The birds around Birling Gap

Fulmar

The bird life around Birling Gap is present all year but at it's best during the migration periods of spring and autumn.

Making a comeback

A member of the crow family the Raven is a large bird as big as a buzzard and has returned to breed on the cliffs. It is an intelligent and resourceful scavenger with carrion making up the majority of its food.

Raven
A raven perching on vegetation

The raven had stopped reeding in land By 1880 it lasted a little longer on the coasts till 1895. Only recorded 13 times in Sussex between 1946-1994 the first pair returned to Beachy Head in 2001 and since then has spread across the countryside.

Two stones hitting each other

The stonechat is an obvious bird at Birling Gap as it flies from perch to perch where it sits atop a stem of vegetation. It is often heard to give its ‘stone hitting’ call from where it gets its name from. 

A stonechat perched on the stem of a plant
Stone chat perched on the stem of a plant

Other than heathland the down land scrub and gorse are its main breeding area with upto 3 breeds of chicks a year. This bird suffers in harsh winters so has to move south and the milder coast plays host to increasing numbers.

The cliff nester

The Fulmar can be regularly seen flying on stiff wings along the cliffs at Birling Gap. It was not recorded until 1965 as a breeding bird on the cliffs at Beachy Head.

Fulmar
Fulmar

This is a northern hemisphere species of bird that nests from the pack ice south to 50 degrees latitude. It is possibly vulnerable to climate change as the south coasts warms up and becomes unsuitable  for it.