Birds of the Outer Hebrides - their status


Wildfowl photogallery Outer Hebrides

Mute Swan: Common in the southern isles with only a handful of individuals in Lewis. Nationally important numbers congregate on Loch Bee to moult.

Whooper Swan: A Common passage migrant in early sping and autumn with some over-wintering and small numbers over-summering. They have also occasionally bred although it is rare and normally only one or two pairs, if any.

Bewick's Swan: Very rare passage migrant.

Snow Goose: A rare migrant that has over-wintered.

White-fronted Goose: Two subspecies have occured in the islands; Greenland White-front which is a regular passage migrant in spring and autumn with small numbers wintering in at Loch Bee and Askernish, South Uist and at Arnol, Lewis. European White-fronted Goose is much rarer and has only been recorded on a handful of occasions with an influx in the winter 2011 / 12.

Lesser White-fronted Goose: One accepted record from Berneray.

Tundra Bean Goose: In 2011 / 12 the first Tundra Bean Geese were found in Ness by Loch Stiapabhat. An influx occurred that winter and birds belonging to this species (formerly classed as a subspecies until 2018) were also recorded in 2013 / 14.

Taiga Bean Goose: This has been the most regular of the bean geese found in the islands although they are rare or at least irregular.

Pink-footed Goose A common passage migrant in early spring and autumn with Lewis lying on the main migration line. Small numbers do winter with flocks of Greylags although they're generally scarce in the winter.

Greylag Goose: A common and increasing breeding species found throughout the year.

Cackling Goose: Small races of what was previously classified as Canada Goose are now given full species status. Birds resembling Richardson's Cackling Goose (hutchinsii) turn up with some regularity in spring and winter. Normally they are found associating with Barnacle Geese which acts as a carrier species from Greenland.

Canada Goose: Although not formally accepted (as of the end of 2018) larger birds fitting this species have been found in the islands between autumn and spring. Larger birds of the form (Branta canadensis canadensis) are occasional visitors from the feral populations on the mainland.

Barnacle Goose: Large numbers pass through in spring and autumn as birds head to and from Greenland. Around 7,000 winter in North Uist and smaller numbers around North Tolsta, Lewis.

Brent Goose: The pale-bellied (Greenland) subspecies is a common migrant with small numbers wintering in Barra and North Uist. The dark-bellied subspecies (bernicla) is a rare visitor whilst Black Brant is a vagrant with just two records; both in the spring of 2012.

Shelduck: A fairly common breeding species, especially in Uist with birds present all year round although in small numbers September - November.

Mandarin Duck: A scarce - rare visitor presumably from the wild Scottish breeding population.

Wigeon: A common winter visitor with notable concentrations around Loch Bee, South Uist. Increasing numbers also stay to breed in Uist.

American Wigeon: A scarce but regular visitor in small numbers. This North American duck occurs most years in Uist and may possibly have attempted to breed.

Gadwall: Small numbers can be found throughout the year in Uist with birds being more widespread on migration (especially April and October) although generally in small numbers. A few pairs breed in Benbecula and North Uist.

Teal: A fairly common breeding species and common - abundant winter visitor.

Green-winged Teal: A scarce but regular visitor.

Mallard: Common throughout the year.

Pintail: Uncommon passage migrant and winter visitor.

Garganey: Uncommon migrant which may occasionally breed.

Blue-winged Teal: Rare visitor from America.

Shoveler: Regular in small numbers with a few pairs breeding in Uist and Benbecula.

Red-crested Pochard: Very rare / vagrant

Pochard: A scarce winter visitor and passage migrant. Has become rarer since the Millenium.

Ring-necked Duck: A scarce but regular Trans-Atlantic visitor with at least one record most years. Some of these could include returning individuals.

Tufted Duck: A common winter visitor and breeding species.

Scaup: Regular passage migrant and winter visitor in small numbers.

Lesser Scaup: A rare American duck.

Eider: Common resident species.

King Eider: Very rare Arctic visitor.

Steller’s Eider: Vagrant, with a long staying individual at Vorran Island, South Uist during the 1980's.

Harlequin Duck: Very rare winter visitor.

Long-tailed Duck: Common in winter visitor along west coast of Uist, Sound of Harris, Sound of Taransay and in Broad Bay.

Common Scoter: Fairly common passage migrant and winter visitor with small, regular flocks seen to the west of Berneray and in the Sound of Taransay; although the largest gathering of 100+ is in Broad Bay, Lewis.

Surf Scoter: Scarce but regular visitor in small numbers, especially the Sound of Taransay

Bufflehead: Vagrant from America.

Goldeneye: Fairly common winter visitor.

Hooded Merganser: Vagrant, with one record from Oban Trumisgarry, North Uist and another from St. Kilda.

Smew: Very rare winter visitor.

Red-breasted Merganser: Common resident.

Goosander: Uncommon visitor.

Ruddy Duck: A scarce visitor unlikely to be seen due to eradication of most of escaped population.

grouse to herons photogallery

Red Grouse: Common on the moorland although often unobtrusive. Numbers are probably higher in Lewis than in Uist.

