I have an interest in Ornithology and all the Bird images on this page have been taken by myself. Each bird has its common name and the scientific name of the species in Latin which consist of two words, (this is just the way I do it) the generic name in capitals and its species epithet in lower case. These two words together constitute the species name, with a short description about the bird. Passerine Birds, belong to the order Passeriformes. These birds number more than half of all bird species. Passerine birds have four claws three point forward, the forth points to the rear which enables them birds to perch.
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Here is a link to some Bluetits feeding, taken at our home in St Mayeux Bretange
You can see a description of the bird by clicking on the image. Or scroll on down and see a picture of the bird and a description
(Eurasian) Nuthtch……SITTA europaea.
The Nuthatch like most birds is extremely beautiful, It grows to about 12 -14 cm long, feeds in woodlands but can also be found in gardens dominating the bird feeders, and in parks which have trees and tall shrubs in which it can find its food source, insects, seeds and nuts.
They nest in holes they find in the trees and use mud to reduce the size if it’s too large. They usually land high in a tree and work their way down searching for food. The sexes are very similar, the male having a darker, reddy brown vent in comparison to the female. They use pine flakes to line their nest.
Red Breasted Fly Catcher……FICEDULA parva
Fly Catchers are very quick and once they have found a food source will return to the same branch and just sit and wait for the next flying insect to come along.They grow to about 10 – 12 cm long. They prefer deciduous woodlands with a water source near by . The male has a lead grey head and an orange to red breast. They build an open nest in a tree hole or similar recess and lay up to 7 eggs .
Stonechats are widespread and they breed in areas with low vegetation, but can also be found in areas with heather and gorse. They’re seen at sea level but also above the tree line. They grow to about 11 – 13 cm long. The male’s call resembles the sounds of two pebbles being struck together, explaining the origin of its name. It feeds on a range of insects and spiders and in harsh winters they will feed on seeds and fruits. They nest under shrubs or bushes, with the nest being made from grass and built by the female. When the chicks fledge the male will continue to feed them, allowing for more broods. They can have up to three or more broods in one season as there can be a high mortality rate over long cold winters.
Fieldfares are part of the Thrush family and breed in woodlands, bushes, hedgerows and large shrubs in northern Europe and Asia. They grow to 20 – 30 cm long. It is rare for them to breed in the UK. The Fieldfare is a migratory bird with many Scandinavian birds moving south to over winter. It is omnivorous, eating a wide range of molluscs, insects and earthworms in the summer. In harsh winters they will survive by eating berries, grain and seeds and can be found eating fallen fruit. They nest high up in trees where they form their nests made from twigs in the fork of the tree trunk and branch. They lay 4 – 6 eggs, and when hatched both parents feed the chicks, and they fledge at around 12 – 14 days after hatching. In winter they can be seen in large flocks in open fields and grassland.
Eurasian Jay……GARRULUS glandarius
Jays grow to 30 – 36 cm long and the breed in both coniferous and deciduous woodland and in parkland. They are part of the Crow family they are shy woodland birds, rarely moving far from cover. Jays are famous for their acorn collecting, in the autumn you may see them burying acorns, returning later in winter to feed on. They feed mainly on acorns, nuts, seeds and insects, but also eats the eggs and chicks of other birds in the spring and early summer, also feed on small mammals.
(Common) Starling……STURNUS vulgaris
Starlings have a short tail, pointed head and triangular wings, from a distance starlings look black but when seen closer they are very glossy with a iridescent sheen of purples and greens. Their flight is fast and direct and they walk and run on the ground. They are very aggressive when it comes to feeding, also very noisy and gregarious, starlings spend a lot of the year in flocks. They nest in the roof spaces between the tiles and guttering in urban areas, laying 3 – 4 blue or white eggs. In Southern England they form large flocks and put on massive murmuration displays in Autumn.
