Riverside Birds

Birds to look out for beside the river


There’s nothing like the thrill of spotting an iridescent flash of blue as a Kingfisher swoops over the river.  With its metallic copper breast and bright-blue back this is one of the country’s most colourful birds. You can tell the difference between a male and a female by their bills. Males have a completely black bill, whilst females have an orangey-red patch at the base. They like to perch on branches hanging over the river as they watch for fish below. You can see them all along the Wye. Its tributaries, like the Angidy at Tintern, are also good places to spot Kingfishers. They breed near water where there are banks which they can burrow into to build their nests.

Riverside Birds


They like fast-flowing stream water so a walk beside the Angidy or Whitebrook tributaries of the Wye often delivers a sighting of this bird, sitting on a stone in the stream and dipping or bobbing up and down.  The Angidy Valley has supported a good breeding population of dipper for many years, having a plentiful supply of underwater invertebrates, such a stonefly and caddis fly larvae which they feed on. The Dipper is easily recognized – chocolate-brown with a white throat and chest and a short tail.

Dipper bird

Other riverside birds to spot

Along the river you are pretty much guaranteed to see Mute Swans and Geese (often in large numbers), as well as Grey Herons, Cormorants and Goosander. You can see Sand Martins between March and October as they winter in Africa. Look out for sandy banks beside the river into which they dig burrows. They swoop over the river feeding on insects.

River Wye Swans

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