Breeding throughout mountainous regions of southern Europe and across to the Himalayas these birds are migratory, overwintering in southern Africa or central India. Worldwide, there are a total of ten subspecies from the nominate species, apus melba.
Eared grebes are North America’s most widespread member of the grebe family, and have a distinctive appearance, with golden tufts on the sides of their face. In the UK, where the species is much rarer, it is known as the black-necked grebe.
Gulls and terns
The title of Black-headed Gull is rather a misnomer for this bird as its head is not black but a dark brown colour and only in adult birds during the breeding season. It is not present during the winter months or in other plumages. Unlike many gulls it is not restricted to coastal regions and is widespread inland in both rural and urban areas.
The UK has a small resident breeding population of black redstarts supplemented annually by passage migrants, overwintering birds and summer breeders. Often at home as a city dweller choosing derelict sites, old buildings and industrial areas, the black redstart will also choose cliff ledges, gorges, rock and scree habitats.
Herons, storks and ibises
A bird of mystery, the Bittern stalks through reedbeds and rarely breaks cover. Once pushed to local extinction, their numbers are increasing, although you are still far more likely to hear one of these unusual birds than see it.
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