Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis

A highly coloured finch with a bright red face and yellow wing patch. Sociable, often breeding in loose colonies, they have a delightful liquid twittering song and call. Their long fine beaks allow them to extract otherwise inaccessible seeds from thistles and teasels. Increasingly they are visiting birdtables and feeders. In winter many UK goldfinches migrate as far south as Spain. Seen all year round. Eat insects, seeds in summer.
Photo: © Kevin B Agar

Great spotted woodpecker Dendrocopos major

Blackbird-sized and striking black-and-white. It has a very distinctive bouncing flight and spends most of its time clinging to tree trunks and branches, often trying to hide on the side away from the observer. Its presence is often announced by its loud call or by its distinctive spring 'drumming' display. The male has a distinctive red patch on the back of the head and young birds have a red crown. Seen all year round. Eats insects, seeds and nuts.
Photo: © Neil Cheesman

Great tit Parus major

The largest UK tit - green and yellow with a striking glossy black head with white cheeks and a distinctive two-syllable song. It is a woodland bird which has readily adapted to man-made habitats to become a familiar garden visitor. It can be quite aggressive at a bird table, fighting off smaller tits. In winter it joins with blue tits and others to form roaming flocks which scour gardens and countryside for food. Seen all year round. Eat insects, seeds and nuts. Still photo: @Nottsexminer on flickr. Video created by  


Greenfinch Carduelis chloris

Its twittering and wheezing song, and flash of yellow and green as it flies, make this finch a truly colourful character. It is a regular garden visitor, able to take advantage of food in urban gardens. Although quite sociable, they may squabble among themselves or with other birds at the bird table. Populations declined during the late 1970s and early 1980s, but increased dramatically during the 1990s. A recent decline in numbers has been linked to an outbreak of trichomonosis, a parasite-induced disease which prevents the birds from feeding properly. Seen all year round. Eat insects and seeds.
Photo: © Kevin B Agar

Grey wagtail Motacilla cinerea

The species looks similar to the yellow wagtail but has the yellow on its underside restricted to the throat and vent. The grey is associated with its back and head. Breeding males have a black throat. They are usually seen on open marshy ground or meadows capturing ground insects. Like other wagtails, they frequently wag their tail. On the RSPB red list due to its declining numbers. A pair were nesting regularly for many years at the Highgate end of Parkland Walk where a leaking water main provided all year round damp muddy ground. Another pair (and a fledgling) were spotted feeding at another mains leak in Muswell Hill in 2017. 
Photo: © Simon Olley

Jay Garrulus glandarius

Although they are the most colourful members of the crow family, jays are actually quite difficult to see. They are shy woodland birds, rarely moving far from cover. The screaming call usually lets you know a jay is about and it is usually given when a bird is on the move, so watch for a bird flying between the trees with its distinctive flash of white on the rump. Jays are famous for their acorn feeding habits and in the autumn you may see them burying acorns for retrieving later in the winter.
Photo: © Kevin B Agar

Kestrel Falco tinnunculus

Once a familiar sight, numbers of kestrels have declined and are now rarely seen. This is probably due to the loss of open grassland areas and woodland edge habitats as the woodlands have been allowed to develop unchecked. Hunting birds such as the kestrel hover over open ground to find their prey. Creating more open patches of ground would give more opportunities for small mammals to flourish and this would likely lead to a return of the kestrel.
Photo: © Neil Cheesman

Lesser redpoll Carduelis cabaret

This tiny finch – only slightly bigger than a blue tit – is streaky and brown with patches of red on its head and sometimes its breast. They like to hang upside down to feed in trees. It has recently been 'split' from the mealy (or common) redpoll, a larger and paler species which is a winter visitor to the UK. They eat seeds, particularly of birch and alder, plus plants like willowherb and sorrel, but they also visit bird feeders
Photo: © Colin Pumfrett

Longtailed tit Aegithalos caudatus

The long-tailed tit is easily recognisable with its distinctive colouring, a tail that is bigger than its body, and undulating flight. Gregarious and noisy residents, long-tailed tits are most usually noticed in small, excitable flocks of about 20 birds. Like most tits, they rove the woods and hedgerows, but are also seen on heaths and commons with suitable bushes. Seen all year round. Eats insects, occasionally seeds in autumn and winter.
Photo: © Kevin B Agar