List of birds of Leicestershire and Rutland

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Two great crested grebes swimming on Rutland Water. A great crested grebe is the emblem of the Leicestershire and Rutland Ornithological Society (LROS).[1]

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]

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]

  • Very rare: fewer than ten records ever
  • Rare: more than ten records ever, but less than annual
  • Scarce: fewer than ten birds occurring or pairs breeding annually
  • Uncommon: 10–100 birds occurring or pairs breeding annually
  • Fairly common: 100–1,000 birds occurring or pairs breeding annually
  • Common: 1,000–10,000 birds occurring or pairs breeding annually
  • Abundant: more than 10,000 birds occurring or pairs breeding annually

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

Non-passerines
Ducks, geese and swansGrousePheasants, partridges and quailDiversGrebesShearwaters and petrelsStorm petrelsGannetsCormorantsBitterns, herons and egretsStorksIbises and spoonbillsOspreyBuzzards, kites and alliesFalconsRails, crakes and cootsCranesOystercatchersAvocets and stiltsThick-kneesPratincoles and coursersPlovers and lapwingsSandpipers and alliesSkuasGullsTernsAuksPigeons and dovesCuckoosBarn owlsTypical owlsNightjarsSwiftsKingfishersBee-eatersRollersHoopoeWoodpeckers

Passerines
LarksSwallows and martinsWagtails and pipitsWaxwingsDippersWrensAccentorsThrushesOld World warblersKingletsOld World flycatchersBabblersLong-tailed titsTitsNuthatchesTreecreepersOld World oriolesShrikesCrows and alliesStarlingsSparrowsFinchesBuntings

   Footnotes       Cited text

Ducks, geese and swans[edit]

Order: Anseriformes. Family: Anatidae

The swans, ducks and geese are medium to large birds that are modified for 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. There are about 160 species worldwide, with 41 recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland, four of which are introduced or feral species.

A mainly white and brown duck walking in shallow mud searching for food with its beak in the mud
Common shelduck foraging in the mud around frozen-over Rutland Water in winter
A male Eurasian teal at Rutland Water
Common name Binomial Status
Mute swan Cygnus olor Fairly common resident; uncommon to fairly common breeding
Bewick's swan Cygnus columbianus Uncommon in winter and on passage
Whooper swan Cygnus cygnus Scarce in winter and on passage
Bean goose Anser fabalis Rare in winter, LROS
Pink-footed goose Anser brachyrhynchus Scarce in winter and uncommon on passage
White-fronted goose Anser albifrons Scarce to uncommon in winter, mainly escapes
Greylag goose Anser anser Fairly common feral resident; uncommon breeding
Canada goose Branta canadensis Introduced common resident; fairly common breeding
Barnacle goose Branta leucopsis Rare in winter, uncommon feral resident
Brent goose Branta bernicla Scarce in winter and uncommon on passage
Egyptian goose Alopochen aegyptiaca Introduced. Uncommon resident, scarce breeding
Ruddy shelduck Tadorna ferruginea Rare vagrant or escapee
Common shelduck Tadorna tadorna Uncommon in winter and on passage, scarce breeding
Mandarin duck Aix galericulata Introduced. Uncommon resident, scarce breeding
Eurasian wigeon Anas penelope Common in winter and on passage, scarce in summer
American wigeon Anas americana Very rare, LROS
Gadwall Anas strepera Common in winter and on passage, uncommon breeding
Eurasian teal Anas crecca Common in winter and on passage, uncommon breeding
Green-winged teal Anas carolinensis Very rare, LROS
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos Common in winter and on passage, fairly common breeding
Northern pintail Anas acuta Uncommon to fairly common in winter and on passage
Garganey Anas querquedula Scarce to uncommon on passage; very rare breeding
Blue-winged teal Anas discors Very rare, BBRC
Northern shoveler Anas clypeata Fairly common in winter; rare-scarce breeding
Red-crested pochard Netta rufina Scarce in winter and on passage
Common pochard Aythya ferina Fairly common to common, rare breeding
Redhead Aythya americana Very rare, BBRC
Ring-necked duck Aythya collaris Very rare, LROS
Ferruginous duck Aythya nyroca Rare in winter and on passage, LROS
Tufted duck Aythya fuligula Common in winter and on passage, uncommon breeding
Greater scaup Aythya marila Uncommon in winter and on passage
Lesser scaup Aythya affinis Very rare, BBRC
Common eider Somateria mollissima Rare in winter and on passage, LROS
Long-tailed duck Clangula hyemalis Rare in winter
Common scoter Melanitta nigra Rare in winter and uncommon on passage
Velvet scoter Melanitta fusca Rare in winter and on passage, LROS
Common goldeneye Bucephala clangula Fairly common in winter and on passage, uncommon in summer
Smew Mergellus albellus Uncommon in winter
Red-breasted merganser Mergus serrator Scarce in winter and on passage
Goosander Mergus merganser Fairly common in winter and on passage
Ruddy duck Oxyura jamaicensis Introduced. Uncommon in winter, scarce breeding