Yellowhammer grows to 15 – 18 cm long and breeds on farmland , bushy areas, on the edge of woodland, in glades and open pastures and in coastal areas. These are mainly residential birds, and forms small flocks in winter. The male yellowhammer has a bright yellow head with a streaked brown back, chestnut rump and yellow speckled tan dashed breast. They breed in April and May, with the female building a lined cup shaped nest in a concealed location on or very close to the ground. They lay 3 – 5 eggs with a patterned mesh of fine dark lines. The female incubates the eggs for 12 – 14 days, and the downy chicks fledge 12 – 14 days later. Both adults feed the chick in the nest and will raise two or three broods each year. Their food source is mainly seeds but will feed on invertebrates in the breeding season.
Pied Wagtail……MOTACLLA alba
The Pied Wagtail can be found in a variety on habitats, farmland, open countryside, towns and residential areas. The most conspicuous habit of this species is a near-constant tail wagging, a trait that has given the species its genus. They feed on flies and insects, in the summer they feed their chicks on the Mayfly and crane fly, they will nest in reed beds, but they will also nest anywhere near to a good food source, they can be seen walking along a shingled shoreline feeding on the flies.
Northern Wheatear……OENANTHE oenanthe
The Northern wheatear is a migratory insectivorous species breeding in open stony country in Europe, they visit the UK in the summer and are long distant migrants often wintering in sub Sahara Africa, they grow to 14 – 17 cm for a bird this size its migration distance is phenomenal. They nests in holes, rock crevice, stone walls and also have been known to nest in rabbit holes. They lay 4 – 8 eggs and are incubated for about 12 -13 days. The chicks will fledge at 14 – 16 days, but will be dependant on their parents for a further 12 – 13 days.
Black Redstart…..PHOENICURUS ochruros
Redstarts grow to 12 – 14 cm long and are semi-migratory birds; some stay all year round, others are just summer visitors and leave in late autumn. They prefer a rocky habitat but can be found in towns and urban areas, industrial buildings that offer a high outlook and towns where high ledges can be used for nesting.
They feed on larvae and invertebrates (spiders, snails, etc.) and in the autumn and through winter they will feed on seeds and berries. They catch insects in flight and have the ability to hover. These are very agile birds. They find their food mainly on the ground in short grass and scrub-land where they search for earthworms and larvae. The female builds the nest and lines it with feathers, leaves and moss. It’s a loosely made nest. They like to be near a water source, stream, river or canal. The female will lay 4 – 6 eggs in spring (April / May). The male is very aggressive towards other males and defends his mate, but will mate with other females if the opportunity arises. The chicks will fledge in 2 – 3 weeks but can take a few days to master the art of flying. The male and female continue to feed the chicks after fledging.
Sand Martin…..RIPARIA riparia
Sand Martins grow to 12 – 13 cm long with a wingspan of around 30 cm. Sand Martins are a bird species of the hirundinidae family. This term is often used by birders to describe a mixed group of Swallows and Martins, and Sand Martins are the smallest of this group and are migratory birds. Quite recently their numbers have diminished, caused by the drought that Africa has suffered where they overwinter. They are early visitors to Europe, arriving in March. The male Sand Martins arrive at the nesting grounds before the females. They use their beak to start burrowing into the river banks and as they progress they use their feet and wings to aid the tunnelling process. Once the tunnel is about 25 cm to 30 cm deep into the bank they are ready to attract a female. The male flies up and down the river bank close to the nesting site in pursuit of a mate. After pairing up both birds will continue to deepen the tunnel in the bank ready for egg laying. The nest consist of twigs, leaves, moss and anything that will make the nest warm, ready for their young. The female will lay up to 7 eggs and will incubate them for around two weeks and after around 3 weeks the young will fledge, sometimes returning in the evening to the security of the nesting site. The food sauce is invertebrates which are caught on the wing.
The Dunnock breeds in gardens with hedges, parks, open woodland and heaths with gorse and scrub areas. They are similar in size to a Robin/Sparrow. The female is quite promiscuous in her behaviour, courting a number of males which will ensure her chicks are well fed by her males. They nest well hidden deep into the hedge/gorse, The female will lay 2 to 5 pale blue eggs; the male rarely has anything to do with the two week incubation period. Both birds feed the young mainly on insects, and after another 2 weeks the young fledge. The Dunnock nests early in spring and have a number of broods through the summer.
