Top 10 Rarest Birds in the UK

Top 10 Rarest Birds in the UK 

 

No 1 - Red Necked Grebe

These birds are found more in the Northern hemisphere and prefer the calmer lakes. Althought they are a rare sight in the UK, their numbers in other countires around the world are not a problem. 

The red necked grebe is a thick set waterbird and are a similar size to mallard ducks, but have a longer neck and a long pointed bill. Thes ebirds eat aquatic insects, lots of fish, shrimp, barnacles and also the odd crab. There are fewer than 20 individual grebe in the UK during summer, but numbers increase only slighlty in winter when birds come over from colder Europe. 

These birds are brilliant swimmers and divers, nesting on the water. The breeding adults have got a red neck and chest along with grey cheeks and a white defined stripe along from its beak, under the eye to the back of the head. They also have a dark grey cap with a grey body and brown speckled wing feathers. 

During the non breeding season these birds are quiet birds which are found individually or in small groups. When nesting season occurs, pairs perfrom noisy elaborate courtship rituals and are very territorial, even with other waterfowl they share the water with. They take to home any aquatic habitat during the migration and non breeding season. These include rivers, lakes, bays and open ocdeans. Nesting birds are more likely to select the larger lakes to lay their eggs.

 Red Necked Grebe Duck Facts | Podiceps Grisegena - The RSPB

No 2 - Red Backed Shrike

The red backed shrike is known to be extinct in Great Britain as a breeding bird, although it is frequent on migration. They are found mianly in most of Europe, Western Asia and then winter in tropical Africa. 

They are slightly larger than house sparrows but alot slighter. Its dramaic delcine to almost extinction as a UK breeding species mean that this is a Red List Species bird. Shrikes like to perch ontop of fence posts, bushes and also telephone wires so that they have a good view of any potential prey or predators. 

The males (like most birds) are a colourful bird with a blue tinted head with a black stripe through the eye. The wings are borwn in colour, fading into black with a white pattern on the end of their tail feathers. They are finsihed off with a pink tinted chest making them a rather recongisable bird. The females and young ones ujpperparts are brown with wavy markings along with the underparts, which have similar markings. The females also have a brown line through the eye and on the top of their heads. 

These birds eat insects, small birds and other smaller mammals. It is thought that there are only 1-3 breeding UK pairs left in the UK. Most birds are seen on the south and east coasts of the UK as far north as northern Scotland. This carnivorous birds scientific name is “Lanius Collurio” which is derived from the Latin word for “butcher” meaning this bird is also known as a “butcher bird” because of its feeding habits.

 Red Backed Shrike Bird Facts | Lanius Collurio - The RSPB

No 3 - Ruff 

The ruff is a medium sized wading bird with a long neck, small head and a short beak. Recongisable with its orange legs, the ruff comes to the UK in late summer but then migrates onto Africa. This bird is part of the sandpiper family and like most waders it feeds in the shallows around the lakes and wetlands areas near the coast. 

Breeding males have brightly coloured feathers around their neck along with head tufts and a bare orange face. They are a very rare breeding bird in East Anglia but failry common on migration at wetlands throughout the country and around the East and South coasts.

The females are much smaller than the males. The males use the large 'ruff' of feathers around their neck for displays towards the females. The young male ruffs often have white ruffs and are not dominent enough to mate with the females. 

The ruff has a diet made up of insects (mainly flies and beetles), worms frogs and also small fish. As they are wading birds they are normally found in the shallows using their beaks to dig through the dirt to find any food that is available. 

 Ruff Bird Facts | Philomachus Pugnax - The RSPB

No 4 - Fieldfare

Fieldfares are part of the thrush family and stand no taller than a mistle thrush. Fieldfares leave Scandinavia and Russia to spend the winter in the UK. The birds will start to arrive in the UK around September time and will leave as late as May. 

These birds will nest in the countryside besides hedges and open fields. Although the birds primarily stick to rural areas, they will come into towns and gardens to search for food when they weather gets really bad. During the night they rely in tall trees and also big hedges as a secure roosting site. The adult males and females are similar in appearance but the female is normally browner and duller. 

The fieldfare feeds on worms, fruit, snails and insects. During the winter months the birds will feed on winter berries in the trees and on bushes. Breeding starts between April and June and they have 1-2 cluthes with 3-8 eggs in each clutch. The female does the incubation period which lasts 11-14 days and the chicks then fledge around 2 weeks later. Their eggs are smooth and glossy with pale blue colouring and a red speckled outer. 

Fieldfare Bird Facts | Turdus Pilaris - The RSPB

No 5 - Honey Buzzard

There are roughly 41 breeding pairs of honey buzzards left to date. This bird only appears in the UK in summer, and then they go and winter in tropical Africa. Honey buzzards are mainly found in undisturbed open woodlands. There are not that many breeding pairs left in the country. 

Honey buzzards are mainly names after their diet which is mainly nests of bees and wasps and use their curved claws to tear the nest open and eat the larvae inside. They will also eat spiders, reptiles and mammals. Insummer they supplement their diet with fruit and berries. 

The honey buzzard is a rather large bird of prey and its appearance to the common buzzard. They have longer wings and a long tail and a slim neck. Their colours are variable, and the adults are normally a greyish brown on top with paler underparts. 

They will lay 1-3 white eggs with brown speckles over it. They are incubated by both male and female for 30 - 35 days. The chicks stay in the nest for 33-45 days and then become independant at 55 days and fledge the nest. 

 Honey Buzzard Bird Facts | Pernis Apivorus - The RSPB

 

 

 Source  - RSPB - The RSPB Wildlife Charity: Nature Reserves & Wildlife Conservation