Grouse[edit]

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. There are about 19 species worldwide, two of which formerly occurred in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common name Binomial Status
Red grouse Lagopus lagopus Extinct resident since about 1840[5]
Eurasian black grouse Tetrao tetrix Extinct resident since about 1840[5]

Pheasants, partridges and quail[edit]

Order: Galliformes. Family: Phasianidae

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. There are about 155 species worldwide with four in Leicestershire and Rutland, two of which are introduced species.

Common name Binomial Status
Red-legged partridge Alectoris rufa Common introduced resident breeder
Grey partridge Perdix perdix Uncommon resident breeder
Common quail Coturnix coturnix Scarce summer visitor, breeds
Common pheasant Phasianus colchicus Common introduced resident breeder

Divers[edit]

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. There are 5 species worldwide with three visiting Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common name Binomial Status
Red-throated diver Gavia stellata Rare in winter, LROS
Black-throated diver Gavia arctica Rare in winter, LROS
Great northern diver Gavia immer Scarce in winter

Grebes[edit]

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
Common name Binomial Status
Little grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis Uncommon to fairly common breeding
Great crested grebe Podiceps cristatus Fairly common in winter and on passage, uncommon breeding
Red-necked grebe Podiceps grisegena Scarce in winter and on passage
Slavonian grebe Podiceps auritus Scarce in winter and on passage
Black-necked grebe Podiceps nigricollis Uncommon in summer and on passage, rare in winter

Shearwaters and petrels[edit]

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 name Binomial Status
Northern fulmar Fulmarus glacialis Very rare, LROS
Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus Very rare, LROS

Storm petrels[edit]

Order: Procellariiformes. Family: Hydrobatidae

The storm-petrels are the smallest of 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 name Binomial Status
European storm petrel Hydrobates pelagicus Very rare, LROS
Leach's storm petrel Oceanodroma leucorhea Very rare, LROS

Gannets[edit]

Order: Pelecaniformes. 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 name Binomial Status
Northern gannet Morus bassanus Very rare, LROS

Cormorants[edit]

Order: Pelecaniformes. 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 name Binomial Status
Great cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo Fairly common all year, common breeding
Common shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis Scarce in winter and on passage

Bitterns, herons and egrets[edit]

Order: Ciconiiformes. Family: Ardeidae

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. There are about 63 species worldwide, with nine recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common name Binomial Status
Great bittern Botaurus stellata Scarce in winter
Little bittern Ixobrychus minutus Very rare, BBRC
Black-crowned night heron Nycticorax nycticorax Very rare, LROS
Squacco heron Ardeola ralloides Very rare, BBRC
Cattle egret Bubulcus ibis Very rare, BBRC
Little egret Egretta garzetta Uncommon in summer and on passage
Great egret Ardea alba Very rare, LROS
Grey heron Ardea cinerea Fairly common, breeds
Purple heron Ardea purpurea Very rare, LROS

Storks[edit]

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. There are about 19 species worldwide with two occurring as rare vagrants in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common name Binomial Status
Black stork Ciconia nigra Very rare, BBRC
White stork Ciconia ciconia Very rare, LROS

Ibises and spoonbills[edit]

Order: Ciconiiformes. 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. There are about 33 species worldwide, with one occurring in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common name Binomial Status
Common spoonbill Platalea leucorodia Rare

