From the expanse of peat bogs of the Caithness Flow Country through the Arctic Cairngorm plateau to the salt marshes of the mild Solway coast, Scotland has a more diverse range of habitats than almost any country of comparable size.

For the visiting birdwatcher Scotland's great sea bird colonies are perhaps its most outstanding feature. The islands of St. Kilda with the world's largest Gannet colony alongside many thousands of Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills and Kittiwakes are perhaps the most famous of the 500 or so Hebridean islands. But the Outer Hebrides are also a major wintering area for Barnacle Geese, whilst Corncrake has re-established itself as a breeding species in recent years. Red-throated Divers are a feature of the lochs, Black Guillemots of the coasts.

Like the Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland hold impressive seabird colonies but are better known as a focal point for rarities in spring and autumn. Shetland also offers the best chance of seeing Snowy Owl and breeding Red-necked Phalarope. And then there is Fair Isle, mid-way between the two, where the roll-call of extreme rarities has written this island into birding folklore long ago.

Apart from the islands, birders are also attracted by the Highlands, particularly Speyside and the Cairngorms where birders can catch up with Scottish Crossbill, Crested Tit and many other Scottish specialities. The Cairngorms themselves offer the prospect of Ptarmigan, Dotterel and breeding Snow Bunting.

Crested Tit

Crested Tit © Glyn Sellors

If visiting a Black Grouse or Capercaillie site please follow the Code of Conduct

Highland Nature

Oriole Birding

Showing the 51 Most Recent Trip Reports Posted

Birding the Scottish Highlands in Winter, author Gordon Hamlett (link created September 8, 2010)
(Gordon Hamlett describes the delights in store with a short stay at the Grant Arms Hotel in Grantown-on-Spey and the Birdwatching and Wildlife Club.)

Scotland, author Mark Hows (link created September 7, 2013)
(Golden eagle, White tailed eagle, rock dove, mammals)

Scotland in August 2011, author Antonio Rodriguez (added September 28, 2011)
(Bass Rock, Cairngorm National Park, Loch Lomond, Skye, Mull, Lochindorb, Cromarty Firth, Udale Bay, Loch Fleet, Vane Farm, Loch of the Lowes)

Capercaillie code of conduct, author Surfbirds Admin (added September 24, 2004)

Scotland - Fair Isle, 27th May - 3rd June 2001, author Surfbirds Admin (added September 24, 2004)

Scotland Islay and Jura, 27th October - 3rd November 2001, author Surfbirds Admin (added September 24, 2004)

Scotland Islay & Jura, December 2003, author Surfbirds Admin (added September 24, 2004)

Scotland, The Orkneys, 24th May - 1st June 2003, author Surfbirds Admin (added September 24, 2004)

Speyside, Black Isle, Highlands and Inner Hebrides, 29th June - 26th July 2003, author Surfbirds Admin (added September 24, 2004)

The Islay Goosefest, 1st - 4th January 2004, author Surfbirds Admin (added September 24, 2004)

Scotland, 23rd April - 2nd May 2004, author Surfbirds Admin (added September 24, 2004)

Scotland - June 2011, author Ray Kite (added September 13, 2011)
(Mull, Handa Island, Cairngorms)

Tour de Force - Buchan Alpha, author Bagsy (added October 31, 2005)
(Yellow-browed Warbler, Great Grey Shrike)

Shetland Islands, Scotland - 2nd - 9th October 2010, author Philip Andrews (added October 28, 2010)
(PG Tips, Lanceloated Warbler, Buff-bellied Pipit, Swainson's Thrush, Sykes' Warbler)

Outer Hebrides - September 2012, author Steve Duffield (added October 12, 2012)
(Uist, Benbecula, Buff-bellied Pipit, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Quail, White-rumped Sandpiper, American Golden Plover, Pectoral Sandpiper)

Orkney, Scotland - 1st - 6th June 2015, author Naturetrek (link created November 7, 2015)

Fair Isle Flunk With Some Mainland Luck - October 2005, author David Andrews (added November 4, 2005)

Barra & The Outer Hebrides - October 6th - 12th 2019, author Ken Reeves (added November 25, 2019)
(Barra, Burbagebirders, )

Dumfries and Galloway - 22nd to 29th October, 2005, author Christopher Hall (added November 2, 2005)
(Loch Ken, Wigtown Bay, Fleet National Nature Reserve, Loch Ryan, Southerness Point)

Scotland - the Highlands & Lewis/Harris - 19th to 26th April 2007, author Geoff Dicker (added May 20, 2007)
(Loch Venachar, Glen Quaich, Speyside, Findhorn Valley, Loch Ruthven, Lewis, Harris, Skye, Gruinard Bay)

Speyside/Cairngorms and Isle of Skye, 23rd April - 3rd May 2009, author Marc Suller (added May 11, 2009)
(Crested Tit, Capercaillie, White-tailed Eagle, Black Grouse, Speyside, Cairngorms, Skye)

The Solway Firth - 20th - 25th March 2011, author Christopher Hall (added March 31, 2011)

Islay & Jura - Birds & Otters - 11th - 16th March 2018, author Christopher Hall (link created March 30, 2018)

Isle of Coll - a unique hebridean experience, author Surfbirds Admin (link created March 23, 2006)
(Corncrake, Basking Shark)

