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 161 to 180. VIEW ALL

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Species Image Details
European Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus) Has bred - historical records mainly though a dead bird was found in 2005.
Common Swift (Chaetura pelagica) No recent breeding records. Occurs on passage.
Alpine Swift (Apus melba) A single record in 1979. (SBRC)
Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) A scarce vagrant. No known breeding record.
European Bee-Eater (Merops apiaster) View Image A scarce vagrant. (HRC)
Hoopoe (Upupa epops) A scarce vagrant.
Wryneck (Jynx torquilla) A scarce vagrant with only two records
Green Woodpecker (Picus viridis) A very rare vagrant which was recorded at Kyleakin on 6th July 2013
Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) View Image A rare breeding resident, probably expanding its range.
Sky Lark (Alauda arvensis) View Image Breeds commonly - a few birds winter. Also occurs on passage.
Horned (Shore) Lark (Eremophila alpestris) Very rare winter visitor. (HRC)
Sand Martin (Riparia riparia) View Image Breeds in small numbers and occurs on passage.
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) View Image Breeds. Common summer visitor.
House Martin (Delichon urbica) View Image Summer visitor and breeds in small numbers.
Red-rumped Swallow (Cecropis daurica dauricaljaponica) View Image Rare vagrant - a single record in 2011
Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis) View Image Common summer visitor and breeder.
Meadow Pipit (Anthus pratensis) View Image Common breeding resident. Population is mainly migratory.
Rock Pipit (Anthus spinoletta) Common breeding resident.
Water Pipit (Anthus spinoletta) Very rare vagrant. (SBRC)
Yellow Wagtail (Motacilla flava) Has bred, but only a single recent record. (HRC)

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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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