Osprey[edit]

Order: Falconiformes. 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 name Binomial Status
Osprey Pandion haliaetus Scarce on passage, scarce introduced breeder[6]

Buzzards, kites and allies[edit]

Order: Falconiformes. Family: Accipitridae

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. There are about 240 species worldwide, 12 of which have been recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common name Binomial Status
European honey buzzard Pernis apivorus Rare, LROS
Red kite Milvus milvus Rare on passage, very rare breeder (spread from re-introduction in Northamptonshire)[7]
White-tailed eagle Haliaeetus albicilla Very rare, LROS
Marsh harrier Circus aeruginosus Uncommon on passage
Hen harrier Circus cyaneus Scarce, LROS
Pallid harrier Circus macrourus Very rare, BBRC
Montagu's harrier Circus pygargus Very rare, LROS
Northern goshawk Accipiter gentilis Rare to scarce, LROS
Eurasian sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus Fairly common resident
Common buzzard Buteo buteo Uncommon to fairly common resident and on passage
Rough-legged buzzard Buteo lagopus Rare in winter and on passage, LROS
Golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos Very rare, one record 1895 LROS [8]

Falcons[edit]

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. There are about 64 species worldwide, five of which have been recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common name Binomial Status
Common kestrel Falco tinnunculus Fairly common breeding resident
Red-footed falcon Falco vespertinus Very rare, LROS
Merlin Falco columbarius Scarce in winter and on passage, LROS
Eurasian hobby Falco subbuteo Scarce to uncommon breeding summer visitor
Peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus Uncommon in winter and on passage, scarce breeding

Rails, crakes and coots[edit]

Order: Gruiformes. Family: Rallidae

Rails and allies mainly occupy dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, marshes, or rivers. Many are shy and secretive birds, difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs, and have long toes which are well adapted to soft, uneven surfaces. There are about 135 species worldwide, with 11 recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common name Binomial Status
Water rail Rallus aquaticus Uncommon in winter and on passage, rare breeding
Spotted crake Porzana porzana Rare on passage, bred in nineteenth century, LROS[5]
Little crake Porzana parva Very rare, one old record from 1841, BBRC[9]
Baillon's crake Porzana pusilla Very rare, BBRC
Corn crake Crex crex Very rare, bred to about 1960, LROS[5]
Common moorhen Gallinula chloropus Common resident breeder
Eurasian coot Fulica atra Common in winter, fairly common breeding

Cranes[edit]

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". There are about 15 species worldwide, one recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common name Binomial Status
Common crane Grus grus Very rare, LROS

Oystercatchers[edit]

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 name Binomial Status
Pied oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus Uncommon on passage, scarce breeding

Avocets and stilts[edit]

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 name Binomial Status
Black-winged stilt Himantopus himantopus Very rare, BBRC
Pied avocet Recurvirostra avosetta Rare to scarce on passage, rare breeding

Thick-knees[edit]

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 name Binomial Status
Stone-curlew Burhinus oedicnemus Very rare, bred to about 1880, LROS[5]

Pratincoles and coursers[edit]

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 name Binomial Status
Cream-coloured courser Cursorius cursor Very rare, one 1827 record, BBRC[10]
Collared pratincole Glareola pratincola Very rare, BBRC
Black-winged pratincole Glareola nordmanni Very rare, BBRC

Plovers and lapwings[edit]

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
Common name Binomial Status
Little ringed plover Charadrius dubius Uncommon on passage and breeding
Ringed plover Charadrius hiaticula Fairly common on passage, scarce breeding
Killdeer Charadrius vociferus Very rare, BBRC
Kentish plover Charadrius alexandrinus Very rare, LROS
Eurasian dotterel Charadrius morinellus Rare on passage, LROS
American golden plover Pluvialis dominica Very rare, LROS
European golden plover Pluvialis apricaria Common in winter and on passage
Grey plover Pluvialis squatarola Scarce in winter and on passage
Northern lapwing Vanellus vanellus Abundant in winter; fairly common breeding

Sandpipers and allies[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Scolopacidae