Ptarmigan: A record from the Harris hills could indicate a small population is resident or perhaps a rare visitor from the mainland or Skye.

Quail: An uncommon spring migrant that has probably bred. Has been seen as late as October in stubble areas of South Uist.

Corncrake: The Outer Hebrides combined with Coll and Tiree support over 70% of all the UK's breeding pairs. There are in the region of 480 - 510 calling males throughout the Outer Hebrides.

Red-throated Diver: The Outer Hebrides are nationally important for divers and the islands hold a number of sites designated for the number of breeding birds. These include the Lewis Peatlands and Mointeach Scadabhaigh in North Uist. Red-throated Divers breed on small lochans from where they make frequent flights to feeding areas, which are mostly coastal sites throughout the breeding season. In the winter many of the Red-throated Divers move further south although some remain throughout the year on the surrounding coast.

Black-throated Diver: About six times rarer as a breeding bird than Red-throated Diver. The islands hold a nationally important number of birds. They usually breed on small islands within larger lochs where they also find enough prey to sustain them and any young. In winter birds move to the coast and gather in favoured locations where they often hunt together. Regular wintering sites include the Sound of Barra, off Berie Sands, near Valtos, Lewis and north of the Braighe, just east of Stornoway.

Great Northern Diver: The islands are important as a wintering ground and moulting area for this species. Large numbers can be found in the sounds separating the islands although the largest gathering is in Broad Bay, Lewis (February - April). Small numbers remain throughout the summer although a recent trip in July recorded 100 to the north-west of Benbecula.

White-billed Diver: Formely a scarce visitor but now known to regularly gather to moult off the north-east of Lewis from the Butt and Tiumpan Head between February and April (some lingering into May). Up to 6 have been seen in one spring although numbers are normally smaller. Elsewhere generally scarce, although is ocassionally recorded migrating past Aird an Runair, North Uist and Rubha Ardvule in South Uist.

Black-browed Albatross: Vagrant

Fulmar: St. Kilda was the first known nesting site for this seabird in the UK. It holds a huge population with over 64,000 pairs. Elsewhere it is a common seabird although there are some signs of a contraction in the range with nesting pairs falling on Uist, Monachs and Haskeir. It can been seen year round but is most common during the summer and early autumn.

Zino's / Fea’s / Desertas Petrel: Vagrant with one record from Labost, Lewis in 2007.

Cory’s Shearwater: Rare passage migrant.

Great Shearwater: Normally a scarce passage migrant in August / September although an exceptional influx in 2007 saw the setting of a new maximum day count of 7,114 past the Butt of Lewis on 8th September. In more normal years only a handful of birds, are usually noted and some years are a complete blank although this may well reflect observer coverage, especially in Lewis.

Sooty Shearwater: A regular passage migrant (July - October) with large numbers sometimes seen off headlands such as Butt of Lewis or Griminish Point, North Uist.

Barolo's/ Boyd's/ Audobons Shearwater: Vagrant with one record from Ardvule, South Uist in 2018.

Manx Shearwater: A small number breed on St. Kilda but large numbers can often be seen from headlands between April - September. These birds are on feeding flights from the large colony on Rum. Outside this period they are rare as most birds move south and west to winter off the coast of Brazil.

Balearic Shearwater: A rare late summer / autumn visitor.

Wilson’s Petrel: Vagrant.

Storm Petrel: Found off-shore from May - October with stragglers into November. It is a fairly common bird although not always easy to see from the shore due their small size. The ferry routes between the mainland and the islands are probably the easiest ways of connecting with one. They breed on various offshore islands including North Rona and St. Kilda.

Leach's Petrel: The majority of the British population breed on St. Kilda where over 52,000 pairs nest. There are also smaller colonies on North Rona and the Flannan Isles. They can be seen off westerly headlands such as Rubha Ardvule, Griminish Point, Labost and the Butt of Lewis during westerly gales between May - October but especially September / October.

Gannet: St.Kilda holds 60,000 pairs nesting on Boreray where numbers appear to be stable. This was the largest colony in the World but has now been overtaken by Bass Rock where over 70,000 pairs nest. They also nest on Sula Sgeir and have recently colonised Barra Head. They are a common sight off the coast with large numbers seen passing headlands throughout the summer when taking feeding flights. Many head south during the autumn with few present during January although numbers start picking up again in February.

Cormorant: A common breeding resident.

Shag: Common breeding species found throughout the year with large concentrations in the Sound of Harris in winter.

Bittern: Very rare visitor to the islands.

American Bittern: Vagrant.

Little Bittern: Vagrant

Night Heron: Rare visitor.

Squacco Heron: Vagrant.

Cattle Egret: Very rare.

Little Egret: Scarce but regular visitor in both spring and autumn. Has occasionally over-wintered.

Great White Egret: Rare

Grey Heron: Fairly common in the southern isles, especially.

Purple Heron: Vagrant.

Black Stork: Very rare.

White Stork: Very rare.

