Bird Watching Cornwall

Amazing Birds To See In Cornwall

Cornwall is a haven for bird watching and our Cornwall Holiday Cottages are a brilliant place to admire them; the Atlantic ocean surrounds our beautiful county. This brings countless varieties of migratory birds through our landscape, often with unusual, unexpected visitors that have been blown off course or numerous other reasons, and they end up staying in Cornwall for a short period.

Our southwest position within the UK means the climate is warmer throughout the year and has a vast range of environments that inhabit all types of birds. Below are some of my favourite birds that live in and visit Cornwall and Restronguet Creek.

Grey Heron

A truly elegant bird that has a large, pale grey and white body that glides effortlessly through the sky. They are frequently seen on the seashore standing motionless- waiting for breakfast, lunch and dinner, frequently seen standing in a group along the creek edge and they look like they are playing musical statues.

Mute Swan

These royal and beautiful birds pair up for life, the adults are completely white with black legs and an orange bill with a large black knob at the base and the female bird is slightly smaller. During the breeding season, they make noises of hissing and grunting showing aggression, however, this is just them being protective. A fantastic sight is when a couple make a heart shape with their necks when they have paired up. Finally, when the swans are in flight their wings make a throbbing sound and it is an incredible sight to see and hear.

Canada Geese
Strong powerful birds which flock together which can be extremely noisy, they are buff, brown colour with a blackhead broken only by a white chin patch and when they take flight as a group the geese will be often seen flying in a V-formation.

These are goose-like water birds, where the adults are black with a white face and have a white flank patch in the summer with a yellow bill, they are scuba divers of the sea as you will see while watching these birds will emerge from their dive first hunting for food, a great game is to watch them dive and guess where they will come up again.


The common ducks which are frequently found along the coastline. The male is more colourful with a green head separated from chocolate, brown breast and a white neck ring, it’s back and wings are pale greys and the female is brown with a blue and white bar on its wings. With a distinctive quack, it is wonderful to watch them crack on with their business.

The male is the more colourful bird with its long tail with a green head and red eye patch, they are majestic birds with a wary personality and they look like they could belong in the Jurassic era, and the female is a simple brown colour. They are often seen near the hedges and in the country fields, during the winter months, pheasants often wander into the gardens looking for food.

Cornwall is full of different types of owls, the two most common at Restronguet are the Screech Owls and the Barn Owls. The Barn Owl has a heart-shaped face and brown back with a white breast, they often live in unused buildings. The Screech Owl is a lot smaller but makes a piercing sound – almost like the sound of cats fighting.

House Martin
A much-loved summer visitor of Cornwall- amazingly arriving like clockwork once a year, they can be found in mud nests on the outside of buildings with a tiny entrance hole. They are often distinguished by it’s blue/ black back, white rump, short tail and all-white underparts, and spends much of its time flying collecting insect prey, and beautiful sight to watch them go to and fro from their nests.

A glorious summer resident of Cornwall spends a vast majority of time on the wing and can be spotted anywhere from well-populated areas to deserted countryside dwellings, often seen moving like a dark torpedo shape in the sky partly due to its scythe shaped wings and forked tails with its simple dark brown plumage with a small patch of white around the head. One of the favourite parts of watching swifts is when they fly in large parties screaming letting everyone around how versatile and skilful in the air during the summer evenings.

A true sign spring has arrived is when the swallow enters back into our environment, like many other aerial feeders they can be seen in any situation from the quietest garden to the busy urban environments, often seen nesting on the side of buildings, barns. However, when they are building their mud nests or flying to and from it, they can often be seen chatting away on telegraph wires while also cleaning themselves before swooping away on another feeding trip. The swallows can be identified by their size, pointed wings and long tail length in comparison to Swifts and House Martins which it is commonly confused with, or via the swallow’s call is a tinkling ‘vit vit’, their song is clear, strong and fast prolonged twittering warble.

Willow Warbler
A small, greenish bird which becomes common in the British summertime, they can arrive in March/April and leave in September, the warbler is found in the same habitats as its close relative the Chiffchaff however they tend to favour smaller, younger trees and they can also be seen in quiet fringe woodland gardens, to identify the Willow Warbler lookout for the upper body are pale olive-green, and the rest of the body fades from a yellow to white and if you can’t spot it, you may be able to hear it, which is a series of fluid descending notes, ending with a rapid flourish.

Blue Tit

A small busy bird full of character, always full of joy about and can be seen in the quietest garden to the busiest cities, they are well adapted to the human’s influence. No matter where they are found, they provide endless entertainment as it goes about its day searching for food in their search they can be ever so acrobatic and can be seen hanging upside down the search for prey. The blue tit is easy to recognise, it has a sky-blue crown, contrasting strongly with the white and black on the rest of its head, while the body is lime-green and finally its tail is a dull-blue grey and so all in all a beautiful body that is a common but wonderful sight to see.


Robins are such cute little birds with its plump red round breast, it nests in holes in trees and walls, young birds with their speckled breast look very different, like a miniature thrush. A classic sight within the English garden, and as wonderful watch feeding itself within the open space.

Song Thrush
A bird with a gorgeous song, which is loud, fear and musical and mimics other bird songs at times and moves when moving over the ground in short runs or a succession hops punctuated by pauses, where the thrush examines the ground. The thrush is brown with a very spotted cream breast, often spotted in undergrowth or edges of woods and will it nests trees, bushes and hedges, if spotted in your garden they are useful at keeping away vegetable garden pests such as slugs and snails.

The cock is very distinctive whilst the female is more like a Thrush but has in distinct spots on the breast. These nest in trees, bushes or hedges, on the buildings or the ground. Incredibly some blackbirds are albino birds that have white patches or maybe entirely white.


These are easily recognised as their markings are quite distinctive, their head and neck are a pale blue and have a bold black eye stripe and a black wingtip and their underparts are a buff colour with a white throat. Nuthatches are extremely agile and will run along and down branches, will often be seen hanging upside down as they have claws provide exceptional grip.

A highly common bird within the British garden but spotting is ever so exciting as they are a flash of colour and excitement, as they potter along with their daily business. The male has a slate blue crown and nape, chestnut back, pinkish-brown on sides of the head and underparts, wing blackish with a white shoulder patch and white wing bar and white side feathers in the tail while the female has pale yellowish-brown, lighter on under-parts, but shows a white shoulder patch and wing-bar.

Unbelievably the Jay is part of the crow family size, it is by far and away, the most colourful and spectacular family member, with a chunky build and heavy bill with colourful feathers, they may be unmistakable however they are shy and will wait from afar on the of woodland until they feel safe to swoop into the garden and feed. It has a buff-brown back and slightly pinky underparts with wonderful blue, black and white wings and a tail which is long and black.

Identifying a Bird
Sometimes you may notice a bird, that may look unfamiliar we use the RSPB Bird Identifier to help us work out what the bird could have been.

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