We are lucky enough to have some of the rarest birds in the world here in the UK, but these ten are pretty much extinct. In fact, the numbers I discovered for this post might be even lower by the time you read it! But let’s hope not…
The Top 10 Rarest Birds in the UK
Please Note: These are the rarest nesting birds in the UK, but they might be thriving elsewhere
10 – Honey Buzzard (Estimated Number of Pairs: Less Than 30)
Info Source: The European honey buzzard is a summer migrant to most of Europe and western Asia, wintering in tropical Africa. It is seen in a wide range of habitats, but generally, it prefers woodland and exotic plantations.
9 – Spotted Crake (Estimated Number of Pairs: Less Than 20)
Info Source: The spotted crake’s breeding habitat is marshes and sedge beds across temperate Europe into western Asia. They nest in a dry location in marsh vegetation, laying 6–15 eggs. This species is migratory, wintering in Africa and Pakistan.
8 – White-Tailed Eagle (Estimated Number of Pairs: Less Than 10)
Info Source: White-tailed eagle are also known as eagle of the rain, sea grey eagle, erne, gray eagle, and white-tailed sea-eagle — is a large bird of prey in the family Accipitridae which includes other raptors such as hawks, kites, and harriers. It is considered a close cousin of the bald eagle and occupies the same ecological niche, but in Eurasia.
7 – Temminck’s Stint (Estimated Number of Pairs: Less Than 10)
Info Source: Temminck’s stint is a small wader. This bird’s common name and Latin binomial commemorate the Dutch naturalist Coenraad Jacob Temminck. The genus name is from Ancient Greek kalidris or skalidris, a term used by Aristotle for some grey-coloured waterside birds.
6 – Wood Sandpiper (Estimated Number of Pairs: Less Than 10)
Info Source: The wood sandpiper is a small wader. This Eurasian species is the smallest of the shanks, which are mid-sized long-legged waders of the family Scolopacidae.
5 – Fieldfare (Estimated Number of Pairs: Less Than 10)
Info Source: Fieldfares often nest in small colonies, possibly for protection from predators. The nest is built in a tree where five or six eggs are laid. The chicks are fed by both parents and leave the nest after a fortnight.
4 – Purple Sandpiper (Estimated Number of Pairs: Less Than 10)
Info Source: The purple sandpiper is a small shorebird. The genus name is from Ancient Greek kalidris or skalidris, a term used by Aristotle for some grey-coloured waterside birds. The specific maritima is from Latin and means “of the sea”, from mare, “sea”.
3 – Ruff (Estimated Number of Pairs: Less Than 10)
Info Source: The ruff is a long-necked, pot-bellied bird. This species shows marked sexual dimorphism; the male is much larger than the female and has a breeding plumage that includes brightly coloured head tufts, bare orange facial skin, extensive black on the breast, and the large collar of ornamental feathers that inspired this bird’s English name.
2 – Red-Backed Shrike (Estimated Number of Pairs: Less Than 5)
Info Source: The red-backed shrike is a carnivorous passerine bird and member of the shrike family Laniidae. The common English name “shrike” is from Old English scríc, “shriek”, referring to the shrill call.
1 – Red-Necked Grebe (Estimated Number of Pairs: Less Than 5)
Info Source: The red-necked grebe is a nondescript dusky-grey bird in winter. During the breeding season, it acquires the distinctive red neck plumage, black cap and contrasting pale grey face from which its name was derived. It also has an elaborate courtship display and a variety of loud mating calls.