A large, diverse family of wading birds. Different lengths of legs and bills enable different 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
Common name Binomial Status
Red knot Calidris canutus Scarce on passage, rare in winter
Sanderling Calidris alba Scarce to uncommon on passage
Little stint Calidris minuta Uncommon on passage, rare in winter
Temminck's stint Calidris temminckii Rare, LROS
White-rumped sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis Very rare, LROS
Baird's sandpiper Calidris bairdii Very rare, BBRC
Pectoral sandpiper Calidris melanotos Rare, LROS
Curlew sandpiper Calidris ferruginea Uncommon on passage
Purple sandpiper Calidris maritima Very rare, LROS
Dunlin Calidris alpina Uncommon to fairly common in winter and on passage
Ruff Philomachus pugnax Uncommon in winter and on passage
Jack snipe Lymnocryptes minimus Uncommon in winter and on passage
Common snipe Gallinago gallinago Fairly common in winter and on passage, rare breeding
Great snipe Gallinago media Very rare, 14 records in nineteenth century, none since, BBRC[11]
Long-billed dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus Very rare, BBRC
Eurasian woodcock Scolopax rusticola Uncommon to fairly common in winter and on passage, rare breeding
Black-tailed godwit Limosa limosa Fairly common on passage, rare in winter
Bar-tailed godwit Limosa lapponica Scarce to uncommon on passage, rare in winter
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus Uncommon on passage
Eurasian curlew Numenius arquata Uncommon on passage; scarce in winter; rare-scarce breeding
Spotted redshank Tringa erythropus Scarce to uncommon on passage
Common redshank Tringa totanus Fairly common on passage; uncommon in winter; scarce breeding
Common greenshank Tringa nebularia Uncommon on passage
Lesser yellowlegs Tringa flavipes Very rare, BBRC
Green sandpiper Tringa ochropus Fairly common on passage; uncommon in winter;
Wood sandpiper Tringa glareola Scarce on passage
Common sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos Scarce to uncommon on passage, rare in winter, bred to 1908[5]
Spotted sandpiper Actitis macularius Very rare, BBRC
Ruddy turnstone Arenaria interpres Uncommon on passage
Wilson's phalarope Phalaropus tricolor Very rare, BBRC
Red-necked phalarope Phalaropus lobatus Rare, LROS
Grey phalarope Phalaropus fulicaria Rare, LROS

Skuas[edit]

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 name Binomial Status
Pomarine skua Stercorarius pomarinus Very rare, LROS
Arctic skua Stercorarius parasiticus Rare, LROS
Long-tailed skua Stercorarius longicaudus Very rare, LROS
Great skua Stercorarius skua Rare, LROS

Gulls[edit]

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
Common name Binomial Status
Mediterranean gull Larus melanocephalus Uncommon in winter and on passage
Laughing gull Larus atricilla Very rare, BBRC
Franklin's gull Larus pipixcan Very rare, BBRC
Little gull Larus minutus Uncommon on passage; rare to scarce in winter;
Sabine's gull Larus sabini Very rare, LROS
Black-headed gull Larus ridibundus Abundant in winter, uncommon breeding
Ring-billed gull Larus delawarensis Very rare, LROS
Common gull Larus canus Abundant in winter, fairly common to common on passage
Lesser black-backed gull Larus fuscus Common in winter and on passage
Yellow-legged gull Larus michahellis Uncommon in winter and on passage
Herring gull Larus argentatus Common in winter, scarce to uncommon on passage
Caspian gull Larus cachinnans Uncommon in winter and on passage
Iceland gull Larus glaucoides Rare to scarce in winter, LROS
Glaucous gull Larus hyperboreus Rare to scarce in winter, LROS
Great black-backed gull Larus marinus Fairly common in winter, scarce to uncommon on passage
Black-legged kittiwake Rissa tridactyla Scarce on passage

