Birds of Prey

Common buzzard

Common buzzard

Buteo buteo

The buzzard is the most common bird of prey in UK. Its large size (wingspan of over a metre) distinguishes it from other hawks, however it is considerably smaller than an eagle, with which it is often confused. The buzzard is a slow flier and unlikely ...

Golden eagle

Golden eagle

Aquila chrysaetos

A huge bird of prey, with only the white-tailed eagle larger in the UK. With its long broad wings and longish tail, it has a different outline to the smaller buzzard. It likes to soar and glide on air currents, holding its wings in a shallow 'V'. Eagle...

Hen harrier

Hen harrier

Circus cyaneus

Of the UK's birds of prey, this is the most intensively persecuted. Once predating free-range fowl, earning its present name, its effect on the number of grouse available to shoot is the cause of modern conflict and threatens its survival in some parts...

Kestrel

Kestrel

Falco tinnunculus

A familiar sight with its pointed wings and long tail, hovering beside a roadside verge. Numbers of kestrels declined in the 1970s, probably as a result of changes in farming and so it is included on the Amber List. They have adapted readily to man-made e...

Merlin

Falco columbarius

The merlin is Scotland’s smallest breeding falcon. It has broad and short pointed wings and is extremely agile. Its outline is like a small kestrel. An adult male has grey-blue upper parts with a dark bar at the tip of tail and a speckled tan breast....

Osprey

Osprey

Pandion haliaetus

A long winged fishing bird of prey with a distinctive reverse W-shaped outline. The osprey has light underparts and dark patches midway up the wings. Both males and females look the same, but the latter are larger. Once they have paired up and the fema...

Peregrine falcon

Peregrine falcon

Falco peregrinus

The peregrine falcon is known for its hunting speed, which after gaining height can reach up to 200 mph. This falcon hunts smaller birds by ‘punching’ the birds during a dive with its tightly clenched talons. It is also a swift and agile bird, adep...

Red kite

Red kite

Milvus milvus

Red kites are easily identified by their large size (wingspan of almost 2m), reddish-brown colourings and deeply forked tail.A successful re-introduction programme has resulted in the birds becoming increasingly common in the Black Isle (near Inverness...

Short-eared owl

Short-eared owl

Asio flammeus

These medium-sized owls can be found in most parts of Scotland, except Shetland. Short-eared owls hunt by day, preferring open country, such as wetlands, moorland and sand dunes where their prey of small mammals is most abundant. They nest on the ground i...

White tailed eagle (sea eagle)

White tailed eagle (sea eagle)

Haliaeetus albicilla

Also known as the sea-eagle, the white-tailed eagle is the largest bird of prey in the UK and the fourth largest eagle in the world. Its wingspan can be almost 2.5metres in length, standing at a height of almost a metre. Hunted to extinction in the 180...

Long Eared Owl

Long Eared Owl

Asio otus

The long-eared owl is medium-sized owl, smaller in size than a woodpigeon. It often looks long and thin, with head feathers (known as ear tufts even though they are not ears) which it raises when alarmed. It is buff-brown with darker brown streaks, and...

Barn owl

Barn owl

Tyto alba

With heart shaped face, buff back and wings and pure white under parts the barn owl is a distinctive and much loved countryside bird. Widely distributed across the UK, and indeed the world, the bird has suffered declines over the past fifty years as a...

Goshawk

Goshawk

Accipiter gentilis

A large hawk, almost reaching buzzard size. When seen close to it has a fierce expression with bright red eyes and a distinctive white eyebrow. Its broad wings enable it to hunt at high speed, weaving in and out of trees, and its long legs and talons...

Tawny Owl

Tawny Owl

Strix aluco

The tawny owl is an owl the size of a pigeon. It has a rounded body and head, with a ring of dark feathers around its face surrounding the dark eyes. It is mainly reddish brown above and paler underneath. It is a widespread breeding species in England,...