Glossy Ibis: Mostly very rare but a recent influx during late autumn 2013 saw many birds recorded througout the islands. The exact number was difficult to ascertain due to movements but probably exceeded 20 individuals. Some of these hung on into 2014 but all had disappeared by February. Most records are in the late autumn and winter.

Spoonbill: Very rare visitor.

grebes to rails photogallery outer hebrides

Pied-billed Grebe: Very rare visitor from North America.

Little Grebe: Common in the southern isles but scarce in Lewis and Harris.

Great Crested Grebe: Rare visitor.

Red-necked Grebe: Scarce winter visitor and passage migrant.

Slavonian Grebe: Fairly common winter visitor.

Black-necked Grebe: Vagrant.

Honey Buzzard: Rare passage migrant.

Black Kite: Very rare.

Red Kite: Scarce visitor.

White-tailed Eagle: An increasing species and although generally a rare bird in the UK it is a regular sight throughout the main chain of islands.

Marsh Harrier: Scarce passage migrant.

Hen Harrier: Fairly common in Uist with around 30 breeding pairs. Rare breeder in Lewis although numbers enhanced in the autumn and winter by birds from outside our area.

Northern Harrier: Vargant from North America. One record of a young female from Barvas, Lewis from 8th February - 25th March 2011.

Montagu’s Harrier: Very rare.

Goshawk: Very rare.

Sparrowhawk: Fairly common passage migrant and breeder.

Buzzard: The commonest bird of prey.

Rough-legged Buzzard: A rare passage and winter visitor.

Golden Eagle: Around 20 pairs regularly nest in the southern isles whilst North Harris has one of the densest populations in Western Europe. The last full island survey found 100 pairs in the Outer Hebrides.

Osprey: Uncommon passage migrant that occasionally over-summers with Loch Bee - Loch Druidibeg being a favoursed location.

Kestrel: An uncommon breeder with the highest density of birds found in Uist and Benbecula.

Red-footed Falcon: Very rare visitor.

Merlin: Around 30 pairs breed in Uist whilst the Lewis Peatlands has one of the densest breeding populations known. Most easily observed in the southern isles during the winter when birds are frequently seen hunting on the machair.

Hobby: A scarce but possibly increasing visitor.

Eleonora’s Falcon: Vagrant with one record from Bornish, South Uist.

Gyrfalcon: Rare winter visitor.

Peregrine: Uncommon breeder that can be found throughout the main chain of islands. About seven pairs are found in Uist and Benbecula.

Water Rail: Widespread in winter when birds sometimes turn up in people's gardens. Some stay to breed although the extent and number of pairs breeding us unkown due their generally secretive behaviour. It is regularly heard giving display calls in Carinish and at Callernish, North Uist.

Spotted Crake: An uncommon migrant that is recorded most years singing in the southern isles, especially in May / June. Due to their secretive nature they are rarely seen here.

Sora: Vagrant from North America with one records in Ness in 1913.

Allen's Gallinule: A remarkable record concerns the corpse of this species found on Hirta, St. Kilda in March 2017.

Moorhen: Fairly common in Uist and localised in Lewis and Harris.

Coot: A scarce winter visitor although a declining, breeding population (10 birds) still exists on Coot Loch, Benbecula in 2014.

American Coot: Vagrant with 4 records; all since 2004.

Crane: An uncommon migrant; overwintered in 2017 / 18 on Berneray.

Waders of the Outer Hebrides Photogallery

Oystercatcher: A common resident which is enhanced further with breeding birds moving in during the early spring when they become a very common and noisy site around the coast.

Black-winged Stilt: Vagrant.

Avocet: Rare visitor.

Stone Curlew: Vagrant - 1st and only record was an individual near Loch Stiapabhat, Lewis in May 2014.

Collared Pratincole: Vagrant with one record from the Flannans.

Black-winged Pratincole: Vagrant with one record from Loch Stiapabhat, Lewis.

Little Ringed Plover: Very rare.

Ringed Plover: Common breeding species with nationally important numbers found on the Uist machair. It is abundant on passage in Uist and common in Lewis and Harris. Also found in good numbers during the winter, especially on the southern isles.

Semipalmated Plover: Vagrant with one record from South Glendale. The similarity to Ringed Plover which is abundant as a passage migrant makes picking out a stray individual very challenging; especially if silent.

Killdeer: Very rare trans-Atlantic visitor.

Kentish Plover: Vagrant with one over-wintering bird.

Greater Sand Plover: Vagrant with only record coming from Stinky Bay, Benbecula.

Dotterel: Uncommon but regular passage migrant, especially in early May. Autumn records are rare.

American Golden Plover: Small numbers are recorded, especially in the autumn although is occasionally seen in spring and what was probably an over-summering, immature bird was seen on the Monachs.

Pacific Golden Plover: Very rare visitor.

Golden Plover: Very common passage migrant with good numbers breeding, especially on the Lewis Peatlands. Many stay to winter on machair areas in Ness and the southern isles.

Grey Plover: Fairly common in the southern isles, August to May but uncommon in Lewis and Harris. Wintering birds concentrate on the South Ford, around Baleshare and between Malaclate - Grenitote in North Uist. The first returning birds are seen in July when they are often in full summer plumage.

