Discover our top ten favourite birds in the Chilterns countryside

When you are exploring the Chilterns countryside, see if you can spot some of our favourite birds. Our list provides links to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) website, where you can find more information to help you identify what you see, including video and recordings of bird calls.

red kite

1. Red kite

Top of our list is the magnificent red kite, which is now a familiar site in the Chiltern Hills. Red kites have a reddish-brown body, angled wings and deeply forked tail. Some of the best places to see red kites include Watlington Hill, Bradenham, West Wycombe, Hughenden Manor and Coombe Hill.

Female sparrowhawk

2. Sparrowhawk

The spectacular sparrowhawk is an amazingly quiet and agile woodland hunter. Their presence is usually announced by the alarm calls of smaller birds as they dash for thick cover. Although they are small, sparrowhawks will confidently hunt and kill a bird as large as a wood pigeon. They love their piercing eyes.


3. Robin

Britain’s favourite bird had to be near the top of our list. Robins are familiar garden birds but they are a woodland species often seen on all our Chilterns Countryside sites. Apart from their bright colouring, robins are known as one of the few song birds that will sing nearly all year round.

Green woodpecker

4. Green woodpecker

If you hear a strange, almost eerie laughing call in an area of woodland or grassland, the chances are you are hearing a green woodpecker. Green woodpeckers spend most of their time feeding on the ground and they are frequently seen at Watlington Hill, Bradenham and Coombe Hill feeding on ants: their favourite delicacy.

Great spotted woodpecker (female)

5. Great spotted woodpecker

The great spotted woodpecker is a true woodland species that nests in many of our mature trees. In the spring you are likely to hear the sound of its distinctive 'drumming’ on the trunks or boughs of trees. Look out for the woodpecker’s very distinctive bouncing flight.


6. Nuthatch

The nuthatch is a distinctive bird which you are most likely to see running up or down the trunk of a tree, or along the underside of a branch in one of our mature woodlands. They like to nest in abandoned woodpecker nests.



Buzzards are often seen soaring with red kites. They can be seen gliding over wooded hillsides in fine weather, or perched on dead trees or fence posts. Buzzards are slightly smaller than kites and have broad, rounded wings, and a short neck and tail.


8. Blackbird

One of our commonest woodland birds that often finds its way into our gardens. This male is distinctively black, but females are brown and can be confused with thrushes.


9. Jay

It’s hard to believe that the colourful jay is a member of the crow family. They are quite shy woodland birds, so you are more likely to hear their screaming calls. Look out for a large brick pink bird flying between the trees with its distinctive flash of white on the rump.

Juvenile kestrel

10. Kestrel

Kestrels used to be a common site, but their numbers are in serious decline. You are most likely to see one hovering over an area of rough grassland, hunting small mammals and insects. This is a youngster near Pulpit Hill, waiting for its parent to return with a meal.