Mistle Thrush….TRUDUS viscivorus
The Mistle Thrush nest in the junction of a tree branch, which is grass lined. These birds are very shy and wary; they grow to about 25 cm to 30 cm and stand very upright. The Mistle Thrush breeds from March through to July. The breeding pair will not tolerate other Mistle Thrushes in their breeding territory, which often only covers a small area. They will search for food over a relatively large area to feed their chicks and feed on a very large variety of food sources. The female lays around 5 pale blue/green red/brown spotted eggs which take around 2 weeks to incubate. Fledging around 2 weeks later, the chicks are fed by both the adults for around 3 weeks after this. The pair may raise a second brood with the female taking care of the incubation and the male looking after the first fledglings. Mistle Thrushes can live for a long time and get to 10 or more years old.
Redwings are a migratory bird and visit the UK in around September/October. They over-winter in the warmer climate that the UK and Europe offer, and some travel further south. They breed in Northern Europe between May and July and lay their eggs in nests that are built close to the tree trunk. The nest is made from dry grass, small twigs and moss and the is cup shaped and made by the female, with incubation of the eggs at around 13-15 days. The chicks fledge 13-15 days after hatching and are fed in the nest by both adults. The eggs are pale blue or greenish blue with red to brown speckles and are glossy and smooth. The Redwings migrate away from the harsh winter that Northern Europe experiences, feeding on most snails, spiders and red berries that form on the Holly and other bushes. They also eat worms and small invertebrates. The male and female are very similar, and Redwing and Fieldfare often can be found together feeding.
Great Tit……PARUS major.
The Great Tit is one of the best sights to see with its stunning strong black stripe with yellow sides that lead to blue wings and it’s black and white head. The sight of these birds makes me smile with delight. The male has a wider stripe than the female. Great Tits are larger than the Blue Tit and tend to dominate and intimidate the smaller bird. They build a nest wherever they can find a suitable hole, with nest boxes being a favourite. The nest is made from grass and moss and anything soft that can be used to line the nest. They lay around 6 to 12 eggs which take about 14 days to incubate. Both the adults feed the chicks with a vast selection of aphids, nuts, fruit seeds, spiders and most foods that are put out on bird tables and in feeders. It is only the female that incubates the eggs, which are smooth and glossy, and white with purplish-red spots. They have two broods during the spring and summer, and the chicks fledge and are completely independent after four weeks.
The male Chaffinch with it’s rose-pink breast is strikingly different from the female; they both share the same wing pattern but the female has a plainer brown breast.
Chaffinches are widespread and can be found almost anywhere there is a source of food – woodlands, parks, hedgerows and farmland. The nest is cup shaped and made from tightly weaved moss, grass and lichen, and the lining is made from animal hair giving it warmth. The female Chaffinch only lays a few eggs, 3 to 5, which are sometimes spotted but not always, and they are white to browny-blue. The incubation period takes about 14 days and is only done by the female. Both adults feed the young while in the nest on insects, aphids, caterpillar larvae and food from bird tables if available, and the chicks will fledge after two weeks. Chaffinches may have 2 broods in a season if the first brood is successful and there is enough food for a second brood of chicks. Weather conditions will also play a part in the timing of a second brood
Blackcaps migrate to the tropical part of Africa in late summer where they over-winter, returning in mid to late March and as late as July to nest and breed. They nest in high hedges, woods and gardens that have bramble bushes that give them some protection while raising their chicks. The nest is well hidden inside the hedges and brambles and is made from grasses and small roots/twigs. The nest is loosely built but neat and is lined with fine grass and hair. The eggs are a creamy colour with brown speckling. Blackcaps lay 4 to 6 eggs and both adults incubate the eggs for 12 -14 days. The chicks are fed by both adults with a wide variety of insects, flies, small vertebrae and caterpillars, and the chicks fledge after two weeks. Both adults will continue to feed the chicks for a further 10 to 14 days until they become independent.
