Abstract image representing bird songs

Absolute bird songs

blackbird

Male blackbirds live up to their name but, confusingly, females are brown often with spots and streaks on their breasts. with a strikingly bright orange-yellow beak and eye-ring, adult male blackbirds are one of the most easily recogniseable garden birds. This commonly found UK bird is a favourite among many, thanks to its mellow song.

Listen to the blackbird

collared dove

Often seen on their own or in pairs. These beautiful doves are pale, pinky-brown in colour and, as the name suggests, have a distinctive black neck collar. Their monotonous cooing will be a familiar sound to many of you.

Collared doves can be seen just about anywhere, often around towns and villages. They arrived from the middle east in the 1950s after a rapid spread across Europe.

Listen to the collared dove

crane

The crane is very rare, present only in small numbers in Somerset and Norfolk. With small numbers passing through the country in spring and autumn.

Instantly recogniseable as a huge, graceful, mainly grey bird with long legs, a long neck and drooping, curved tail feathers. The cranes single breeding site location is kept secret in order protect the birds.

Listen to crane calls

cuckoo

The cuckoo is roughly dove sized with a dark barred white underside. Similar to Kestrels and sparrowhawks, the cuckoo has a sleek body, pointed wings and a long tail.

The cuckoo is commonly seen thoughout the UK, especially in southern and central England. Their recent and severe population decline has made the cuckoo a red list species.

Listen to the cuckoo

curlew

Instantly recogniseable with its long, downcurved bill, brown upperparts, long legs and a highly expressive call. The curlew is the largest European wading bird and can be seen around the whole UK coastline.

Listen to the curlew

great spotted woodpecker

Roughly the size of a blackbird and instantly recogniseable with its striking black and white colours. The great spotted woodpecker often attempts to hide away from observers by clinging to tree trunks and branches.

Its presence is often announced by its loud call or by its distinctive spring 'drumming' display. Great spotted woodpeckers can easily be seen in woodlands, parks and large gardens and will visit peanut feeders and bird tables.

Listen to the great spotted woodpecker

great tit

The member of the UK tit family - The great tit is a woodland bird that has easily adjusted to man made habitats becoming a common visitor to gardens throughout the UK.

Easily recognised with its striking glossy black head and white cheeks with yellow and green body. Its distinctive two-syllable song is often heard in woodlands, parks and gardens throughout the UK.

Listen to the great tit

house sparrow

Noisy and gregarious, these cheerful exploiters of man's rubbish and wastefulness have managed to colonise most of the world. The ultimate avian opportunist perhaps.

Monitoring suggests a severe decline in the UK house sparrow population, recently estimated as dropping by 71 per cent between 1977 and 2008 with substantial declines in both rural and urban populations.

House sparrows can be found from the centre of cities to the farmland of the countryside, they feed and breed near to people.It is a species vanishing from the centre of many cities, but is not uncommon in most towns and villages.

Listen to the house sparrow

nightingale

Nightingales are slightly larger than robins, with a robust, broad-tailed, rather plain brown appearance. They are skulking and extremely local in their distribution in the UK, while in much of southern Europe they are common and more easily seen.

The famous song is indeed of high quality, with a fast succession of high, low and rich notes that few other species can match.The nightingale is a secretive bird which likes nothing better than hiding in the middle of an impenetrable bush or thicket.

In the UK they breed mostly south of the Severn-Wash line and east from Dorset to Kent. The highest densities are found in the south east - Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Kent and Sussex.

Listen to the nightingale

song thrush

A familiar and popular garden songbird whose numbers have declined markedly on farmland and in towns and cities. It's smaller and browner than a mistle thrush with smaller spotting.

Its habit of repeating song phrases distinguish it from singing blackbirds. It likes to eat snails which it breaks into by smashing them against a stone with a flick of the head.

Listen to the song thrush

turtle dove

The turtle dove is a dainty dove, smaller and darker than the collared dove and slightly larger than a blackbird. Its upperparts are distinctively mottled with chestnut and black and its black tail has a white edge.

The gentle purr of the turtle dove is an evocative sound of summer, but has become increasingly rare following rapid and sustained population declines.

One cause of the decline is thought to be lack of seed and grain as food during the breeding season, resulting in a much shorter breeder season with fewer nesting attempts. The species is now included on the Red List of conservation concern.

Listen to the turtle dove