Lapwing: Common breeding bird on the machair and semi-improved grassland. Nationally important numbers occur in Uist. Also found throughout the winter in machair areas.

Knot: Fairly common passage migrant and winter visitor with birds concentrated on the South Ford and off Grenitote or Malaclate in North Uist.

Sanderling: Common - abundant passage migrant and winter visitor. Small numbers of non-breeding birds remain through the summer.

Semipalmated Sandpiper: Rare North American visitor with most records in autumn although there are three recent spring records. Recorded most years during the last decade.

Western Sandpiper: Vagrant with one accepted record from Aird an Runair in 2016.

Little Stint: Uncommon but regular migrant in both spring and autumn with the majority being juveniles in autumn.

Temminck’s Stint: Very rare visitor.

Least Sandpiper: Vagrant with one record of a bird photographed at the Butt of Lewis, October 2007.

White-rumped Sandpiper: An uncommon autumn visitor and very rare in spring.

Baird's Sandpiper: Rare autumn visitor.

Pectoral Sandpiper: Regular in small numbers in autumn and occasionally in spring. Numbers vary from year to year with upwards of 20 in a good autumn.

Curlew Sandpiper: Uncommon passage migrant in spring and autumn. It is more regular in autumn although numbers vary each and depend on the success of breeding (as the majority of visitors are juveniles) and possibly the frequency of easterly winds.

Stilt Sandpiper: Vagrant.

Purple Sandpiper: A fairly common winter visitor in the southern isles where over 1,300 over-winter. Generally found in numbers from October - early May but can rarely be seen during the summer. The birds wintering in Uist are thought to breed on Baffin Island.

Dunlin: Common throughout the year and abundant in coastal areas, especially the southern isles in spring and autumn. Nationally important numbers breed in Uist on and adjacent to the machair whilst Lewis Peatlands also hold good numbers.

Broad-billed Sandpiper: Very rare.

Buff-breasted Sandpiper: An uncommon migrant mostly occurring in autumn. The Outer Hebrides are one of the best places in the UK for seeing this North American wader.

Ruff: Fairly common passage migrant; mainly in the autumn when small groups may be found together or associating with Golden Plover. It is much scarcer in spring although regular and has probably attempted to breed.

Jack Snipe: Uunder recorded due to secretive feeding habits. A passage migrant and winter visitor.

Snipe: Common passage migrant and breeder. Large numbers pass through in autumn although few remain throughout the whole winter.

Great Snipe: Very rare with no recent records.

Long-billed Dowitcher: Rare with most records in autumn.

Woodcock: Common winter visitor.

Black-tailed Godwit: Common passage migrant, especially in April and July - October. Very scarce in winter.

Bar-tailed Godwit: Common winter visitor with non-breeders remaining throughout the summer.

Hudsonian Whimbrel: Vagrant with just one record from Bornish, South Uist.

Whimbrel: Common passage migrant with large numbers encountered in early May especially. Breeds in small numbers but has declined; at least in North Uist.

Curlew: Common winter visitor and possibly increasing breeding species.

Upland Sandpiper: Vagrant from North America.

Common Sandpiper: A common summer visitor (April - July). Numbers quickly fall off from early August although occasional birds might be recorded into October.

Spotted Sandpiper: Rare visitor from North America.

Green Sandpiper: Scarce passage migrant; mostly in the autumn.

Solitary Sandpiper: Very rare visitor from North America.

Spotted Redshank: Rare visitor, mostly in the autumn although has over-wintered.

Greater Yellowlegs: Vagrant.

Greenshank: Fairly common breeding species also found throughout the winter at coastal inlets.

Lesser Yellowlegs: Rare passage migrant with most records during the autumn although occasionally seen in spring.

Marsh Sandpiper: Very rare with an exceptional over-wintering record from North Uist in 2013 / 14.

Wood Sandpiper: A scarce passage migrant in spring and autumn with birds very occasionally holding territory.

Redshank: Very common and seen throughout the year. A common breeding species that is apparently increasing.

Turnstone: Very common passage migrant and winter visitor. Small numbers of non-breeding birds over-summer.

Wilson's Phalarope: Very rare visitor from North America.

Red-necked Phalarope: A rare breeding species with only a handful of birds any given year. Scarce spring passage migrant and very rare in autumn.

Grey Phalarope: An uncommon autumn passage migrant most likely picked up after westerly gales. Scarce in winter after gales.

Skuas, gulls and terns photogalery Outer Hebrides

Pomarine Skua: Numbers vary from year to year depending on the prevailing weather conditions but in a good spring thousands may pass western headlands during April / May. Birds may be seen as early as March and small numbers are picked up in autumn when heading south. Aird an Runair in North Uist usually records the highest counts in spring although they are also seen at Rubha Ardvule and Mangersta Head, Lewis. Flocks have also been recorded passing up the Minch in spring.

Arctic Skua: Small numbers breed at various scattered sites with a few pairs annually on North Uist and Benbecula. The are common on spring passage and frequent in autumn.

