Cetti’s Warbler, Cettia cetti, is a small bush-warbler which breeds in southern and central Europe, north-west Africa and eastwards as far as Afghanistan Pakistan.
Cetti’s warbler is around 14 centimetres in length, has dark reddish-brown upperparts with pale grey on the throat and belly. There is a thin, pale grey stripe above the dark eyes.
They eat small, soft insects and larvae.
Species: C. cetti
The Common Chaffinch, Fringilla coelebs, is a small passerine bird in the finch family Fringillidae and is found throughout Europe, particularly western Europe and is the second most common bird in the UK.
Although it prefers woodland areas, Chaffinches are a common sight in gardens and on farmland. It has distinctive, large double white wing bars, white edges to the tail and a greenish rump. The breeding male has an even more distinctive reddish underbelly and grey cap. Females are less colourful and a bit greener.
Chaffinches mainly eat seeds, although they will eat insects during the breeding season and young birds are fed almost exclusively on insects.
Species: F. coelebs
This is the Snowy-crowned Robin-Chat, Cossypha niveicapilla, found in tropical and sub-tropical areas. In the wild it is confined to the continent of Africa.
The Snowy.crowned Robin-Chat has a reddish-brown belly (often described as rufous), black forehead and cheeks and a white strip on its crown, hence the ‘snowy’ bit of the name.
Species: C. niveicapilla
The Chiffchaff, Phylloscopus collybita, is a common and widespread leaf warbler which breeds in open woodlands throughout northern and temperate Europe and Asia. It is migratory and spends the winter months in southern and western Europe, southern Asia and north Africa.
The Chiffchaff is small and quite ‘rotund’ and is a greenish-brown above, fading with age, and off-white below. It gets its name from its song, which sounds like ‘chiffchaff’.
Chiffchaffs like insects and are said to require about one-third of their weight in insects on a daily basis. Cats like Chiffchaffs.
Species: P. collybita
The Red-billed Chough or just Chough, Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax, is a bird in the crow family and breeds on mountains and coastal cliffs from the western coasts of Ireland and Britain through southern Europe and North Africa to Central Asia, India and China. The Chough is glossy black, a long curved red bill and red legs.
The Chough grows to about 40 centimetres in length and has a wingspan up to 90 centimetres.
Species: P. pyrrhocorax
The Zitting Cisticola or Streaked Fantail Warbler, Cisticola juncidis, is commonly found in southern Europe, Africa, southern Asia and as far as northern Australia.
The Zitting Cisticola grows up to 12 centimetres and is heavily streaked with black markings. The underparts are whitish, the tail is broad and has a white tip. Adult males have less streaking on the crown and more back marking than the females, otherwise they are fairly similar.
Species: C. juncidis
The Common Wattle-eye, Platysteira cyanea, is also sometimes referred to as the Brown-throated Wattle-eye or Scarlet-spectacled Wattle-eye.
The Common Wattle-eye grows up to 14 centimetres in length. The breeding male has glossy black upperparts, white underparts with a neat black breast band. It has red wattles above the eye.
Females are grey-black above and they also have the red wattles above the eye. There is a small patch of white below the bill and the throat and breast are maroon and a black breast band separates the breast from the white belly.
The main diet of the Common Wattle-eye is insects.
Species: P. cyanea
The Coot, Fulica atra, is a medium-sized water bird and a member of the rail family Rallidae and is a close relative of the Moorhen.
Coots have predominantly black plumage and a distinctive white beak and ‘shield’ above the beak which earns it the title ‘bald’ – hence ‘bald as a coot’.
Its feet have lobed flaps of skin on the toes rather than webbed feet.
Coots eat vegetation, snails and insect larvae.
Cormorants are medium-to-large sea birds and there are numerous different species. Many species have areas of coloured skin on the face which can be bright blue, orange, red or yellow, often becoming more brightly coloured in the breeding season. The bill is long, thin, and sharply hooked. Their feet have webbing between all four toes.
Cormorants are coastal rather than oceanic birds, although some have colonised inland waters such as lakes, reservoirs and gravel pits.
