Join us as we take a closer look at 14 different species of birds of prey that you can spot in Wales.
Nestled among the lush valleys, towering mountains, and captivating shores, Wales harbors a plethora of raptors. Join me as we take a deep dive into the realms of these winged wonders, traversing their awe-inspiring appearances, epicurean tastes, enchanting anecdotes, and the crème de la crème – where in the Welsh paradise to find these avian treasures.
Let’s take a look at 14 different species of birds of prey that you can spot in Wales!
1. Barn Owl (Tyto alba)
Ghostly, ethereal, the Barn Owl glides through the night. Their heart-shaped face, buff back and wings, and pure white underparts are eerily beautiful. Silent hunters, they feast on mice and voles. Witness their spectral beauty at the Welsh Wildlife Centre in Cilgerran.
2. Eurasian Hobby (Falco subbuteo)
Next in our line-up is the Eurasian Hobby, a slender raptor with grace. With their long, pointed wings, rufous underparts, and dark eyes, they are the epitome of finesse. Masters of catching dragonflies and small birds, Gower Peninsula welcomes those seeking a glimpse of this finesse.
3. European Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus)
For lovers of sweetness, meet the European Honey Buzzard. Graceful in flight, they boast broad wings and a long tail. Their fashionable plumage comes in various shades of brown. With an appetite for wasp and bee larvae, they’re audacious dining connoisseurs. Newborough Forest on Anglesey is a favored retreat for these buzzard aristocrats.
4. Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)
This stealthy aviator, the Eurasian Sparrowhawk, flits through woodlands like a phantom. Their barred underparts and slate grey or brownish back are nature’s finest camouflages. Woodland dwellers, they have a palate for small birds. The Snowdonia National Park’s dense forests provide the perfect opera house for their aerial displays.
5. European Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
Kestrels, the wind-whisperers! With a coppery back and tail, and spotted underparts, they are grace on wings. Masters of the hover, they feed on voles and insects. The Llŷn Peninsula’s cliffs are where they paint the skies.
6. Hen Harrier (Circus cyaneus)
The Hen Harrier graces us with balletic elegance. Males are grey with mesmerizing shades, while females are resplendent in chocolate brown. Their preferred delicacies include small mammals and ground-nesting birds. With a nesting preference for heather moorland, the enchanting Isle of Anglesey’s moorlands is where their courtly dances occur.
7. Red Kite (Milvus milvus)
First, let’s behold the Red Kite, an avian royalty with rust-hued plumage that would make the finest velvets green with envy. Their sleek, five-foot wingspan and forked tail are a sight to behold. Scavengers at heart, they dine on a buffet of carrion, worms, and small mammals. The rolling countryside of Powys, with its open farmlands and woodlands, is akin to their ancestral estates, where they reign supreme.
8. Tawny Owl (Strix aluco)
The mysterious Tawny Owl, with its haunting call, reigns over the night. Dressed in rich brown with streaks of black, their large black eyes are wells of wisdom. Rodents are their prey of choice. Coed y Brenin’s dense woodlands are their shadowy sanctuaries.
9. Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo)
Meet the strapping Common Buzzard, with robust wings and an insatiable appetite for small mammals, birds, and earthworms. Their plumage is an opulent mix of browns, with a regal, rounded tail. The sprawling countryside of Brecon Beacons National Park is their kingdom.
10. Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)
Enter the Peregrine Falcon, the debonair daredevil of the firmament. Adorned with a black head, blue-grey back, and barred white underparts, these aerodynamic aces can reach speeds of over 240 mph in a dive. Gourmet diners, they prefer to catch other birds mid-flight. For a taste of this regal spectacle, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park rolls out the red carpet.
11. Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis)
Our next guest is the formidable Goshawk, a muscular guardian of the woodlands. With piercing orange eyes, slate grey upperparts, and barred underparts, they are stunning to behold. Their menu includes a sumptuous selection of birds and mammals. The dense Clocaenog Forest in North Wales is where these sentinels hold court.
12. Merlin (Falco columbarius)
Behold Merlin, the enchanter of the skies! This diminutive falcon, with hues of blue-grey, rust, and cream, wields magic in agility. With a predilection for small birds, their hunting style is a frenetic dance. The coasts and moorlands of Carmarthenshire are their mystical abodes.
13. Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
The Osprey, a fishing legend with talons like fishhooks, and eyes that pierce the water. Their white head, dark mask, and speckled brown wings are a sight to behold. Dine with them at the Glaslyn Osprey Project, where fish is always on the menu.
14. Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)
Finally, we bow before the Golden Eagle. With a royal wingspan, golden-brown feathers, and regal bearing, they are the true monarchs of the skies. Feasting on rabbits and game birds, the rugged terrain of Snowdonia is their fortress.