Long-tailed Skua: The Outer Hebrides and Aird an Runair in particular is one of the best, if not the best location in the UK to see a northerly passage in spring. Numbers are dependent on the movement of low pressure systems with winds are from the west to north-west accompanied by squally showers normally producing the best passage. They are also recorded at other sea-watching sites and are more likely to head overland than Pomarine Skuas so could be picked up virtually anywhere during a strong spring passage. Autumn movements are very small with only a handful of birds recorded any given year.

Great Skua: A common breeding species, mainly on off-shore islands such as Mingulay, St. Kilda and North Rona although it also breeds on Lewis. Northerly passage starts in March and birds are seen into October with the chance of seeing a stray individual at virtually any time of year although generally they are scarce or rare outside the March - October window.

Ivory Gull: Very rare winter visitor.

Sabine's Gull: An uncommon passage migrant in the autumn and rare in spring. Rubha Ardvule, South Uist; Griminish Point, North Uist, Labost and the Butt of Lewis are all good locations to look for this species during westerly gales in late August - early October. Occasionally birds may linger at a site.

Kittiwake: Breeds mostly on off-shore islands although small colonies are also found at Tiumpan Head and the Butt of Lewis. Has declined dramatically in last decade. Common on passage and present in small numbers throughout the winter.

Bonaparte's Gull: A rare visitor with most records in the winter and spring although immatures have also been located during the summer.

Black-headed Gull: A common summer visitor and breeding species. In winter numbers vary but some are usually noted with the highest concentrations normally around Ardivachar - Balgarva, South Uist.

Little Gull: An uncommon passage migrant.

Ross's Gull: Vagrant.

Laughing Gull: A rare visitor that may turn up virtually anywhere.

Franklin's Gull: Vagrant.

Mediterranean Gull: A scarce visitor.

Common Gull: Very common breeding species found throughout the year.

Ring-billed Gull: An uncommon passage migrant that occasionally may over-winter.

Lesser Black-backed Gull: A fairly common passage migrant and breeding species. Found from March - October with stragglers outside this period.

Herring Gull: Very common throughout the year.

Yellow-legged Gull: Rare migrant.

Azorean Yellow-legged Gull: Vagrant; a record from Barra in 2005 became the first accepted record for UK.

American Herring Gull: Rare visitor.

Iceland Gull: Uncommon winter visitor with numbers varying quite widely from one year to the next.

Glaucous Gull: An uncommon winter visitor. Numbers, as with previous species vary from year to year and appear to depend on the frequency of storms from the north-west.

Great Black-backed Gull: Common throughout the year.

Little Tern: An uncommon summer visitor with small numbers breeding at various sites from Lewis to South Uist.

Gull-billed Tern: Very rare visitor.

Caspian Tern: Very rare visitor.

Whiskered Tern: Very rare with three records; April 2011, June 2014 and September 2019.

Black Tern: Rare passage migrant.

American Black Tern: Vagrant with one record from North Bay, South Uist in November.

White-winged Black Tern: A rare passage migrant.

Sandwich Tern: Uncommon migrant.

Common Tern: A fairly common migrant and breeding species.

Roseate Tern: Very rare visitor.

Arctic Tern: A common summer breeder that can be very common on spring passage. Colonies are scattered throughout the islands although much reduced since 1990 with regular poor breeding seasons and occasional colony failures. Suffered from predation from introduced mink but should hopefully benefit from their eradication. Has been slightly more successful in recent years.

Auks to crows photogallery Outer Hebrides

Guillemot: Very common breeder, mainly on off-shore islands although also found at Tiumpan Head.

BrĂ¼nnich’s Guillemot: Vagrant from the Arctic.

Razorbill: An abundant breedings species with large colonies on Mingulay and Barra Head; as well as elsewhere on off-shore islands.

Black Guillemot: A common breeding species that remains throughout the winter in small numbers.

Little Auk: An uncommon autumn and winter visitor that is normally only seen after storms from the west - north have driven birds in-shore.

Puffin: Abundant as a breeding species on island colonies such as Mingulay and the Shiants. Easily seen from Tiumpan Head and Butt of Lewis but uncommon off the west side of Uist. Generally present April - early August.

Pallas’s Sandgrouse: Vagrant with no recent records.

Rock Dove / Feral Pigeon: The islands are said to hold one of the few viable populations of genuine Rock Doves in the UK although unusually marked birds are sometimes seen.

Stock Dove: Scarce visitor.

Woodpigeon: Common around Stornoway and recently started breeding in Ben Risary Plantation, North Uist. Not present in winter in Uist but increasing in spring / summer.

Collared Dove: Common resident with migrants also found on the outer isles e.g. North Rona. Mingulay.

Turtle Dove: Scarce migrant in both spring and autumn.

Mourning Dove: Vagrant with two records; both from North Uist.

Great Spotted Cuckoo: Vagrant.

Cuckoo: Fairly common migrant and breeding species, parasitising Meadow Pipits.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo: Vagrant with two records; one of a fresh corpse from North Bay, South Uist in November and another just about alive at South Dell in September 2016.

