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Sand martin

Sand martins are the smallest European hirundines (martins and swallows), with dark brown upper parts and dark under wings contrasting with otherwise pale under parts divided by a distinctive dark che... More...

Sand martin

Sanderling

The sanderling is a small, plump, energetic wading bird. It has a short straight black bill and medium length black legs. It is pale grey above and white underneath, and there is a black mark at its s... More...

Sanderling

Sandwich tern

The Sandwich tern is a very white tern, with a black cap on its head, a long black bill with a yellow tip and short black legs. In flight it shows grey wedges on its wings tips and it has a short fork... More...

Sandwich tern

Savi's warbler

Savi's warbler is right on the edge of its range here, and its numbers have always been very low and difficult to see in the UK. Like most of this family it is heard before it is seen, with a similar ... More...

Savi's warbler

Scarlet rosefinch

Scarlet rosefinches are sparrow sized birds, mottled brown above with a streaked breast, pale belly and forked tail. Males, older than one year, have scarlet head, breast and rump. Females, juveniles ... More...

Scarlet rosefinch

Scaup

Scaup are diving ducks with a resemblance to tufted ducks. Males have black heads, shoulder and breast, white flanks, grey back and a black tail. Females are brown, with characteristic white patches a... More...

Scaup

Scottish crossbill

The Scottish crossbill is a chunky, thick-set finch with a large head and substantial bill. It is very difficult to distinguish from the other members of the crossbill family. It is the UK's only ende... More...

Scottish crossbill

Sedge warbler

The sedge warbler is a small, quite plump, warbler with a striking broad creamy stripe above its eye, and greyish brown legs. It is brown above with blackish streaks and creamy white underneath. It is... More...

Sedge warbler

Serin

Serins are small finches with short stubby bills and forked tails. Both sexes have streaky yellow brown upper parts, paler streaked under parts and lemon yellow rumps. Males have bright yellow heads... More...

Serin

Shag

Shags are goose-sized dark long-necked birds similar to cormorants but smaller and generally slimmer with a characteristic steep forehead. In the breeding season adults develop a dark glossy green plu... More...

Shag

Shelduck

This is a big, colourful duck, bigger than a mallard but smaller than a goose. Both sexes have a dark green head and neck, a chestnut belly stripe and a red bill.... More...

Shelduck

Shorelark

A distinctive lark with yellow and black face markings and black 'horns' (feather tufts) in breeding plumage. They are almost exclusively coastal birds. Numbers vary greatly from one winter to the nex... More...

Shorelark

Short-eared owl

Short-eared owls are medium sized owls with mottled brown bodies, pale under-wings and yellow eyes. They are commonly seen hunting during the day. In winter, there is an influx of continental birds (... More...

Short-eared owl

Short-toed treecreeper

The short-toed treecreeper is a small tree-dwelling bird with a long, slender, downcurved bill. It is speckly brown above and mainly white below and looks very similar to a treecreeper, although its s... More...

Short-toed treecreeper

Shoveler

Shovelers are surface feeing ducks with huge spatulate bills. Males have dark green heads, with white breasts and chestnut flanks. Females are mottled brown. In flight birds show patches of light blue... More...

Shoveler

Shrike

Please see Shrikes

Siskin

The siskin is a small, lively finch, which is smaller than a greenfinch. It has a distinctly forked tail and a long narrow bill. The male has a streaky yellow-green body and a black crown and bib. The... More...

Siskin

Skua

Please see Skuas

Skylark

The skylark is a small brown bird, somewhat larger than a sparrow but smaller than a starling. It is streaky brown with a small crest, which can be raised when the bird is excited or alarmed, and a wh... More...

Skylark

Slavonian grebe

Arguably the most attractive of the UK's breeding grebes, with its golden ear tufts and trilling calls. It looks similar to the black-necked grebe in winter but has whiter cheeks which almost meet at ... More...

Slavonian grebe

Smew

The smew is a small compact diving duck with a delicate bill. The male is white with a black mask and a black back, the female is grey with a reddish-brown head and white cheek. In flight, it shows bl... More...

Smew

Snipe

Snipe are medium sized, skulking wading birds with short legs and long straight bills. Both sexes are mottled brown above, with paler buff stripes on the back, dark streaks on the chest and pale under... More...

Snipe

Snow bunting

Snow buntings are large buntings, with striking `snowy' plumages. Males in summer have all white heads and underparts contrasting with a black mantle and wing tips. Females are a more mottled above.... More...

Snow bunting

Song thrush

A familiar and popular garden songbird whose numbers are declining seriously, especially on farmland making it a Red List species. Smaller and browner than a mistle thrush with smaller spotting. Its h... More...

Song thrush

Sooty shearwater

The sooty shearwater is a seabird, that is smaller than a herring gull. It is a large shearwater, with dark brown body and wings and long wings. Its bill is dark and when seen close up, there is a pal... More...

Sooty shearwater

Sparrow

Please see Sparrows

Sparrowhawk

Sparrowhawks are small birds of prey. They're adapted for hunting birds in confined spaces like dense woodland, so gardens are ideal hunting grounds for them. Adult male sparrowhawks have bluish-gre... More...

Sparrowhawk

Spoonbill

Spoonbills are tall white waterbirds with long spatulate black bills and long black legs. In flight they fly with necks and legs extended, in the water they feed with elegant sideward sweeps of their ... More...

Spoonbill

Spotted crake

The spotted crake is only the size of a starling. Breeding adults have a brown back with dark streaks, a blue-grey face and an olive-brown breast - all covered with white flecks and spots. The under t... More...

Spotted crake

Spotted flycatcher

At first glance, spotted flycatchers might seem dull brownish-grey and - well - a bit boring. It's better to think of them as beautiful in an understated way. Watch them for a short period and you'll ... More...

Spotted flycatcher

Spotted redshank

The spotted redshank is a medium sized elegant wading bird, slightly larger than a redshank. In summer plumage the adults are almost entirely black, save for some white `spotting' on the wings, a whit... More...

Spotted redshank

Starling

Smaller than blackbirds, with a short tail, pointed head, triangular wings, starlings look black at a distance but when seen closer they are very glossy with a sheen of purples and greens. Their fligh... More...

Starling

Stock dove

Stock doves are similar in plumage and size to rock doves/feral pigeons. They are largely blue-grey with an attractive iridescent bottle green band on the back of the neck. In flight they show black e... More...

Stock dove

Stonechat

Stonechats are robin sized birds. Males have striking black heads with white around the side of their neck, orange-red breasts and a mottled brown back. Females lack the male's black head, but have br... More...

Stonechat

Stone-curlew

A strange, rare summer visitor to southern England, the stone-curlew is a crow-sized bird with a large head, long yellow legs and relatively long wings and tail. Active at night, and its large yellow ... More...

Stone-curlew

Storm petrel

A little bigger than a sparrow it appears all black with a white rump. Its tail is not forked, unlike Leach's petrel. In flight it flutters over the water, feeding with its wings held up in a 'V' with... More...

Storm petrel

Swallow

Swallows are small birds with dark, glossy-blue backs, red throats, pale underparts and long tail streamers. They are extremely agile in flight and spend most of their time on the wing. They are wides... More...

Swallow

Swift

The swift is a medium-sized aerial bird, which is a superb flier. It evens sleeps on the wing! It is plain sooty brown, but in flight against the sky it appears black. It has long, scythe-like wings a... More...

Swift