summer breeding visitor

Wagtails and pipits

Order: Passeriformes    Family: Motacillidae

Pied wagtail, British race Motacilla alba yarelli Pied Wagtail rear view 700.jpg
Pied wagtail, British race Motacilla alba yarelli

Motacillidae is a family of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They are slender, ground-feeding insectivores of open country. There are about 66 species worldwide, 10 of which have been recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Citrine wagtail Motacilla citreolaVery rare, BBRC
Pied wagtail Motacilla albaCommon resident breeding
Grey wagtail Motacilla cinereaUncommon resident breeding
Yellow wagtail Motacilla flavaUncommon summer breeding visitor, fairly common on passage
Richard's pipit Anthus richardiVery rare, LROS
Tree pipit Anthus trivialisUncommon summer breeding visitor
Meadow pipit Anthus pratensiscommon on passage, fairly common in winter, uncommon breeding
Red-throated pipit Anthus cervinusVery rare, LROS
Water pipit Anthus spinolettaVery rare, LROS
Rock pipit Anthus petrosusScarce in winter and on passage

Waxwings

Order: Passeriformes    Family: Bombycillidae

The waxwings are a group of passerine birds characterised by soft, silky plumage and unique red tips to some of the wing feathers. There are three species worldwide, one of which has been recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Bohemian waxwing Bombycilla garrulusRare to scarce in winter

Dippers

Order: Passeriformes    Family: Cinclidae

Dark, dumpy, aquatic birds that are able to forage for food on the beds of rivers. There are five species worldwide, with one recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
White-throated dipper Cinclus cinclusVery rare, bred to about 1840, LROS [5]

Wrens

Order: Passeriformes    Family: Troglodytidae

Wren at the nest Troglodytes1.jpg
Wren at the nest

Wrens are small and inconspicuous birds, except for their loud songs. They have short wings and thin down-turned bills. There are about 80 species worldwide, with one breeding in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Wren Troglodytes troglodytesAbundant resident breeding

Accentors

Order: Passeriformes    Family: Prunellidae

A small family of drab, unobtrusive, insectivorous birds with thin, pointed bills. There are 13 species worldwide, with one in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Dunnock Prunella modularisAbundant resident breeding

Thrushes

Order: Passeriformes    Family: Turdidae

The thrushes are plump, soft-plumaged, small to medium-sized insectivores or sometimes omnivores, often feeding on the ground. Many have attractive songs. There are about 90 species worldwide, six in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Common blackbird Turdus merulaAbundant resident breeding
Ring ouzel Turdus torquatusScarce to uncommon on passage, formerly bred in the 19th century, LROS [5]
Fieldfare Turdus pilarisCommon in winter, rare in summer
Redwing Turdus iliacusCommon in winter
Song thrush Turdus philomelosCommon resident breeding
Mistle thrush Turdus viscivorusCommon resident breeding

Cettid warblers

Order: Passeriformes    Family: Cettiidae

Common nameBinomialStatus
Cetti's warbler Cettia cettiRare in winter and on passage

Locustellid warblers

Order: Passeriformes    Family: Locustellidae

Common nameBinomialStatus
Common grasshopper warbler Locustella naeviaUncommon breeding summer visitor
Savi's warbler Locustella luscinioidesVery rare, LROS

Acrocephalid warblers

Order: Passeriformes    Family: Acrocephalidae

Common nameBinomialStatus
Aquatic warbler Acrocephalus paludicolaVery rare, one occurrence in 1864, LROS [13]
Sedge warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenusCommon breeding summer visitor
Eurasian reed warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceusFairly common breeding summer visitor
Marsh warbler Acrocephalus palustrisVery rare, LROS
Great reed warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceusVery rare, BBRC

Phylloscopid warblers

Order: Passeriformes    Family: Phylloscopidae

Willow warbler Willow warbler UK09.JPG
Willow warbler
Common nameBinomialStatus
Willow warbler Phylloscopus trochilusAbundant breeding summer visitor
Common chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybitaCommon breeding summer visitor, scarce to uncommon in winter
Western Bonelli's warbler Phylloscopus bonelliVery rare, BBRC
Wood warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrixScarce on passage, rare breeding
Yellow-browed warbler Phylloscopus inornatusVery rare, LROS
Greenish warbler Phylloscopus trochiloidesVery rare, LROS

