Conservation status: Red
Slightly smaller and slimmer than a blackbird - male ring ouzels are particularly distinctive with their black plumage with a pale wing panel and striking white breast band. The ring ouzel is primarily a bird of the uplands, where it breeds mainly in steep sided valleys, crags and gullies, from near sea level in the far north of Scotland up to 1,200m in the Cairngorms.
Breeding begins in mid-April and continues through to mid-July, with two broods common, and nests are located on or close to the ground in vegetation (typically in heather), in a crevice, or rarely in a tree. The young are fed a diet consisting mainly of earthworms and beetles.
Ring ouzel - male
Ring ouzel - female
Chats and thrushes (Turdidae)
Where to see them
Ring ouzels can be found in upland areas of Scotland, northern England, north west Wales and Dartmoor. When on spring and autumn migration they may be seen away from their breeding areas, often on the east and south coasts of the UK where they favour short grassy areas.
When to see them
Ring ouzels arrive in March and April and leave again in September.
What they eat
Insects and berries
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