The male Robin is unmissable with his red breast, but he is very aggressive with other male Robins if they enter what he considers his territory, which he will defend sometime to the death. Urban Robins have become fairly tame but countryside Robins are very cautious of people. In March the female Robin, which is very similar to the male, will build the nest on her own. Urban Robins will nest in almost anything from pots to a crevice in a wall. The countryside Robins like to build their nests hidden and well protected in thick ivy or dense bushes and trees. She lays 4 to 6 eggs and incubates them on her own. The chicks hatch after 12 to 14 days and are fed by both adults. The eggs are blue, also called eggshell blue, which is a shade of cyan (greenish-blue colour). They fledge around 14 days later. The male will continue to feed the chicks on his own if there is a second brood.
Rooks breed in colonies high up in the tops of trees. These colonies can be very large. They nest very early in the spring, often before the new buds of spring start to appear. The nest is built by the female but the building material is supplied by the male. The twigs that the nests are built from are held together by soil and lined with grass, old leaves and moss. The nest is large and can be easily seen as there are no leaves on the trees. The female lays 3 to 7 eggs. The smooth, glossy blue/green eggs have dark blackish to green speckles. The eggs are quite large and can be about 40 mm long. The incubation period can be around 16 days but can take up to 3 weeks. Both adults feed the young with leather jackets and wireworms they collect from the freshly ploughed spring fields. The young Rooks will fledge after 30-34 days.
The Rook is often confused with the Carrion Crow. The Rook has black feathers often showing a blue or bluish-purple sheen in bright sunlight. Rooks are distinguished from Crows by the bare grey-white skin around the base of the adult’s bill in front of the eyes and their thick thigh feathers. The rook has a longer bill than the Carrion Crow.
The Treecreeper climbs a tree from the lower parts and works its way up the tree searching for food using its large claws and a long tail in a hopping/jerky spiral motion and using both claws, at the same time keeping its tail straight as it moves up and around the tree. It is unable to climb down the tree the same way, so it flies from the top of the tree to the lower parts of another tree searching for food. They use their bills which are gently curved down and long, probing under the bark for all kinds of small invertebrates and insects, earwigs, moths, beetles and spiders: they all make up the Treecreepers diet. They like to nest behind a large flap of tree bark which gives the nest protection. The base of the nest is built from loose twigs covered in moss, grass, and roots. The female lays 4-8 eggs which are buff coloured with brown/red speckles. The female incubates the eggs for 12-15 days, and when hatched both adults feed the chicks for another 14 days until they fledge. The chicks are competent climbers but their first flights are risky, but they quickly improve.
Swallows are a bird species of the hirundinidae family which include the Sand Martins. The term “Barn Swallow” is used in Europe to distinguish between the Sand Martin and the Barn Swallow. The Barn Swallows arrive from Africa to start nesting in March around the spring equinox and stay until the Autumn equinox when they begin their return journey to their winter feeding grounds in sub Sahara Africa.
Barn Swallows return to the same area year after year building their nest up under roof eaves and in barns. The nests are cup shaped and made from mud. They use straw to bind it together, which is then lined with feathers. The female lays 3-6 white eggs with light brown to pale grey speckling. They can have 2 or 3 broods in a season; the success of this will be food and weather dependant. All of the food is caught on the wing giving a spectacular aerial display. They have a short beak but a wide mouth which is very efficient at catching flies and aphids which are fed to their chicks by both adults. Before the end of the breeding season they can be seen flocking together, as they line up on the power and telephone lines preparing for their return flight.
Blue Tit……CYANISTES caeruleus.
Blue tits can be found almost everywhere, but their main habitat are woodlands. They prefer mixed or deciduous forests and will use holes in trees that are small enough to stop predators from raiding their nest. They will also use garden nest boxes with the right sized hole. The male and female are similar, with the female being just a bit duller in colour. They nest from mid April till early May, laying 6-12 eggs in a cup-shaped nest made from grass, leaves, moss and lined with hair, feathers and down. The eggs are laid at daily intervals, and if the female leaves the nest she will cover the eggs with the lining of the nest to keep them warm. When she has finished laying the chicks will hatch after an incubation of 12-15 days. The eggs are blue-green with brown speckles. The chicks will stay in the nest for a further 2-3 weeks, being fed by both adults on food from garden bird tables, but their main diet is caterpillars, aphids and small vertebrae. The chicks have a yellow face that will turn white when they become adults with the distinctive blue cap.