Bute’s birds – a checklist

Lesser Yellowlegs, Little Kilmory on 2nd October 2012. Lesser Yellowlegs was one of two species added to the Bute List in 2012. © Doug Menzies

Lesser Yellowlegs, Little Kilmory on 2nd October 2012. Lesser Yellowlegs was one of two species added to the Bute List in 2012. © Doug Menzies


Birds: A Checklist of the Birds of Bute

For a fairly small island, Bute has a great variety of habitats, resulting in a rich and diversified bird life, with over 100 breeding species including Hen Harrier, Peregrine, Osprey and Black Grouse. It is also important for wintering birds, particularly wildfowl, with seven species of ducks and geese present in nationally important numbers (1% or more of the Scottish population).

Up until the end of 2012, there were 214 species of bird recorded on Bute. For greater information about the birdlife on Bute see The Birds of Bute published in 2012 jointly by the Buteshire Natural History Society and The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club and written by Ron Forrester, Ian Hopkins and Doug Menzies. Also look at the ‘Bute Bird Group’ section of this website. Please report all unusual sightings of birds on Bute to butebirdgroup@gmail.com .


Birds belong to the Class Aves:-

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves


Status Codes

Abbreviated codes are provided for each species. These are the same as used in The Birds of Bute and provide basic information about the status of each species on the island of Bute.


RB           Resident breeder

MB         Migrant breeder

IB            Introduced breeder

CB           Casual breeder

CMB      Casual migrant breeder

HB          Hybrid breeder

FB           Former breeder

FMB       Former migrant breeder

WV         Winter visitor

NBSV     Non-breeding summer visitor

PV          Passage visitor

SV           Scarce visitor

V             Vagrant

CNBV    Casual non-breeding visitor


Species List

Mute Swan                                     Cygnus olor                                        RB WV

Bewick’s Swan                               Cygnus columbianus                        SV

Whooper Swan                              Cygnus cygnus                                  PV WV

Bean Goose                                    Anser fabalis                                      SV

Pink-footed Goose                        Anser brachyrhynchus                   PV WV

White-fronted Goose                   Anser albifrons                                 WV

Greylag Goose                               Anser anser                                       RB IB WV

Snow Goose                                   Anser caerulescens                          V

Canada Goose                               Branta canadensis                          IB

Barnacle Goose                             Branta leucopsis                              PV WV

Brent Goose                                   Branta bernicla                               SV

Shelduck                                         Tadorna tadorna                            MB RB WV

Wigeon                                            Anas penelope                                 CB WV PV

Gadwall                                           Anas strepera                                  WV

Teal                                                  Anas crecca                                      RB WV PV

Mallard                                           Anas platyrhynchos                       RB WV

Pintail                                             Anas acuta                                        SV

Garganey                                       Anas querquedula                           V

Shoveler                                         Anas clypeata                                   SV CB

Pochard                                          Aythya ferina                                   FB WV PV

Tufted Duck                                   Aythya fuligula                               RB WV PV

Scaup                                              Aythya marila                                 SV

Eider                                               Somateria mollissima                    RB WV

King Eider                                      Somateria spectabilis                    V

Long-tailed Duck                          Clangula hyemalis                         SV

Common Scoter                            Melanitta nigra                              SV

Velvet Scoter                                 Melanitta fusca                               V

Goldeneye                                      Bucephala clangula                       WV PV

Smew                                              Mergus albellus                               V

Red-breasted Merganser            Mergus serrator                             RB WV

Goosander                                     Mergus merganser                         WV

Ruddy Duck                                  Oxyura jamaicensis                        V

Red Grouse                                   Lagopus lagopus                             RB

Black Grouse                                Tetrao tetrix                                      RB

Capercaillie                                   Tetrao urogallus                              V

Red-legged Partridge                  Alectoris rufa                                    IB

Grey Partridge                              Perdix perdix                                    FB IB

Quail                                               Coturnix coturnix                            SV

Pheasant                                        Phasianus colchicus                        IB

Red-throated Diver                     Gavia stellata                                   MB WV PV

Black-throated Diver                  Gavia arctica                                    PV WV

Great Northern Diver                 Gavia immer                                     WV PV

Fulmar                                           Fulmarus glacialis                           FMB NBSV PV

Manx Shearwater                        Puffinus puffinus                             NBSV PV

Storm Petrel                                 Hydrobates pelagicus                    V

Leach’s Petrel                               Oceanodroma leucorhoa               V

Gannet                                           Morus bassanus                              NBSV PV

Cormorant                                    Phalacrocorax carbo                      NBSV PV WV

Shag                                               Phalacrocorax aristotelis              RB NBSV PV WV

Snowy Egret                                 Egretta thula                                    V

Little Egret                                   Egretta garzetta                              V

Grey Heron                                  Ardea cinerea                                   RB WV

Spoonbill                                      Platalea leucorodia                         V

Little Grebe                                  Tachybaptus ruficollis                   RB WV

Great Crested Grebe                   Podiceps cristatus                          RB MB WV