The Solway Firth 16th - 20th March 2015, author Christopher Hall (added March 22, 2015)

England & Scotland - A Grand Tour - 24th April - 10th May 2019, author Christopher Hall (link created June 8, 2019)

The Cairngorms - 14th - 20th May 2011, author Christopher Hall (added June 5, 2011)
(Rothiemurchus, Loch Ruthven, Findhorn Valley, Loch Garten, Lochindorb, Cairn Gorm, Glenlivet estate, Abernethy Forest )

Scotland, Outer Hebrides, Uists and Barra - 10th - 17th May 2008 with Western Isles Wildlife, author Stephen Duffield (added June 4, 2008)
(North Uist, South Uist, Barra, Benbecula, Bee-eater, White-tailed Eagle, Golden Eagle, Corncrake, Otter, Hen Harrier, Peregrine Falcon, Great Northern Diver, skuas, Snowy Owl, Hebirdes, Specialise in birds of the Outer Hebrides)

Birding the Isle of Mull, Scotland - 17th - 24th May 2008, author Derek Lister (added June 4, 2008)
(The Aros estuary, Aros-Dervaig Raod, Loch Na Keal, Loch Scridian, Iona and The Treshnish Isles)

Isle of Mull, Scotland - 1st - 6th June 2019, author Christopher Hall (link created June 15, 2019)
(White-tailed Eagle, Golden Eagle, Corncrake, Otter)

Scotland - via Bempton and Northumberland - 20th June - 4th July 2008, author Greg Bond (added June 15, 2010)
(Orchids, dragonflies, damselflies)

The Western Isles - Hebridean Adventure - 24th - 29th May, 2018, author Christopher Hall (link created June 14, 2018)

The Western Isles - Hebridean Adventure ‘Take II’ - 29th May – 3rd June 2018, author Christopher Hall (link created June 14, 2018)

Marvellous Mull, Scotland - 2nd – 8th June 2013, author Christopher Hall (added June 14, 2013)
(Great Northern Diver, White-tailed Eagle, Twite, Wood Warbler)

Orcadian Odyssey - May 28th - June 6th 2010, author Mark Hows (added June 14, 2010)

Marvellous Mull - 1st - 7th June 2009, author Christopher Hall (added June 11, 2009)
(Golden and White-tailed Eagles, Corncrake)

Shetland in the ‘Simmer Dim’ - 31st May – 5th June 2016, author Christopher Hall (added June 10, 2016)
(Twite, Red-throated Diver, Red-necked Phalarope, Great Skua, Arctic Skua, Common Scoter, Whooper Swan)

Garvellachs, Inner Hebrides - May 2006, author RICHARD J WESLEY (added July 31, 2007)
(This was confirmed later as Ian picked him up on his VHF Radio and we could see Farsain emerge from the Grey Dogs between Lunga and Scarba, heading straight for the Garvellachs.)

Birding Trip to the Scottish Highlands, 16th - 19th July 2005, author Tony Moverley (added July 26, 2005)
(Scottish Highlands, Speyside, Golden Eagle, Slavonian Grebe, Crested Tit)

Highland Hogmanay - 29th December 2018 – 5th January 2019 , author Christopher Hall (added January 11, 2019)
(Loch Garten, Burghead, Lossiemouth, Cairngorm, Gareloch, Findhorn Estuary)

Scotland: The Scottish Bird Fair and birding around Edinburgh - May 9th-13th, 2013, author Mike Nelson (added February 5, 2014)
(Edinburgh, St. Abb's Head, Pentland Hills)

Scotland Trip - June 2003, author RICHARD J WESLEY (added February 10, 2006)
(We were not be disappointed as in the distance a Golden Eagle worked its way along the valley. It treated us to exceptional views as it passed and continued along the ridge. A wonderful end, to a day full of great birds.)

Scotland - July 2008, author Mark Hows (added August 9, 2008)

Scotland - June 2008, author Mike Dawson (added August 4, 2008)
(Speyside, Cairngorm, Anagach Wood, Insh.)

Scotland - 1st - 9th August 2012, author Mark Hows (added August 18, 2012)
(White-tailed Eagle, Black-winged Practincole, Blue Fulmar)

Shetland - 23rd – 28th June 2015, author Christopher Hall (added August 11, 2015)
(King Eider, Glaucous Gull, Twite)

Shetland - 17th – 23rd June 2015, author Christopher Hall (added August 11, 2015)
(Velvet Scoter, Corncrake)

Islay & Jura - Birds & Otters - 7th - 14th March 2013, author Christopher Hall (added April 6, 2013)

Scotland - Mull 22nd - 24th April 2006, author RICHARD J WESLEY (added April 26, 2006)
(A raptor was performing aerial diving manoeuvers close to the road. This strange ritual confused me at first, but to my delight, realised it was a male Hen Harrier.)

Scotland - Sound of Gigha 1st April 2006, author RICHARD J WESLEY (added April 19, 2006)
(A Raven cronked overhead as Paul informed me that the Sound of Ghia was one of the best over-wintering sites in Britain for Slavonian Grebes with up to fifty pairs in some winters.)

Islay and Jura - 12th - 17th March 2017, author Christopher Hall (link created April 17, 2017)