Terns[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Sternidae

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 name Binomial Status
Caspian tern Hydroprogne caspia Very rare, BBRC
Sandwich tern Sterna sandvicensis Scarce on passage
Roseate tern Sterna dougallii Very rare, LROS
Common tern Sterna hirundo Uncommon to fairly common on passage, uncommon breeding
Arctic tern Sterna paradisaea Uncommon to fairly common on passage
Bridled tern Onychoprion anaethetus Very rare, BBRC
Little tern Sternula albifrons Scarce on passage
Whiskered tern Chlidonias hybridus Very rare, BBRC
Black tern Chlidonias niger Uncommon on passage
White-winged tern Chlidonias leucopterus Very rare, LROS

Auks[edit]

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 name Binomial Status
Common guillemot Uria aalge Very rare, LROS
Razorbill Alca torda Very rare, LROS
Little auk Alle alle Rare, LROS
Atlantic puffin Fratercula arctica Very rare, LROS

Sandgrouse[edit]

Order: Pterocliformes. Family: Pteroclididae

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 name Binomial Status
Pallas's sandgrouse Syrrhaptes paradoxus Very rare, except at least 45 birds in an 1888 population peak and temporary range expansion, BBRC[12]

Pigeons and doves[edit]

Order: Columbiformes. Family: Columbidae

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 name Binomial Status
Feral pigeon Columba livia Common feral resident
Stock dove Columba oenas Common resident breeding
Common wood pigeon Columba palumbus Abundant resident breeding
Eurasian collared dove Streptopelia decaocto Common resident breeding
Turtle dove Streptopelia turtur Uncommon breeding summer visitor

Cuckoos[edit]

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 name Binomial Status
Common cuckoo Cuculus canorus Fairly common breeding summer visitor

Barn owls[edit]

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 name Binomial Status
Barn owl Tyto alba Uncommon breeding resident

Typical owls[edit]

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 name Binomial Status
Little owl Athene noctua Introduced. Fairly common resident breeding
Tawny owl Strix aluco Fairly common resident breeding
Long-eared owl Asio otus Scarce in winter, rare breeding
Short-eared owl Asio flammeus Uncommon in winter

Nightjars[edit]

Order: Caprimulgiformes. Family: Caprimulgidae

Nightjars are medium-sized nocturnal birds with long wings, short legs and very short bills that usually nest on the ground. 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 name Binomial Status
European nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus Rare to scarce in summer and on passage

Swifts[edit]

Order: Apodiformes. Family: Apodidae

The swifts are small aerial birds, spending 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 name Binomial Status
Common swift Apus apus Common summer breeding visitor
Alpine swift Apus melba Very rare, LROS

Kingfishers[edit]

Order: Coraciiformes. Family: Alcedinidae

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 name Binomial Status
Common kingfisher Alcedo atthis Uncommon breeding resident

Bee-eaters[edit]

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 name Binomial Status
European bee-eater Merops apiaster Very rare, LROS

Rollers[edit]

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 name Binomial Status
European roller Coracias garrulus Very rare, BBRC

Hoopoe[edit]

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 name Binomial Status
Hoopoe Upupa epops Very rare, LROS

Woodpeckers[edit]

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 name Binomial Status
Eurasian wryneck Jynx torquilla Very rare, bred to 1903, LROS[5]
European green woodpecker Picus viridis Fairly common breeding resident
Great spotted woodpecker Dendrocopos major Fairly common breeding resident
Lesser spotted woodpecker Dendrocopos minor Uncommon breeding resident

Larks[edit]

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 name Binomial Status
Wood lark Lullula arborea Rare, bred to about 1840, LROS[5]
Skylark Alauda arvensis Common breeding, wintering and on passage
Shore lark Eremophila alpestris Very rare, LROS

Swallows and martins[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Hirundinidae

This is a group of passerines characterized by their adaptation to aerial feeding. Their adaptations include a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings and short bills with wide gape. There are about 83 species worldwide, five of which have been recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common name Binomial Status
Sand martin Riparia riparia Fairly common summer breeding visitor
Crag martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris Very rare, BBRC
Barn swallow Hirundo rustica Common summer breeding visitor
Red-rumped swallow Hirundo daurica Very rare, LROS
House martin Delichon urbicum Common summer breeding visitor

Wagtails and pipits[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Motacillidae