Red-necked Grebe                      Podiceps grisegena                         V

Slavonian Grebe                          Podiceps auritus                             SV

Red Kite                                         Milvus milvus                                 V

White-tailed Eagle                      Haliaeetus albicilla                        SV

Marsh Harrier                             Circus aeruginosus                         V

Hen Harrier                                 Circus cyaneus                                 RB MB PV WV

Goshawk                                       Accipiter gentilis                             V

Sparrowhawk                               Accipiter nisus                                 RB PV WV

Buzzard                                         Buteo buteo                                       RB

Rough-legged Buzzard               Buteo lagopus                                  V

Golden Eagle                                Aquila chrysaetos                           CB PV

Osprey                                           Pandion haliaetus                           MB SV

Kestrel                                           Falco tinnunculus                           RB MB PV WV

Merlin                                            Falco columbarius                         FB PV WV

Peregrine                                       Falco peregrinus                            RB WV PV

Water Rail                                     Rallus aquaticus                             RB WV

Corncrake                                      Crex crex                                          SV FMB

Moorhen                                        Gallinula chloropus                      RB MB WV

Coot                                                Fulica atra                                      RB MB WV

Oystercatcher                               Haematopus ostralegus              RB MB PV WV

Ringed Plover                               Charadrius hiaticula                   RB MB PV WV

Dotterel                                          Charadrius morinellus               V

Golden Plover                               Pluvialis apricaria                       FB PV WV

Grey Plover                                    Pluvialis squatarola                    PV WV

Lapwing                                          Vanellus vanellus                         RB MB PV WV

Knot                                                 Calidris canutus                           PV

Sanderling                                      Calidris alba                                  PV

Little Stint                                      Calidris minuta                             V

Pectoral Sandpiper                       Calidris melanotos                       V

Curlew Sandpiper                         Calidris ferruginea                      V

Purple Sandpiper                          Calidris maritima                        WV

Dunlin                                             Calidris alpina                              PV WV

Ruff                                                  Philomachus pugnax                   V

Jack Snipe                                      Lymnocryptes minimus               WV/PV

Snipe                                               Gallinago gallinago                      RB MB PV WV

Woodcock                                      Scolopax rusticola                         RB MB PV WV

Black-tailed Godwit                     Limosa limosa                                SV

Bar-tailed Godwit                         Limosa lapponica                          WV PV

Whimbrel                                       Numenius phaeopus                      PV

Curlew                                             Numenius arquata                        RB MB PV WV

Common Sandpiper                     Actitis hypoleucos                          MB PV

Green Sandpiper                           Tringa ochropus                            V

Spotted Redshank                         Tringa erythropus                        SV

Greenshank                                    Tringa nebularia                           SV

Lesser Yellowlegs                          Tringa flavipes                               V

Redshank                                        Tringa tetanus                                RB MB PV WV

Turnstone                                       Arenaria interpres                         PV WV

Pomarine Skua                              Stercorarius pomarinus               V

Arctic Skua                                     Stercorarius parasiticus               SV

Long-tailed Skua                          Stercorarius longicaudus              V

Great Skua                                     Stercorarius skua                            SV

Kittiwake                                        Rissa tridactyla                               PV

Black-headed Gull                        Chroicocephalus ridibundus        FB FMB PV WV

Little Gull                                       Hydrocoloeus minutus                  V

Mediterranean Gull                     Larus melanocephalus                  V

Common Gull                               Larus canus                                      RB MB PV WV

Lesser Black-backed Gull           Larus fuscus                                     MB PV

Herring Gull                                  Larus argentatus                            RB PV WV

Iceland Gull                                   Larus glaucoides                             SV

Glaucous Gull                                Larus hyperboreus                         PV/WV

Great Black-backed Gull             Larus marinus                                 RB WV

Little Tern                                      Sternula albifrons                           V

Sandwich Tern                              Sterna sandvicensis                        PV/NBSV

Common Tern                               Sterna hirundo                                 FB/PV

Roseate Tern                                 Sterna dougallii                                SV

Arctic Tern                                     Sterna paradisaea                           SV

Guillemot                                       Uria aalge                                          NBSV WV

Razorbill                                         Alca torda                                          NBSV WV

Black Guillemot                            Cepphus grylle                                  RB/MB WV

Little Auk                                       Alle alle                                               SV

Puffin                                              Fratercula arctica                            V

Rock Dove / Feral Pigeon           Columba livia                                    RB

Stock Dove                                     Columba oenas                                 RB

Woodpigeon                                  Columba palumbus                         RB WV

Collared Dove                               Streptopelia decaocto                     RB

Turtle Dove                                   Streptopelia turtur                           V

Cuckoo                                           Cuculus canorus                               MB PV

Barn Owl                                       Tyto alba                                             RB

Tawny Owl                                    Strix aluco                                          RB

Long-eared Owl                            Asio otus                                            RB

Short-eared Owl                           Asio flammeus                                  RB

Nightjar                                         Caprimulgus europaeus                 MB

