Welsh bird in serious trouble

No.:  2010-03-13
March 2010

The Ring Ouzel, one of the classic birds of Welsh uplands, is in serious trouble. In the 1970s it was estimated that there were around 500 breeding pairs of Ring Ouzels in Wales. A resurvey in 1999 estimated there to be no more than 400 pairs. Realistically, this figure could now stand at fewer than 100 pairs.

Ring Ouzel by Tommy Holden 

The future for Ring Ouzels in Wales looks
very bleak.

The Ring Ouzel looks like a Blackbird with a white collar. It has a penchant for crags and high places in Wales, England and Scotland. Various reasons for its decline have been suggested, ranging from loss of suitable habitat to hunting pressure on migration. Ring Ouzels spend the winter in the mountains of Morocco and Tunisia, fuelling up for their return journey on juniper berries.

Ring Ouzels arrive back in Wales at the end of March. To help raise awareness of the plight of the Ring Ouzel, TV Wildlife Presenter, Iolo Williams has made a video clip telling us about this special bird in Wales. Iolo commented, “The BTO’s Out of Africa project aims to help birds like the Ring Ouzel. Unless we can get to the bottom of the problems that this wonderful bird is facing, and address some of them, the future for Ring Ouzels in Wales looks very bleak, so please support this vital work.” To view the video clip, please visit http://www.bto.org/appeals/a2b/  

Ring Ouzel is just one of many summer migrants to the UK that have seen serious declines in the last twenty years. The British Trust for Ornithology has launched the Out of Africa appeal to help fund vital research into the pressures these birds face in Africa and on migration. For more information visit www.bto.org

Notes for Editors

  1. The Ring Ouzel is one of four Welsh specialties that are experiencing large declines. The other three are Wood Warbler, Pied Flycatcher and Redstart, which winter south of the Sahara.
  2. Iolo Williams is a well-known presenter of Welsh nature programmes and has been a member of the BTO for nearly thirty years. He is President of the Welsh Ornithological Society and was born and raised in Ring Ouzel country in mid-Wales.
  3. The Out of Africa appeal will fund a range of projects in Africa, where our migrants spend the winter. Two thirds of our summer visitors are in serious decline and it is vital we understand the pressures they face during the winter in Africa before we can begin to address these declines.
  4. The BTO is the UK’s leading bird research organization. Over thirty thousand birdwatchers contribute to the BTO’s surveys. They collect information that forms the basis of conservation action in the UK. The BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Norfolk and Stirling, who analyse and publicise the results of project work. The BTO’s investigations are funded by government, industry and conservation organisations.

Contact information 

Paul Stancliffe (BTO Press Officer)
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Email: press [at] bto.org

Graham Appleton (Director of Communications)
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Jeff Baker (Head of Marketing)
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Email: press [at] bto.org

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Please contact images [at] bto.org quoting reference 2010-03-13

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