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Bird identification videos

Ruff. Photograph by Ed Drewitt
Featured video

Identifying Ruff

Ruff, with their variable size and plumage, often present identification issues. However, by learning how to recognise Ruff in their various guises through this video, you’ll be able to pick them out with confidence, and have a great reference point for identifying other similar-looking waders.

Ruff. Photograph by Ed Drewitt

Identifying Ruff

Ruff, with their variable size and plumage, often present identification issues. However, by learning how to recognise Ruff in their various guises through this video, you’ll be able to pick them out with confidence, and have a great reference point for identifying other similar-looking waders.

Herring Gull. Photograph by Edmund Fellowes

Identifying Common & Herring Gull

Love them or hate them, you can't (or shouldn't) ignore gulls. Build up your gull ID skills by learning to recognise two ideal reference species from this versatile and varied family: Common Gull and Herring Gull.

Corn Bunting. Photograph by John Harding

Identifying farmland buntings

Yellowhammer, Cirl and Corn Bunting all breed in farmland in western Europe, and can all present identification challenges. This video guide will help you to learn how to distinguish them using various plumage features, behaviours, vocalisations and more.

Reed Bunting. Photograph by Liz Cutting

Identifying winter buntings

If you find brown, streaky buntings hard to identify, this workshop is for you. Using video footage, still photographs and sound recordings we highlight the differences between four species of bunting that can be found in coastal areas in winter: Reed, Little, Snow and Lapland Buntings.

Mandarin Duck. Photograph by Neil Calbrade

Identifying Mandarin and Wood Duck

Despite being non-native, these stunningly beautiful birds are commonly encountered and can cause confusion. Mandarins are frequent and breeding in the wild with a well-established population. Wood Duck, commonly kept in collections, can also be found. Breeding Wood Duck have occurred although the species is probably not established. Males are easy to identify but the females are confusingly similar.

Golden Eagle. Photograph by Sarah Kelman

Identifying Eagles

Eagles are simply magnificent, and the assumption is that they will be easy to identify. But distant views of birds can lead to confusion with Buzzard, and now we have to consider two species of eagle - Golden and White-tailed. Here we look at how you can confidently separate all three species of large raptor.

Teal. Photograph by Edmund Fellowes

Identifying Garganey and Teal

Garganey are small, striking ducks, but they are scarce and secretive summer visitors. They can turn up anywhere on passage and whilst the males are easy to identify the females and young birds are similar to the familiar Teal. This video helps you pick out Garganey from the crowd.

Coot. Photograph by Sarah Kelman

Identifying Coot and Moorhen

Familiar waterbirds to many but have you ever struggled to tell the difference between Moorhen and Coot? You are not alone! Often found together they can cause ID headaches, especially when young birds are encountered.

Red-legged Partridge. Photograph by Jill Pakenham

Identifying partridges

Partridges are small, dumpy gamebirds found in lowland habitats. Alongside our UK native species, there is a second that has been introduced for shooting. This workshop video will help you tell the two apart.

Linnet. Photograph by Edmund Fellowes

Identifying Linnet and Twite

Linnets are familiar birds, but their scarcer cousins Twite are always a good find. Either on their usually remote breeding grounds in northern and western Britain, or around our coasts in winter, picking Twite out from Linnets can be a real ID headache. Let this workshop help you do that with confidence.

Storm Petrel. Photograph by Joe Pender

Identifying Petrels

Petrels are seldom-seen, unfamiliar birds to many of us, but both species: Storm Petrel and Leach's Petrel are actually very common breeding birds and frequently encountered off our shores during passage. Both are small black and white birds that seem to defy the rough seas they are often encountered in. How can we tell the two species apart?

Tufted Duck by Edwyn Anderton

Identifying diving ducks

Dabbling ducks are so familiar, but there is also a group of common ducks that actively dive on freshwater for food. One or other is likely to be encountered on still or moving freshwater or even at sea so let this workshop help you to decide which diving duck you are seeing.

Peregrine. Photograph by Dennis Atherton

Identifying Peregrine Falcon

A truly iconic species, tales of Peregrine stoop speeds and its claim to be the fastest bird on Earth are familiar, but how do you identify it? Now recovering from years of persecution and pesticide-related poisoning, Peregrines can once more be found across the country, even in our towns and cities but how do you pick them out from our other falcons?

Bar-tailed Godwit. Photograph by Tom Wallis

Identifying Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwit

Godwits are large, elegant waders and relatively common in the right habitats at certain times of year. The two commonly encountered species, Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwit, should be reasonably straightforward to separate, although their eponymous tail markings may not always be the easiest feature to use! Some birds such as juveniles or out of context lone birds can prove more problematic, however, and this workshop will help you to confidently identify both species.

Mallard. Photograph by John Harding

Identifying female dabbling ducks

Ducks are usually easy to identify, but the females can be more challenging. Many of our familiar dabbling ducks have subtly-plumaged brown females which, on first glance, appear similar. This workshop will help you tell them apart with confidence.

Yellow Wagtail. Photograph by Paul Hillion

Identifying yellow-coloured wagtails

When is a yellow wagtail not a Yellow Wagtail? These bright-coloured summer visitors are declining across much of their range and a frequent mistake is believing that any wagtail showing yellow in its plumage is this species.

This video will help you separate individuals from the more widespread resident Grey Wagtail - which despite the name always shows yellow, and even juvenile Pied Wagtails.

Ringed Plover. Photograph by Edmund Fellowes

Identifying Ringed Plovers

A handsome little wader, with dapper plumage, runs along in front of you, pausing to daintily pick up morsels of food as it goes. Is this a Ringed Plover, or its less common summer-visiting cousin the Little Ringed Plover? This video workshop will guide you towards the most important differences between these two similar species to enable you to confidently tell them apart.

Cuckoo. Photograph by Edmund Fellowes

Identifying Cuckoo

Cuckoos are well-known birds, but their distinctive and eagerly awaited song can be confused with several other species. Despite their popularity, Cuckoos are rarely seen and, when they are, can easily be mistaken for a bird of prey. Let us help you pick out this iconic bird that was once believed to turn into a Sparrowhawk in the winter - neatly explaining it's silence and disappearance outside the breeding season.

Black-necked Grebe. Photograph by Graham Catley

Identifying small breeding Grebes

Small grebes in summer are gloriously-coloured birds, but two of the three species are unfamiliar to most. Poor light or frequently encountered partially moulted birds can also cause some identification headaches. Let us help you separate these beautiful birds.

Whooper Swan. Photograph by Jill Pakenham

Identifying winter swans

Every winter thousands of Whooper Swans from Iceland and Bewick’s Swans from Arctic Russia migrate into UK and Ireland to spend the winter here. Telling these two black and yellow-billed swans apart can be tricky. Here we help you to separate these wild northern swans.

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