All are fish-eaters with small eels and even water snakes being on the menu. To catch their dinner they dive from the surface and after fishing, they go ashore and are frequently seen holding their wings out in the sun.
The Long-tailed Cormorant or Reed Cormorant, Microcarbo africanus, is found in much of Africa south of the Sahara.
It grows to a length of around 50 centimetres with a wingspan of up to 85 centimetres. This smallish cormorant is mainly black but with a green gloss in the breeding season. It has a longish tail, a short head crest, a red or yellow face patch and a yellow bill.
Sexes are very similar, although non-breeding adults and juveniles are a bit browner and have a white belly.
Species: M. africanus
The Senegal Coucal, Centropus senegalensis, is a medium-sized bird at around 39 centimetres in length. Its crown, nape, bill, legs and longish tail are black, the eyes are red, the wings are chestnut brown and the underparts are creamy white with blackish barring on the flanks. The sexes are very similar, but juveniles are browner and more heavily barred above, with buff underparts.
Species: C. senegalensis
The Spotted Crake, Porzana porzana, is a small waterbird found in marshes and sedge beds across temperate Europe into western Asia. They are migratory, wintering in Africa and Pakistan.
They grow to around 22 centimetres in length and adults have mainly brown upperparts, a blue-grey breast and dark barring and white spots on the flanks. They have green legs with long toes, and a short tail.
They nest in a dry location in marsh vegetation, laying 6 to 15 eggs.
Species: P. porzana
The Demoiselle Crane, Grus virgo, is found in an area from the Black Sea to Mongolia and North Eastern China. They are migratory, with birds from western Eurasia spending the winter in Africa whilst the birds from Asia, Mongolia and China head for the Indian subcontinent.
Demoiselle Cranes are about one metre in length with a wingspan of up to 1.80 metres.
Species: A. virgo
The Grey Crowned Crane, Balearica regulorum, is native to eastern and southern Africa and is the only species of crane able to roost in trees as it has a long hind toe which gives it the capability of gripping branches.
This impressive bird grows to around one metre in length with a wingspan of up to two metres. The body is mainly grey, it has white cheek patches, a red, inflatable throat pouch and a crown of golden feathers.
The Grey Crowned Crane is omnivorous, eating a variety of foods from seeds to frogs and snakes.
Species: B. regulorum
The Red Crowned Crane, Grus japonensis, is a large crane at around 1.50 metres in length and with a wingspan of up to 2.50 metres. It is also one of the rarest.
They spend the spring and summer in Siberia and north-eastern China where they breed. In autumn they migrate to Korea and east-central China.
Species: G. japonensis
The Carrion Crow, Corvus corone, is native to western Europe and eastern Asia.
It is basically black with a green or purple sheen. The bill, legs and feet are also black. It can be distinguished from the Common Raven by its size, around 52 centimetres as compared to 63 centimetres for ravens.
It can be distinguished from the Rook by its shorter beak and by the fact that the adult rook has bare nostrils when compared to those of the crow which are covered with bristly feathers.
Species: C. corone
The Pied Crow, Corvus albus, is a widely distributed African bird species in the crow genus, about the same size as the Carrion Crow, with a distinctive white neck band stretching down to the breast.
The Pied Crow gets all of its food the ground and its diet includes insects and other small invertebrates, small reptiles, small mammals, young birds and eggs, grain, peanuts, carrion and happily takes any scraps of human food and fruit. So not really fussy when it comes to food.
Species: C. albus
The Yellow-Knobbed Curassow, Crax daubentoni, is a large bird found in the forests and woodlands of Colombia and Venezuela.
It has a very distinctive crest made up of feathers that curl forward, and the male of the species has a fleshy yellow knob at the base of its bill.
Species: C. daubentoni
The Curlew, Numenius arquata, is the largest European wading bird and is a member of a group of eight species characterised by long, slender, downcurved bills and mottled brown plumage.
Curlews feed in muddy areas or very soft ground, probing for worms and other invertebrates with their very long bills.
Curlews eat worms, shellfish and shrimps.