Swift                                               Apus apus                                          MB PV

Kingfisher                                     Alcedo atthis                                      FB SV

Hoopoe                                          Upupa epops                                     V

Green Woodpecker                     Picus viridis                                       V

Great Spotted Woodpecker       Dendrocopos major                        RB

Great Grey Shrike                        Lanius excubitor                              V

Chough                                           Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax             CB V

Magpie                                            Pica pica                                           RB CNBV

Jay                                                   Garrulus glandarius                      RB

Jackdaw                                         Corvus monedula                            RB WV

Rook                                               Corvus frugilegus                            RB WV

Carrion Crow                                Corvus corone                                  RB WV

Hooded Crow                               Corvus cornix                                   RB WV

Raven                                             Corvus corax                                    RB WV

Goldcrest                                       Regulus regulus                               RB MB WV

Blue Tit                                          Cyanistes caeruleus                        RB

Great Tit                                        Parus major                                      RB

Coal Tit                                          Periparus ater                                  RB

Skylark                                           Alauda arvensis                               RB MB PV WV

Sand Martin                                  Riparia riparia                                MB PV

Swallow                                          Hirundo rustica                               MB PV

House Martin                                Delichon urbicum                           MB PV

Long-tailed Tit                              Aegithalos caudatus                      RB

Wood Warbler                              Phylloscopus sibilatrix                  MB

Chiffchaff                                       Phylloscopus collybita                   MB WV

Willow Warbler                            Phylloscopus trochilus                   MB PV

Blackcap                                         Sylvia atricapilla                            MB WV

Garden Warbler                            Sylvia borin                                     MB

Whitethroat                                   Sylvia communis                            MB

Grasshopper Warbler                  Locustella naevia                           MB

Sedge Warbler                               Acrocephalus schoenbaenus       MB

Waxwing                                         Bombycilla garrulus                    WV

Nuthatch                                         Sitta europaea                               V

Treecreeper                                    Certhia familiaris                         RB

Wren                                                Troglodytes troglodytes             RB

Starling                                            Sturnus vulgaris                          RB PV WV

Rose-coloured Starling                Sturnus roseus                               V

Dipper                                             Cinclus cinclus                                FB SV

Ring Ouzel                                      Turdus torquatus                          FMB

Blackbird                                        Turdus merula                               RB MB PV WV

Black-throated Thrush                Turdus atrogularis                       V

Fieldfare                                         Turdus pilaris                                PV WV

Song Thrush                                  Turdus philomelos                        RB MB PV WV

Redwing                                         Turdus iliacus                                PV WV

Mistle Thrush                               Turdus viscivorus                          RB MB WV

Spotted Flycatcher                      Muscicapa striata                          MB

Robin                                             Erithacus rubecula                        RB MB WV

Pied Flycatcher                            Ficedula hypoleuca                       CMB

Redstart                                         Phoenicurus phoenicurus           MB

Whinchat                                       Saxicola rubetra                           MB

Stonechat                                       Saxicola rubricola                        RB

Wheatear                                       Oenanthe oenanthe                      MB PV

Dunnock                                        Prunella modularis                      RB

House Sparrow                            Passer domesticus                        RB

Tree Sparrow                                Passer montanus                         FB

Yellow Wagtail                             Motacilla flava                             V

Grey Wagtail                                Motacilla cinerea                         RB MB PV WV

Pied / White Wagtail                  Motacilla alba                              RB MB PV WV

Tree Pipit                                      Anthus trivialis                            MB PV

Meadow Pipit                               Anthus pratensis                         MB RB PV WV

Rock Pipit                                     Anthus petrosus                           RB

Chaffinch                                      Fringilla coelebs                            RB MB PV WV

Brambling                                    Fringilla montifringilla               SV

Greenfinch                                   Chloris chloris                                RB MB WV

Goldfinch                                     Carduelis carduelis                       RB MB PV WV

Siskin                                            Carduelis spinus                            RB MB WV

Linnet                                           Carduelis cannabina                    RB MB PV WV

Twite                                             Carduelis flavirostris                  RB MB WV

Lesser Redpoll                            Carduelis cabaret                         RB MB WV

Mealy Redpoll                             Carduelis flammea                      V

Common Crossbill                     Loxia curvirostra                         RB/MB PV WV

Bullfinch                                      Pyrrhula pyrrhula                       RB MB WV

Snow Bunting                             Plectrophenax nivalis                  SV

Lapland Bunting                        Calcarius lapponicus                   V

Yellowhammer                           Emberiza citrinella                      RB WV

Reed Bunting                              Emberiza schoeniclus                 RB MB WV

Corn Bunting                              Emberiza calandra                     FB



Forrester, R.W., Hopkins, I. & Menzies, D. 2012. The Birds of Bute. The Buteshire Natural History Society, Rothesay & The Scottish Ornithologists’ Club, Aberlady.

Menzies, D., Hopkins, I. & Forrester, R. 2013. Bute Bird Report 2012. Bute Bird Group, Rothesay.


19.12.13 (RWF)