Pied wagtail, British race Motacilla alba yarelli

The Motacillidae are 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 name Binomial Status
Citrine wagtail Motacilla citreola Very rare, BBRC
Pied wagtail Motacilla alba Common resident breeding
Grey wagtail Motacilla cinerea Uncommon resident breeding
Yellow wagtail Motacilla flava Uncommon summer breeding visitor, fairly common on passage
Richard's pipit Anthus richardi Very rare, LROS
Tree pipit Anthus trivialis Uncommon summer breeding visitor
Meadow pipit Anthus pratensis common on passage, fairly common in winter, uncommon breeding
Red-throated pipit Anthus cervinus Very rare, LROS
Water pipit Anthus spinoletta Very rare, LROS
Rock pipit Anthus petrosus Scarce in winter and on passage

Waxwings[edit]

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 name Binomial Status
Bohemian waxwing Bombycilla garrulus Rare to scarce in winter

Dippers[edit]

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 name Binomial Status
White-throated dipper Cinclus cinclus Very rare, bred to about 1840, LROS[5]

Wrens[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Troglodytidae

Wren at the nest

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

Common name Binomial Status
Wren Troglodytes troglodytes Abundant resident breeding

Accentors[edit]

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 name Binomial Status
Dunnock Prunella modularis Abundant resident breeding

Thrushes[edit]

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 name Binomial Status
Common blackbird Turdus merula Abundant resident breeding
Ring ouzel Turdus torquatus Scarce to uncommon on passage, formerly bred in the 19th century, LROS[5]
Fieldfare Turdus pilaris Common in winter, rare in summer
Redwing Turdus iliacus Common in winter
Song thrush Turdus philomelos Common resident breeding
Mistle thrush Turdus viscivorus Common resident breeding

Old World warblers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Sylviidae

A group of small, insectivorous passerine birds. Most are of generally undistinguished appearance, but many have distinctive songs. There are about 408 species worldwide, 18 of which have been recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common name Binomial Status
Cetti's warbler Cettia cetti Rare in winter and on passage
Grasshopper warbler Locustella naevia Uncommon breeding summer visitor
Savi's warbler Locustella luscinioides Very rare, LROS
Aquatic warbler Acrocephalus paludicola Very rare, one occurrence in 1864, LROS[13]
Sedge warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus Common breeding summer visitor
Eurasian reed warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus Fairly common breeding summer visitor
Marsh warbler Acrocephalus palustris Very rare, LROS
Great reed warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus Very rare, BBRC
Willow warbler Phylloscopus trochilus Abundant breeding summer visitor
Common chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita Common breeding summer visitor, scarce to uncommon in winter
Western Bonelli's warbler Phylloscopus bonelli Very rare, BBRC
Wood warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix Scarce on passage, rare breeding
Yellow-browed warbler Phylloscopus inornatus Very rare, LROS
Greenish warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides Very rare, LROS
Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla Common breeding summer visitor, uncommon in winter
Garden warbler Sylvia borin Fairly common breeding summer visitor
Whitethroat Sylvia communis Common breeding summer visitor
Lesser whitethroat Sylvia curruca Fairly common breeding summer visitor

Kinglets[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Regulidae

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

Common name Binomial Status
Goldcrest Regulus regulus Fairly common to common breeding summer visitor
Common firecrest Regulus ignicapillus Rare in winter and on passage

Old World flycatchers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Muscicapidae

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 name Binomial Status
Spotted flycatcher Muscicapa striata Uncommon breeding summer visitor
European pied flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca Rare to scarce on passage, very rare breeding
Bluethroat Luscinia svecica Very rare, LROS
Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos Uncommon breeding summer visitor
Red-flanked bluetail Tarsiger cyanurus Very rare, BBRC
European robin Erithacus rubecula Abundant resident breeding
European stonechat Saxicola rubicola Uncommon in winter and on passage
Whinchat Saxicola rubetra Uncommon on passage, rare breeding
Northern wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe Uncommon on passage, very rare breeding
Black redstart Phoenicurus ochruros Scarce in winter and on passage, rare breeding
Common redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus Uncommon in summer and on passage, rare breeding

Babblers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Timaliidae

The babblers are a large and varied group of small to medium-sized passerine birds. There are about 294 species worldwide, including the parrotbills, with one recorded in Leicestershire and Rutland.

