Four Most Common British Wild Birds

Updated February 21, 2017

Great Britain is home to a wide range of migratory and nonmigratory bird species. Birds inhabit nearly every area of Britain, from the crowded streets of London to the lonely mountaintops and forests of Wales. Some birds are those that U.K. residents see every day, while others are seldom seen by anyone but the keenest of bird-watchers. A survey by 2,000 members of the British Trust for Ornithology lists the most common U.K. bird species in order of their abundance.

Wood Pigeon

The wood pigeon is the most common wild British bird and also its largest species of pigeon. Wood pigeons are easy to spot in cities and towns, where they tend to perch on building ledges, flock together in parks and gardens and scavenge for food in big plazas. Wood pigeons are also common in fields and woodland areas. The wood pigeon is mostly grey except for white patches on its neck and wings. They'll eat just about anything but they prefer grains, sprouts, peas, cabbages, berries, seeds, nuts, buds and shoots.


Often mistaken for the sparrow, the chaffinch is an extremely common garden bird in the U.K. that is distinguished by its slimmer body and prominent wing stripes. It's estimated that over seven million breeding pairs inhabit Britain, according to the website Birdsofbritain. Chaffinches can be found anywhere in Britain, with the exception of the Outer Hebrides and certain treeless areas of Shetland. They are especially common in gardens, woodlands, hedgerows, scrubs and upland conifer plantations.


Known for their striking colour and soothing, mellow song, blackbirds are one of the U.K.'s most common bird species. Interestingly, although males live up to their name and are entirely black, females are usually brown with spots and streaked beaks. Both sexes have striking bright yellow or orange beaks. Blackbirds can be seen almost anywhere except for tall peaks and they inhabit gardens, meadows, coastal areas and hillsides throughout the U.K. Their diet consists of worms, insects and berries.


With its noisy, shrill song and fine bill, the tiny wren is one of the U.K.'s most common breeding birds. Wrens are mix of brown and grey with a white stripe above the eye. They are very small and round with short wings and long legs. Wrens can be found almost anywhere in the U.K., though their principal habitats are farmland, woodland, moorland, islands and heathlands. They are slightly less common in the colder regions of Scotland and northern England, where they often cannot survive the harsh winters. Wrens eat mostly small insects and spiders.

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About the Author

Charlie Higgins is journalist, editor and translator based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has written for a variety of lifestyle and niche market websites, including International Food Trader, The Olive Oil Times, microDINERO, Sounds and Colours, Connecting Worlds and The Buenos Aires Reader.