The most common bird in the UK

Posted on: 2 February 2021

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The most common bird in the UK

If you've been wondering what the most popular bird here is in the UK at the moment, then you're in luck. A recent population estimate for birds in the United Kingdom report has revealed that the Wren has stayed at the number one position as the most common bird we have here.

The Wren was previously ranked number one in the last report, which was published back in 2013. Back in 2013, it was estimated that there were approximately 8.5 million pairs. There has been an increase in numbers in the latest report, with the estimated number of pairs sitting at 11 million.

It's not fully known why the increase in number, but it could be down to perhaps milder winters we've been having, which benefit these tiny birds. Historically it's not uncommon for numbers of wrens to fluctuate because of environmental factors.

The top 5 most common birds in the UK is made up of the below:

1. Wren (11 million pairs)

2. Robin (7.35 million pairs)

3. House Sparrow (5.3 million pairs)

4. Woodpigeon (5.15 million pairs)

5. Blackbird and Chaffinch (5.05 million pairs each)

“It is great to have these latest estimates of the numbers of our birds. Knowing how many of which species we have is important for many reasons, not least of which is the ability to make better informed decisions when it comes to conservation policy and site management. It is thanks to the thousands of volunteers that take part in a variety of bird surveys that we have the data and are able to produce these figures at all.”

Ian Woodward of the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) - Lead author of the paper.

Back in 2013, the Chaffinch boasted 1.15 million more pairs than the number published in the 2020 report. This is a cause for concern and will need further investigation of why the large decline in numbers of one of the UK's favourite birds.

The turtle dove has seen one of the highest falls in numbers, from 75,000 breeding pairs back in 1997 to just 3,600 pairs in the 2020 report. The report also highlights that there aren't any wading birds that breed here in the UK with a breeding population that surpasses the 100,000 marks. This is the first time that Oystercatchers and Lapwings have both fallen under this number.

The total number of breeding pairs in the UK has stayed a similar number from the 2013s report, an estimated 85 million in total. 20 different species have populations that are over 1 million pairs.