Black-billed Cuckoo: The first for the Outer Hebrides and first spring record for the UK was near Bayhead, May 2016.

Barn Owl: Rare visitor.

Scops Owl: Vagrant from southern Europe.

Snowy Owl: Rare but regular sightings.

Tawny Owl: Vagrant.

Long-eared Owl: Uncommon breeding species.

Short-eared Owl: Common breeding species in Uist but scarce in Lewis where it occurs as an autumn migrant. Scarce in winter.

Nightjar: Vagrant with just one confirmed record of a bird in Askernish, South Uist in September..

Swift: Uncommon visitor.

Pallid Swift: One record from Loch Stiapabhat, May 2017.

Alpine Swift: Very rare visitor.

White-throated Needletail: Vagrant with two records; the first in June 2013 from Harris unfortunately collided with a small wind turbine and died. The second bird was seen on Barra in June 2017.

Chimney Swift: Vagrant; first and only record was of one at the Butt of Lewis, October 2014.

Kingfisher: Rare visitor.

Bee-eater: Very rare visitor.

Roller: Vagrant with one record from Barra.

Hoopoe: Scarce spring and autumn migrant with most records from the spring.

Wryneck: Quite a rare migrant.

Great Spotted Woodpecker: Very rare.

Eastern Kingbird: Vagrant with one record for the UK from Barra in 2016.

Red-eyed Vireo: Very rare trans-Atlantic visitor.

Golden Oriole: Scarce but regular migrant in both spring and autumn.

Brown Shrike: Vagrant with single records from North Uist, Barra and Ness, Lewis.

Daurian / Turkestan Shrike: Vagrant with one, probably belonging to the now separated Turkestan Shrike from Lewis and more recently one that appears to be a Daurian Shrike from Barra in 2018.

Red-backed Shrike: Rare passage visitor.

Long-tailed Shrike: Vagrant with a single record from Howmore, South Uist being the sole British record.

Lesser Grey Shrike: Vagrant

Great Grey Shrike: Very rare

Woodchat Shrike: Rare

Chough: Extinct as a breeding species and not recorded in the islands for many years.

Jackdaw: Breeds in Stornoway but otherwise a a scarce winter visitor.

Rook: Breeds around Stornoway but otherwise a scarce winter visitor.

Carrion Crow: A scarce visitor, not recorded every year.

Hooded Crow: Common and increasing.

Raven: The commonest corvid in the islands with large gatherings at a roost in the Castle Grounds, Stornoway.

Crests to dipper photogallery Outer Hebrides

Goldcrest: Common in coniferous plantations and almost anywhere as a migrant in spring and especially autumn.

Firecrest: Rare autumn visitor that has attempted to over-winter.

Ruby-cronwed Kinglet: One record of this North American species from Barra in November 2021 (First for UK).

Blue Tit: Common in the Castle Grounds, Stornoway but a rare visitor in the southern isles.

Great Tit: Mostly a scarce spring visitor although at least one pair has bred in the Castle Grounds, Stornoway from 2013.

Coal Tit: Fairly common in Lewis, especially around Stornoway; rare in the southern isles.

Long-tailed Tit: Scrace visitor away from Stornoway where it has bred in the Castle Grounds recently.

Bearded Tit: Vagrant with one record from Balgarva, May 2019.

Calandra Lark: Vagrant with one record from St. Kilda, September 1994 and another from Paiblesgarry, June 2019.

Short-toed Lark: Rare visitor which exceptionally set up territory in South Uist in 2014.

Woodlark: Very rare.

Skylark: A common and widespread breeder with large numbers gathering on the Uist machair in winter.

Shore Lark: Very rare visitor.

Horned Lark: There is one record of this North American race of Shorelark from Askernish, South Uist.

Sand Martin: An increasing species with birds now regularly nesting in the southern isles. Uncommon in Lewis and Harris.

Purple Martin: Extreme vagrant with one record from the Butt of Lewis; the sole British record.

Swallow: A fairly common passage migrant and breeding species.

House Martin: An uncommon passage migrant that has occasionally bred.

Red-rumped Swallow: Rare migrant.

Arctic Warbler: Vert rare autumn visitor with just three records.

Greenish Warbler: Not recorded until 2014 when there was a surge of records in the autumn and one singing bird in the spring at North Loch Eynort, South Uist. Another spring, singing adult was has since been recorded on Eriskay.

Pallas’s Warbler: Very rare visitor from the Far East.

Yellow-browed Warbler: Uncommon - scrarce autumn migrant although records generally increasing.

Dusky Warbler: Vagrant from the Far East.

Wood Warbler: Scarce passage migrant.

Western Bonelli's Warbler: One confirmed record from Barra in September 2019.

Chiffchaff: Regular in spring and common autumn migrant; occasionally attempts to over-winter.

Iberian Chiffchaff: Vagrant with one record from South Glendale, South Uist and one from Barra.

Willow Warbler: Common passage migrant and breeder in suitable habitat e.g. North Loch Eynort and the Castle Grounds.

