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 260, and an effort has also been made to comment on status.

262 results.   Displaying 121 to 140. VIEW ALL

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Species Image Details
Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres) View Image Common winter visitor and passage migrant..
Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus) View Image Very scarce passage migrant.
Grey Phalarope (Phalaropus fulicarious) View Image Scarce passage migrant though large numbers recorded in 2008. (HRC)
Wilson's Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor) A single at Broadford Bay between 16-21 August 2013, is the only record for Skye
Pomarine Skua (Stercorarius pomarinus) View Image Rare passage migrant.
Arctic Skua (Stercorarius parisiticus) View Image An occasional passage migrant in spring, more frequent from late summer.
Long-tailed Skua (Stercorarius longicaudus) A scarce passage migrant in spring and autumn. (HRC juveniles)
Great Skua (Catharacta skua) View Image Now breeds and summers. A common passage migrant.
Little Gull (Larus minutus) View Image A scarce passage migrant.
Sabine's Gull (Larus sabini) Scarce passage migrant. (HRC)
Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus) May have bred, but scarce. Occurs regularly on passage but in small numbers.
Common Gull (Larus canus) Breeding resident. Occurs in large numbers on passage.
Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus) Rare vagrant though several birds seen in autumn 2014 part of an influx.
Lesser Black-backed Gull (Larus fuscus) View Image Breeding resident and passage migrant.
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) View Image Common breeding resident and passage migrant.
Iceland Gull (Larus glaucoides) View Image A winter visitor, in small numbers.
Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus) View Image A winter visitor, in small numbers.
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus) View Image Breeding resident and passage migrant.
Black-legged Kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla) View Image Breeds. Large numbers occur on spring and autumn passage.
Ivory Gull (Pagophila eburnea) A very rare winter visitor. (BBRC)

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Great White Egret

 A bird was found by Andrew Gouldstone on the Hamara River, Glendale, on 27.9.2016.  Though it was searched for the following day there was no trace.  This is a first for Skye and the record has been ratified by the HRC - fortunately this image was taken.

Yellow-browed Warbler

 A bird was found by Neil Bennett and Martin Benson in Broadford on 4.10.2016.  This is a first record for Skye though the record has been ratified by HRC.  Up to two birds remained for a fortnight.  Phil Knott found another bird on his croft in Drumfearn.  Bob McMillan also found two birds at the Point of Sleat.

Mandarin Duck

 Information was received from Euan Anderson in 2016 that a bird was seen on a pond in the Meodal plantation in Sleat in 1996.  The only other record was a bird which appeared briefly in Broadford Bay on 17.5.2017.  These are thought to be truly wild birds as there are no known collections of wildfowl nearby.  The species has been added to the Skye list.  Record shot from Martin Benson.


 This is a species whose range is expanding in neighbouring areas of Highland so its arrival was predictable.  It may have been recorded in Lochalsh previously but is regular in the Morar area.  It was anticipated that it might arrive in the woodlands of Sleat so an observation in Harrapool on 29.5.2017 was a bit of a surprise.  This is the first record for Skye.

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