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Scottish Birds of Prey

Posted on the | Category: Blog

Scotland is a country rich with stunning scenery and remarkable wildlife, over the next few blog posts we are going to showcase some of the bird species that you have the possibility of spotting when on tour with us. Below is a list of the various birds of prey that are known to be in the Scottish Highlands, and we have handily pointed out which tour you stand the best chance of seeing them on… no guarantees though! 

Birds of Prey

Common buzzard

Often confused with an eagle despite it being considerably smaller, the common buzzard is the most common bird of prey in the UK and thus probably the easiest to spot. The bird is of a brown colour in order to better camouflage itself, you can recognise it by its wingspan of over a metre.

Which tour are you most likely to see this species? 

Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Highlands

 

Golden eagle

The second largest bird of prey in the UK, you will recognise it by its large broad wings and longer tail and by the way it holds its wings in a shallow ‘V’ shape.

Which tour are you most likely to see this species?

Isle of Skye, The Highlands & Loch Ness

 

Goshawk

Its bright red/orange eyes and white eyebrows make this large hawk easily recognisable, with its large legs, talons and broad wingspan it excels at hunting pray.

Which tour are you most likely to see this species?

Eilean Donan, Loch Ness & the North West Highlands

 

Kestrel

Once abundant and easy to spot, the kestrels numbers have dwindled but you still have a good chance of spotting them, even in the city on occasion. You will spot them by their pointed wings and long tails.

Which tour are you most likely to see this species?

Oban, Glencoe & West Highland Castles

 

Hen harrier

The males and females of the species vary in colour; males tend to be a pale grey colour whilst females are brown with spots of white near its tail, which is long and barbed. You may notice that these birds fly low, and that their wing are held in a ‘V’ shape when they do so.

Which tour are you most likely to see this species?

Eilean Donan, Loch Ness & North West Highlands

 

Merlin

At first glance the merlin may look like a small kestrel, but there are points where you will notice the difference. The merlin’s wings are broad and short pointed which allows them to be incredibly agile in flight. They tend have grey/blue upper bodied with a speckled breast, as well as a brown tail.

Which tour are you most likely to see this species?

Loch Ness, Inverness & the Highlands

 

 Osprey

This fishing bird of prey can be recognised by its long wing span and a reverse ‘W’ shaped outline. It also has light underparts and dark patches about midway along its wings. You may see them carrying fish back to their young around lochs.

Which tour are you most likely to see this species?

Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Highlands

 

Red kite

As the name suggests, this species of bird can be identified by its reddish-brown colour and a deep forked tail, it also has a large wingspan reaching almost 2 metres. Though it is an efficient predator it mainly seeks out the easier road kill by roadsides.

Which tour are you most likely to see this species?

Highland Whisky, Woodland & Braveheart

 

White tailed eagle (sea eagle)

This eagle is the largest bird of prey in the UK and can be recognised by its pale head, broad rectangular wings that can span around 2 and a half metres and, when stationary, stands about a metre tall.

Which tour are you most likely to see this species?

Isle of Skye, The Highlands & Loch Ness

 

Barn owl

This owl is easy to recognise thanks to its heart shaped face, pure white body and brown back and wings. It is abundant in the UK so if you keep your eyes peeled this one may be easier to spot than others.

Which tour are you most likely to see this species?

Highland Whisky, Woodland & Braveheart

 

Long Eared Owl

This owl may appear long and thing but is of a medium size, normally a brown shade with darker brown streaks throughout and orange eyes. The long ears are not in fact ears though but head feathers that raise when shocked so you really shouldn’t see this.

Which tour are you most likely to see this species?

Loch Ness, Glencoe & the Highlands

 

Short-eared owl

With short ears and a medium sized build, you will most likely spot these owls hunting during the day as they tend to prefer open areas where their prey of small mammals is plentiful.

Which tour are you most likely to see this species?

Oban, Glencoe & West Highland Castles

 

Tawny Owl

The prominent feature of the Tawny Owl is its dark eyes and its rounded head, with the body being reddish brown with dark spots near the face. It tends to hunt in the same area, not travelling far and is fairly widespread in Scotland.

Which tour are you most likely to see this species?

Oban, Glencoe & West Highland Castles