Blackcap: Breeds in the Castle Grounds in Lewis but otherwise a passage migrant in spring and autumn. Late autumn is peak time with small numbers attempting to over-winter.

Garden Warbler: Uncommon passage migrant.

Barred Warbler: Scarce autumn visitor.

Lesser Whitethroat: Fairly scarce passage migrant in spring and autumn.

Whitethroat: An uncommon breeding migrant.

Subalpine Warbler: Both Western and Eastern have been recorded although both are rare.

Moltoni's Warbler: Vagrant with the first for the UK coming from St. Kilda and much more recently a one day bird at Balranald.

Sardinian Warbler: Very rare visitor from the Mediterranean.

Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler: Asian vagrant with one record from St. Kilda.

Grasshopper Warbler: An uncommon passage migrant that occasionally breeds.

Cetti’s Warbler: Extreme vagrant with one record from Barra in October 2014. Only other Scottish record concerns a dead bird in Lothian.

Booted Warbler: Very rare with a record from Barra and another from North Uist.

Icterine Warbler: Rare passage migrant.

Melodious Warbler: Rare passage migrant.

Sedge Warbler: A fairly common summer visitor with birds found from late April - September with stragglers into October.

Paddyfield Warbler: Very rare autumn migrant with one record from Barra.

Blyth’s Reed Warbler: Very rare although apparently increasing.

Marsh Warbler: Rare migrant mostly in atumn although sometimes in song in spring.

Reed Warbler: Rare migrant.

Waxwing: Scarce passage migrant that can be relatively common during large eruptions which occur periodically.

Treecreeper: A scrace autumn migrant with a few pairs breeding in the Castle Grounds, Stornoway.

Wren: The Hebridean subspecies is common throughout the islands. It is darker than the mainland form whilst the St. Kilda subspecies is much paler and larger than those found throughout the rest of the islands.

Starling: Common resident sub-species breeds in good number whilst in winter we probably also receive visitors from Northern Europe.

Rose-coloured Starling: Scarce passage migrant that periodically experiences influxes into the UK. Usually found between May - October.

Dipper: Resident and found along suitable rivers in Lewis and Harris. It also occurs in small numbers in South Uist and has turned up as a migrant on Barra.

Thrushes to pipits Outer Hebrdies photogallery

White's Thrush: Very rare autumn visitor from the Far East.

Hermit Thrush: Vagrant with first two records in October 2010 and a third in October 2014.

Swainson's Thrush: Vagrant from North America.

Grey-cheeked Thrush: Vagrant from USA.

Veery: A North American vagrant with one record from Clachan Farm, North Uist.

Ring Ouzel: A scrace passage migrant.

Blackbird: Common resident and migrant visitor.

Eye-browed Thrush: Vagrant from the Far East with one record from St. Kilda.

Fieldfare: Common autumn migrant with usually small numbers over-wintering.

Song Thrush: Common in suitable habitat with numbers enhanced by continental migrants in spring and autumn. The Hebridean subspecies occurs throughout the year and is generally darker above than mainland forms.

Redwing: Common passage migrant and winter visitor.

Mistle Thrush: Uncommon passage migrant.

American Robin: Vagrant from North America.

Spotted Flycatcher: An uncommon passage migrant with a few pairs nesting the Castle Grounds, Stornoway.

Robin: Fairly common breeding species more widespread in winter.

Red-flanked Bluetail: Very rare with one record from west Lewis and another from Barra.

Thrush Nightingale: Very rare visitor.

Nightingale: Very rare visitor.

Bluethroat: Rare spring and autumn migrant.

Red-breasted Flycatcher: Scarce passage migrant, mainly in autumn although also occasionally in spring.

Collared Flycatcher: Vagrant from eastern Europe.

Pied Flycatcher: Uncommon passage migrant, mainly in the autumn.

Black Redstart: Uncommon passage migrant.

Redstart: Uncommon passage migrant.

Rock Thrush: Vagrant from Southern Europe.

Whinchat: Uncommon passage migrant that has bred in Lewis.

Siberian / Stejneger's Stonechat: Very rare with just one record from Port of Ness, Lewis.

Stonechat: Common resident breeder although numbers fall after a cold winter.

Wheatear: Common summer visitor from April - October with the first being recorded in March and the latest November. Also common passage migrant with the slightly larger Greenland race noted.

Black-eared Wheatear: Vagrant from southern Europe.

Dunnock: The Hebridean subspecies is found throughout the islands and is fairly common. Numbers appear to increase during the winter when presumably birds from further afield take advantage of the milder climate.

House Sparrow: A common resident which is known to move locally.

Tree Sparrow: Scarce visitor with a handful breeding in Port of Ness (2013 / 2014).

Yellow Wagtail: A scarce passage migrant. Various races have been recorded although the most regular is probably Blue-headed Wagtail which breeds from southern Scandinavia to France and the British race. Grey-headed Wagtail which breeds from Scandinavia east to north-west Siberia has also been recorded whilst Black-headed Wagtail is a vagrant with one record from St. Kilda in 2018.

Citrine Wagtail: Rare but apparently increasing passage migrant with most records in autumn.

