Skye Birds - A Birding Guide to the Isle of Skye

The Skye Birds Species List

For those new to lists of this nature, the species list and scientific names which follow are listed in the Voous sequence. Some of the names may be unfamiliar, but follow the recent recommendations of the British Ornithologists Union which have been adopted by the Scottish Ornithologists Club.  Historical records have been included where there is a reasonable provenance. Otherwise, rarer species have only been included where the record has been published in official reports such as the Atlases, or accepted by the Local Recorder or, in appropriate cases, the Scottish Records Committee.  Three committees oversee rare records.  The Highland Records Committee (HRC) for local rarities; the Scottish Birds Records Committee (SBRC) for scottish rarities (; and the British Birds Rarities Committee (BBRC) for british rarities (  Rarities have been identified in the species list by the use of the appropriate committee initials.  In respect of these rare birds, and others not listed, a full description will be required.  Photographic evidence can also be extremely helpful.

Because Skye has never been a recording area in its own right, and is part of the wider Highland recording area, it is accepted that this 'list' may be incomplete.  We welcome any additions and will update things as we go. As things stand the Skye species list shown below stands at 253, and an effort has also been made to comment on status.

253 results.   Displaying 1 to 253. VIEW ALL

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Species Image Details
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) View Image Annual vagrant.
Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus) View Image Common winter visitor and passage migrant in small numbers. Has summered.
Bewick's Swan (Cygnus columbianus) Historically, a regular winter visitor, now extremely rare. (HRC)
Snow Goose (Anser caerules) only a single record in 2009. (HRC)
Bean Goose (Anser fabalis rossicus) Very rare winter visitor - single record in 2012
Pink-footed Goose (Anser brachyrhynchus) View Image Regular passage migrant in spring and autumn- rarely lands!
Greater White-fronted Goose (Anser albifrons flavirostris) View Image Winter visitor in small numbers.
Greylag Goose (Anser anser) View Image Breeding resident and increasing.
Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) View Image Becoming a regular vagrant.
Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis) View Image Winter visitor in small numbers.
Brent Goose (Branta bernicla (hrota)) View Image Regular passage migrant in autumn, rarer in spring.
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna) View Image Breeding resident in small numbers. Passage migrant.
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope) View Image Winter visitor in small numbers.
American Wigeon (Anas americana) Scarce vagrant. (HRC)
Gadwall (Anas strepera) View Image Has bred. Scarce migrant and has wintered in small numbers.
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca) View Image Breeds annually in small numbers. Winter visitor in small numbers.
Green-winged Teal (Anas carolinensis) very rare american vagrant - single record in 2000. (HRC)
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) Breeding resident in small numbers. Passage migrant..
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) View Image Historical breeding record. Scarce passage migrant.
Garganey (Anas querquedula) View Image Scarce passage migrant. (HRC)

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White-throated Sparrow

The White-throated Sparrow found by Richard Charlesworth at Harrapool on 20th May, 2012, has now been accepted by the BBRC and becomes No.250 on the Skye 'list'.  With less than 20 records in Scotland, this North American vagrant becomes one of the rarest birds recorded on Skye, and proves the benefit of having a camera at the ready  as it was only in Richard's garden for 20 minutes.

Black Kite

A Black Kite seen by Dan Brown west of Portree on 30th May 2010 has been accepted by the SBRC and becomes No.248 on the Skye list.  Dan took photographs of the bird, described as a tatty adult, and these were submitted by RMcM to SBRC and the record has now been accepted on the basis of the photographic evidence alone.  Whilst this underscores the importance of obtaining images of rare species it is unfortunate that some observers, despite promptings by the Recorder, seem reluctant to submit descriptions.

Marsh Warbler

The record of a Marsh Warbler at Uig Bay between 17-28 June, 2013, has been accepted by the Scottish Birds Rarities Committee (SBRC).  The Marsh Warbler is a first for Skye, and was reported through Birdguides.  It was followed up by RMcM and remained in the area until June 28.  The bird was difficult to see and photograph, and the main identification criteria is a distinctive song full of mimicry, which included in this case songs of Swallow and Nightingale.  The song was recorded using mobile phone and these recordings were important in having the record accepted.

Wilson's Phalarope

On 16th August 2013 Gerry Rawcliffe found an unusual wader in Broadford Bay.  Along with RMcM the bird was photographed and it was established that the wader was a Wilson's Phalarope, a rare north American vagrant.  It is the first time the species has been recorded on Skye and only the second record for the Highland recording area.  The bird remained in the area until 21st August.  The record has been accepted by the BBRC.

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