Common name Binomial Status
Bearded tit Panurus biarmicus Rare in winter and on passage

Long-tailed tits[edit]

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 name Binomial Status
Long-tailed tit Aegithalos longicaudus Common breeding resident

Tits[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Paridae

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 name Binomial Status
Marsh tit Parus palustris Fairly common resident breeding
Willow tit Parus montana Common resident breeding
Coal tit Parus ater Common resident breeding
Great tit Parus major Abundant resident breeding
Blue tit Parus caeruleus Abundant resident breeding

Nuthatches[edit]

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 name Binomial Status
Eurasian nuthatch Sitta europaea Fairly common resident breeding

Treecreepers[edit]

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 name Binomial Status
Common treecreeper Certhia familiaris Common resident breeding

Old World orioles[edit]

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 name Binomial Status
Eurasian golden oriole Oriolus oriolus Rare in summer and on passage, LROS

Shrikes[edit]

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 name Binomial Status
Great grey shrike Lanius excubitor Rare, LROS
Red-backed shrike Lanius collurio Very rare, bred to 1944, LROS[5]
Woodchat shrike Lanius senator Very rare, LROS

Crows and allies[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Corvidae

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 name Binomial Status
Carrion crow Corvus corone Common resident breeding
Common raven Corvus corax Scarce in winter and on passage, rare resident breeding
Hooded crow Corvus cornix Very rare, LROS
Eurasian jackdaw Corvus monedula Common resident breeding
Rook Corvus frugilegus Abundant resident breeding
Eurasian jay Garrulus glandarius Fairly common resident breeding
European magpie Pica pica Common resident breeding
Spotted nutcracker Nucifraga caryocatactes Very rare, BBRC

Starlings[edit]

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 name Binomial Status
Rosy starling Sturnus roseus Very rare, LROS
Common starling Sturnus vulgaris Abundant breeding, in winter and on passage

Sparrows[edit]

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 name Binomial Status
House sparrow Passer domesticus Common resident breeding
Eurasian tree sparrow Passer montanus Fairly common resident breeding

Finches[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Fringillidae

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 name Binomial Status
Common chaffinch Fringilla coelebs Abundant resident breeding
Brambling Fringilla montifringilla Uncommon to fairly common in winter and on passage
Common crossbill Loxia curvirostra Rare to scarce in winter, very rare breeding, LROS
European greenfinch Carduelis chloris Common to abundant resident breeding
Common redpoll Carduelis flammea Rare in winter and on passage, LROS
Lesser redpoll Carduelis cabaret Fairly common in winter and on passage, rare breeding
Arctic redpoll Carduelis hornemanni Very rare, LROS
Eurasian siskin Carduelis spinus Fairly common to commonin winter, very rarebreeding
European goldfinch Carduelis carduelis Common resident breeding
Twite Carduelis flavirostris Rare in winter and on passage, LROS
Eurasian linnet Carduelis cannabina Fairly common in winter, common breeding
Eurasian bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula Common resident breeding
Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustes Scarce on passage, rare breeding

Buntings[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Emberizidae

Female Yellowhammer

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

Common name Binomial Status
Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella Common resident breeding
Cirl bunting Emberiza cirlus Very rare, bred to 1920, LROS[5]
Black-headed bunting Emberiza melanocephala Very rare, BBRC
Reed bunting Emberiza schoeniclus Common resident breeding
Snow bunting Plectrophenax nivalis Rare in winter and on passage, LROS
Lapland bunting Calcarius lapponicus Very rare in winter and on passage, LROS
Corn bunting Miliaria calandra Uncommon resident breeding

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Leicestershire and Rutland Ornithological Society". LROS.  Retrieved 3 April 2010
  2. ^ a b 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. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Fray (2009) p. 32
  6. ^ Fray (2009) pp. 234–238
  7. ^ Fray (2009) pp. 215–218
  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[edit]

  • Fray, Rob; Roger Davies, Dave Gamble, Andrew Harrop and Steve Lister (2009). The Birds of Leicestershire and Rutland. Christopher Helm. ISBN 978-0-7136-7233-6. 

External links[edit]