Grey Wagtail: Scarce migrant with small numbers breeding in Lewis.

Pied Wagtail: A fairly common breeding species although scarce in winter with most birds moving south. Birds return around March when the continental sub-species known as White Wagtail are also found on their way to Iceland. White Wagtail are generally seen March / April and August / September although they also occasionally breed or hybridise with Pied Wagtails.

Richard’s Pipit: A rare autumn migrant.

Tawny Pipit: Very rare migrant.

Olive-backed Pipit: Rare autumn migrant.

Tree Pipit: Scarce passage migrant in spring and autumn.

Pechora Pipit: Vagrant with one record of this Asian species from North Uist and a second from Barra in 2018.

Meadow Pipit: Abundant in summer but scrace to uncommon in winter.

Red-throated Pipit: Rare passage migrant.

Rock Pipit: Common around the coast.

Scandinavian Rock Pipit: Scarce winter visitor but almost certainly overlooked due to difficulty in distinguishing this species from regular Rock Pipit in winter.

Buff-bellied Pipit: Very rare autumn migrant.

Finches to buntings of Outer Hebrides photogallery

Chaffinch: Common winter visitor and passage migrant with birds breeding around plantations at various sites.

Brambling: Fairly common passage migrant.

Greenfinch: Common

Goldfinch: Fairly common and increasing species with a few pairs breeding from 2012.

Siskin: Usually an uncommon migrant although occasionally in large numbers duriing eruptions.

Linnet: An increasing species with regular breeding in small numbers in the small isles.

Twite: Fairly common breeding species occuring in large numbers on the machair of the southern isles in winter.

Lesser Redpoll: Sometimes treated as a separate species but probably best regarded as a subspecies of Common Redpoll.

Common Redpoll: Regular passage migrant in autumn and spring.

Hornemann’s Arctic Redpoll: Rare autumn migrant from Greenland / Arctic Canada.

Coue’s Arctic Redpoll: Rare autumn / winter visitor from Northern Europe.

Two-barred Crossbill: Very rare visitor that also experiences periodic irruptions although these are much rarer than in Common Crossbill. The last and most extensive was in 2019 when at least 10 birds were recorded including a flock of 7 at Langass Wood, North Uist in October / November.

Common Crossbill: Numbers vary greatly although may be common in irruption years. May be seen in virtually any month but mostly absent.

Parrot Crossbill: Very rare visitor.

Trumpeter Finch: Vagrant with one record from North Rona.

Common Rosefinch: Scarce passage migrant, mainly in autumn although small numbers are occasionally recorded in spring including birds in song.

Bullfinch: Rare visitor that isn't recorded most years. One or two birds over-wintered after an influx of birds from an eastern population invaded in late autumn 2004.

Hawfinch: Scarce passage visitor in both spring and autumn.

Evening Grosbeak: Extreme vagrant with one record from St. Kilda.

Snow Bunting: Fairly common winter visitor and passage migrant. Sometimes concentrations of over 200 birds can be found on the Uist machair.

Lapland Bunting: Regular passage migrant that sometimes over-winters in small numbers.

Scarlet Tanager: Vagrant. The first Scottish record was a 1st winter male that was found at Brehvig, Barra in October 2014.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak: Extreme vargant with two records; one from North Uist and the other from Barra.

White-throated Sparrow: Vagrant.

White-crowned Sparrow: Vagrant with one record from Ness, Lewis in May 2016 (same time as the spring Black-billed Cuckoo).

Dark-eyed Junco: Vagrant.

Pine Bunting: Vagrant with one record from North Uist in November 2005.

Yellowhammer: Rare visitor.

Ortolan Bunting: Very rare and not likely to increase due to declining European population.

Rustic Bunting: Rare migrant in both spring and autumn.

Little Bunting: Rare autumn migrant.

Yellow-breasted Bunting: Vagrant with one record from St. Kilda.

Reed Bunting: Fairly common breeding species with perhaps an increase in winter when birds gather around livestock feeding sites.

Black-headed Bunting: Very rare.

Corn Bunting: The isolated island population is rapdily declining with probably no more than 40 territorial males in 2014 compared with 110 in 2005. Was widespread throughout the islands but declined with change in agricultural practices.

Bobolink: Extreme vagrant.

Baltimore Oriole: Vagrant with one record of this North American species from Gramsdale, Benbecula and a second from Barra in 2018.

Ovenbird: Extreme vagrant with one record from Barra.

Tennessee Warbler: Extreme vagrant.

Hooded Warbler: Extreme vagrant with one record from St. Kilda.

American Redstart: Extreme vagrant from North America with one record from Barra in September 2017.

Wilson's Warbler: Extreme vagrant with one record from Port of Ness in October 2015.

Blackburnian Warbler: Vagrant with one record from St. Kilda and just two others from UK.

Yellow Warbler: North American vargant with one record from Barra.

Blackpoll Warbler: North American vagrant.

Myrtle Warbler / Yellow-rumped Warbler: Extreme vagrant with 3 records of this trans-Atlantic waif; typically in late autumn two records for North and one for South Uist.