Britain's Most Colourful Birds
Bird watching is a favourite hobby of many Brits, lots of people have bird feeders in their gardens which help to support our little friends through the cold winter months, and birdwatching in nature reserves or in what is left of Britain's wilderness is also a popular activity. Our native birds are sometimes thought of as a bit dull; however, there are a surprising number of beautiful and colourful birds in Britain, especially some of the little finches and tits. I have selected some of the best to showcase here.
In the bird world, the males are usually much more colourful than the females, as they compete to impress their mates, so the pictures here mainly show the male of each species.
This pretty little bird is fairly common in our gardens and in the countryside, often seen in small groups feeding on seed heads, especially thistles, on a late summers day and building up some fat reserves before the winter sets in. Its striking gold and black bars and red face make it easy to recognise. Goldfinches are partially migrant, heading south for the winter and returning when the weather warms up.
There are many beautifully coloured finches, but the most colourful in Britain is the bullfinch. This cheeky little chap is known for nipping the buds off of fruit bushes and trees, but they are not as common as they used to be, and nowadays do quite well out of of bird feeders in gardens, so are not really such a menace.
The Blue Tit
A dainty little bird that is common on our bird feeders, the blue tit is recognisable by its blue cap and yellow chest. They are smaller, and slightly more shy than the closely related great tit (pictured below).
They enjoy seeds, nuts and fatballs on the bird table.
The Great Tit
The great tit is larger and more brightly coloured than the blue tit, although quite similar in appearance, it has bolder black markings and no blue. It is a gregarious little bird, and one of the most common seen on bird feeders. They enjoy nuts, seeds and fatballs on the bird table.
The Great Spotted Woodpecker
This striking bird lives mainly in wooded areas, but is also fairly common in parks and gardens so long as there are a few trees around. The great spotted woodpecker has red patches on the back of the head and on the underbelly, with distinct black and white markings. The closely related lesser spotted woodpecker looks quite similar, but is smaller and does not have the red patch on the underside. They are often seen on garden bird feeders where they enjoy feasting on peanuts.
The kingfisher, with its brilliant azure blue back and fiery orange chest is a bird that you are unlikely to see in the garden unless you have a pond or river that contains fish. It is most frequently seen perching on a branch overhanging a riverbank, waiting for its next meal to swim by, or you may just catch a glimpse of blue as it flashes past along the river, diving in to catch a fish. These beautiful and brilliantly coloured birds are not as common as they used to be, due to pollution and diversion of waterways, and are now a protected species in Britain.