MOCKINGBIRDS have not been spotted in Britain for some 30 years but one lucky Devon man was delighted to have had the chance to catch a glimpse of the North American bird. But mockingbirds aren’t the only rare birds you can spot in the UK – here’s a full list.
The last time a mockingbird was spotted in the UK was in the 1980s – the first in 1982 at Saltash, Cornwall, and the second in 1988 at Horsey Island, in Essex. Northern mockingbirds are the only mockingbird commonly found in North America. While they’re predominantly a ‘home bird’, some may move south in the harsh winters – so been spotted as far away as Europe is a pretty huge feat. But now Chris Biddle, from Devon, claims to have made an incredible sighting at the weekend in Exmouth, Devon.
Posting images of the bird on Twitter, he questioned whether he had in fact spotted a northern mockingbird.
He wrote: “Spotted this little chap in our garden in Exmouth over the last few days, mainly in the holly and palm flowers. We think a northern mockingbird, any ideas?”
The sighting is the first record of mockingbirds being seen anywhere in Britain or the Western Palearctic in more than 30 years – and birdwatchers were delighted with the find.
One replied to Chris saying: “Nice find Chris, fingers crossed this bird stays till spring. Or when the restrictions are lifted and we can all get to see it this wonderful bird and hopefully get a charity bucket on the go for local charity’s twitchers are quite generous when it comes to this.”
Northern mockingbirds are about 21 to 26cm in size and is grey-brown in colour, with a paler belly.
The creature is an omnivore, eating insects and fruit, and is known for its high intelligence – with a 2009 study showing the bird could recognise individual humans.
They typically live and breed in southeastern Canada, the United States, northern Mexico, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and the Greater Antilles.
That is, until they make a hop over to the UK to the delight of local bird watchers.
While it may be another 30 years before we seen another mockingbird in Britain, there are plenty of rare birds you can try to spot from your garden however.
It is thought there are fewer than 1,000 pairs of hawfinch native to the UK
The Pied flycatcher breeds in most of Europe and across the Western Palearctic
According to the Woodland Trust, there are 11 birds you should keep your eyed peeled for.
The Trust said: “UK woodland was once awash with a huge variety of bird species, but as time has gone on these species have begun to decline, becoming increasingly rare.
“The chance of spotting them is slim – but if you’re patient (or simply very lucky!) you might just stumble across one of these 11 rare birds. “
2. Lesser spotted woodpecker
5. Pied flycatcher
6. Willow tit
8. Spotted flycatcher
9. Wood warbler
11. Lesser redpoll