Old World warblers

Order: Passeriformes    Family: Sylviidae A group of small, insectivorous passerine birds. Most are of generally undistinguished appearance, but many have distinctive songs.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Eurasian blackcap Sylvia atricapillaCommon breeding summer visitor, uncommon in winter
Barred warbler Sylvia nisoriaVery rare vagrant. One record in 2018 LROS
Garden warbler Sylvia borinFairly common breeding summer visitor
Whitethroat Sylvia communisCommon breeding summer visitor
Lesser whitethroat Sylvia currucaFairly common breeding summer visitor

Kinglets

Order: Passeriformes    Family: Regulidae

A family of very small birds. There are seven species worldwide, with two in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Goldcrest Regulus regulusFairly common to common breeding summer visitor
Common firecrest Regulus ignicapillusRare in winter and on passage

Old World flycatchers

Order: Passeriformes    Family: Muscicapidae

A European robin in a Leicestershire garden, British subspecies Erithacus rubecula melophilus Erithacus rubecula -Leicestershire, England-8.jpg
A European robin in a Leicestershire garden, British subspecies Erithacus rubecula melophilus

The flycatchers are small birds that fly out from a perch to catch insects in the air or from the ground. There are about 120 species worldwide, 11 of which have been recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Spotted flycatcher Muscicapa striataUncommon breeding summer visitor
European pied flycatcher Ficedula hypoleucaRare to scarce on passage, very rare breeding
Bluethroat Luscinia svecicaVery rare, LROS
Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchosUncommon breeding summer visitor
Red-flanked bluetail Tarsiger cyanurusVery rare, BBRC
European robin Erithacus rubeculaAbundant resident breeding
European stonechat Saxicola rubicolaUncommon in winter and on passage
Whinchat Saxicola rubetraUncommon on passage, rare breeding
Northern wheatear Oenanthe oenantheUncommon on passage, very rare breeding
Black redstart Phoenicurus ochrurosScarce in winter and on passage, rare breeding
Common redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurusUncommon in summer and on passage, rare breeding

Bearded reedling

Order: Passeriformes    Family: Panuridae

Common nameBinomialStatus
Bearded reedling Panurus biarmicusRare in winter and on passage

Long-tailed tits

Order: Passeriformes    Family: Aegithalidae

Small, long-tailed birds that typically live in flocks for much of the year. There are eight species worldwide, with one breeding in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Long-tailed tit Aegithalos longicaudusCommon breeding resident

Tits

Order: Passeriformes    Family: Paridae

Great tit Parus major -Kew Gardens, London, England-8.jpg
Great tit

Tits are mainly small, stocky, woodland species with short stout bills. They are adaptable birds, with a mixed diet including seeds and insects. There are about 59 species worldwide, five breeding in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Marsh tit Parus palustrisFairly common resident breeding
Willow tit Parus montanaCommon but declining resident breeding
Coal tit Parus aterCommon resident breeding
Great tit Parus majorAbundant resident breeding
Blue tit Parus caeruleusAbundant resident breeding

Nuthatches

Order: Passeriformes    Family: Sittidae

Nuthatches are small woodland birds with the unusual ability to climb down trees head-first, unlike other birds which can only go upwards. There are about 24 species worldwide, one breeding in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Eurasian nuthatch Sitta europaeaFairly common resident breeding

Treecreepers

Order: Passeriformes    Family: Certhiidae

Treecreepers are small woodland birds, brown above and white below. They have thin, pointed, down-curved bills, which they use to extricate insects from bark. There are seven species worldwide, one breeding in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Common treecreeper Certhia familiarisCommon resident breeding

Old World orioles

Order: Passeriformes    Family: Oriolidae

The orioles are medium-sized passerines, mostly with bright and showy plumage, the females often duller plumage than the males The beak is long, slightly curved and hooked. Orioles are arboreal and tend to feed in the canopy. There are 27 species worldwide, one of which has been recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Eurasian golden oriole Oriolus oriolusRare in summer and on passage, LROS

Shrikes

Order: Passeriformes    Family: Laniidae

Shrikes are passerine birds with a habit of catching other birds and small animals and impaling the uneaten portions of their bodies on thorns. A typical shrike's beak is hooked, like that of a bird of prey. There are about 30 species worldwide, three of which have been recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Great grey shrike Lanius excubitorRare, LROS
Red-backed shrike Lanius collurioVery rare, bred to 1944, LROS [5]
Woodchat shrike Lanius senatorVery rare, LROS

Crows and allies

Order: Passeriformes    Family: Corvidae

Carrion crow Corvus corone Rabenkrahe 1.jpg
Carrion crow

The crows and their relatives are fairly large birds with strong bills and are usually intelligent and adaptable. There are about 119 species worldwide, eight of which have been recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Carrion crow Corvus coroneCommon resident breeding
Common raven Corvus coraxScarce in winter and on passage, rare resident breeding
Hooded crow Corvus cornixVery rare, LROS
Eurasian jackdaw Corvus monedulaCommon resident breeding
Rook Corvus frugilegusAbundant resident breeding
Eurasian jay Garrulus glandariusFairly common resident breeding
European magpie Pica picaCommon resident breeding
Spotted nutcracker Nucifraga caryocatactesVery rare, BBRC

Starlings

Order: Passeriformes    Family: Sturnidae

Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds with strong feet. Their flight is strong and direct and most are very gregarious. There are about 114 species worldwide, two of which have been recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Rosy starling Pastor roseusVery rare, LROS
Common starling Sturnus vulgarisAbundant breeding, in winter and on passage

Sparrows

Order: Passeriformes    Family: Passeridae

Sparrows tend to be small, plump, brownish or greyish birds with short tails and short, powerful beaks. They are seed-eaters and they also consume small insects. There are about 38 species worldwide, two of which have been recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
House sparrow Passer domesticusCommon resident breeding
Eurasian tree sparrow Passer montanusFairly common resident breeding

Finches

Order: Passeriformes    Family: Fringillidae

Male common chaffinch Fringilla coelebs chaffinch male edit2.jpg
Male common chaffinch

Seed-eating passerine birds that are small to moderately large and have a strong beak, usually conical and in some species very large. There are about 176 species worldwide, 13 of which have been recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Common chaffinch Fringilla coelebsAbundant resident breeding
Brambling Fringilla montifringillaUncommon to fairly common in winter and on passage
Common crossbill Loxia curvirostraRare to scarce in winter, very rare breeding, LROS
European greenfinch Chloris chlorisCommon to abundant resident breeding
Common redpoll Acanthis flammeaRare in winter and on passage, LROS
Lesser redpoll Acanthis cabaretFairly common in winter and on passage, rare breeding
Arctic redpoll Acanthis hornemanniVery rare, LROS
Eurasian siskin Spinus spinusFairly common to commonin winter, very rarebreeding
European goldfinch Carduelis carduelisCommon resident breeding
Twite Linaria flavirostrisRare in winter and on passage, LROS
Common linnet Linaria cannabinaFairly common in winter, common breeding
Eurasian bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhulaCommon resident breeding
Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustesScarce on passage, rare breeding

Longspurs and arctic buntings

Order: Passeriformes    Family: Calcariidae

Common nameBinomialStatus
Snow bunting Plectrophenax nivalisRare in winter and on passage, LROS
Lapland bunting Calcarius lapponicusVery rare in winter and on passage, LROS

Buntings

Order: Passeriformes    Family: Emberizidae

Female yellowhammer Yellowhammer.jpg
Female yellowhammer

The Emberizidae are a large family of seed-eating passerine birds with distinctively shaped bills. There are about 372 species worldwide, eight of which have been recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common nameBinomialStatus
Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinellaCommon resident breeding
Cirl bunting Emberiza cirlusVery rare, bred to 1920, LROS [5]
Black-headed bunting Emberiza melanocephalaVery rare, BBRC
Reed bunting Emberiza schoeniclusCommon resident breeding
Corn bunting Miliaria calandraUncommon resident breeding

Footnotes

  1. 1 2 "Leicestershire and Rutland Ornithological Society". LROS. Retrieved 3 April 2010
  2. 1 2 Downloadable Excel file from "Checklist of Leicestershire & Rutland Birds". LROS. Retrieved 29 May 2010
  3. Fray (2009) p. 14
  4. Dudley, Steve P; Gee, Mike; Kehoe, Chris; Melling, Tim M.; The British Ornithologists’ Union Records Committee (BOURC) (2006). "The British List: A Checklist of Birds of Britain (7th edition)". Ibis. 148 (3): 526–563. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.2006.00603.x.[ dead link ]
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Fray (2009) p. 32
  6. Fray (2009) pp. 234238
  7. Fray (2009) pp. 215218
  8. Fray (2009) p. 234
  9. Fray (2009) p. 255
  10. Fray (2009) p. 272
  11. Fray (2009) p. 312
  12. Fray (2009) p. 406
  13. Fray (2009) p. 534

Cited text