Branta leucopsis
Distribution:A winter visitor Largest numbers on the Solway Firth (England and Scotland) and on Islay, Scotland.

Habitat:Marshlands, coastal marshes and grasslands.

Diet:Leaves, stems, roots and seeds.

Cygnus columbianus
Distribution:A winter visitor. Found mainly in eastern England, around the Severn estuary and in Lancashire with concentrations at the Ouse and Nene Washes (Cambridgeshire), Martin Mere (Lancashire) and Slimbridge (Gloucestershire).

Habitat:Wetland habitats, mainly shallow lakes and slow rivers near grassy meadows. Also feed in farmland on grain stubble and root crops.

Diet:Leaves, shoots and roots.

Podiceps nigricollis
Distribution:A rare breeding bird. England and Scotland and parts of west Wales, the Fal Estuary, Cornwall and Poole Harbour, Dorset are good places to look.

Habitat:Breeds on shallow well-vegetated lakes. Winters on estuaries, lakes and reservoirs.

Diet:Insects, crustaceans and small fish.

Branta bernicla
Distribution:A winter visitor. Main concentrations of dark-bellied birds in the Wash, the North Norfolk coastal marshes, Essex estuaries, the Thames Estuary and Chichester and Langstone Harbours. Most light-bellied birds are found at Strangford Lough and Lough Foyle, N Ireland and at Lindisfarne, Northumberland.

Habitat:Estuaries and saltmarshes.

Diet:Vegetation, especially eel-grass.

Branta canadensis
Distribution:Found throughout most of the UK but not in Northen Scotland.

Habitat:Lakes, gravel pits and town parks.

Diet:Vegetation - roots, grass, leaves and seeds.

Fulica atra
Distribution:Common resident over most of the U.K except north-west Scotland.

Habitat:Mainly on freshwater lakes, gravel pits, reservoirs, rivers and town park lakes when deep enough.

Diet:Vegetation, snails and insect larvae.

Somateria mollissima
Distribution:Breeds and is resident on suitable coasts of Scotland and the north of Ireland. Winters also on the east and south coasts of England.

Habitat:Coasts, especially sheltered bays and estuaries. Very rare inland.

Diet:Shellfish, especially mussels.

Anas strepera
Distribution:Seen mainly in the Midlands and south-east of England, eastern central Scotland, eastern Northern Ireland and the south-east of Ireland, and south-east Wales.

Habitat:Visit gravel pits, lakes, reservoirs and coastal wetlands in winter

Diet:Stems, leaves and seeds.

Anas querquedula
Distribution:A summer visitor. Mostly found in central and southern England.

Habitat:It favours shallow wetlands, with flooded meadows and ditches, and plenty of aquatic vegetation

Diet:Plant material and insects.

Bucephala clangula
Distribution:In summer, mainly in Highlands of Scotland. Best looked for in winter on lakes, large rivers and sheltered coasts, particularly in north and west Britain.

Habitat:Usually located near ponds, lakes, or rivers.

Diet:Mussels, insect larvae, small fish and plants

Mergus merganser
Distribution:Scotland and then since 1970 it has spread across N England into Wales, reaching SW England.

Habitat:Rivers. In winter they can be found on lakes, reservoirs and gravel pits.


Podiceps cristatus
Distribution:A common and familiar species throughout Britain but avoids upland areas.

Habitat:Lowland lakes, gravel pits, reservoirs and rivers. Also found along coasts in winter.

Diet:Mainly fish.

Anser anser
Distribution:Greylag geese are easily seen in lowland areas of the UK all year, sometimes even in suburban parks with lakes but especially on low-lying grassy fields in river valleys.

Habitat:Breeds on boggy moorland, often near water. Winters on flooded grassland, estuaries and arable fields.

Diet:Grass, roots, cereal leaves and spilled grain.

Tachybaptus ruficollis
Distribution:It is found across the UK although is largely absent from upland areas.

Habitat:Look for it wherever there are suitable lakes, gravel pits, canals and slow rivers with plenty of vegetation.

Diet:Insects and larvae

Clangula hyemalis
Distribution:A winter visitor and passage migrant to the UK, most common from Northumberland north to northern Scotland.

Habitat:The best chance of seeing long-tailed ducks is from seawatching points around the coast in winter, particularly in northern Scotland, Shetland and Orkney.

Diet:Mussels, cockles, clams, crabs and small fish.

Anas platyrhynchos
Distribution: It breeds in all parts of the UK in summer and winter, wherever there are suitable wetland habitats, although it is scarcer in upland areas.

Habitat:It is the commonest duck and most widespread so you have a chance of seeing it just about anywhere where there is suitable wetland habitat, even in urban areas.

Diet:Seeds, acorns and berries, plants, insects and shellfish.

Gallinula chloropus
Distribution:It breeds in the UK in lowland areas, especially in central and eastern England. It is scarce in northern Scotland and the uplands of Wales and northern England.

Habitat:There's a chance of seeing a moorhen anywhere where there is water - from a small ditch or a lake in a city centre park, to a big lake or reservoir.

Diet:Water plants, seeds, fruit, grasses, insects, snails and worms.

Cygnus olor
Distribution:Breeds across most of the UK, other than in northern Scotland, mid-Wales and the moors of south-west England.

Habitat:Possible to see the Mute swan anywhere there is a shallow lake, or a slow-flowing rivers, even in urban areas and parks.

Diet:Water plants, insects and snails.

Anas acuta
Distribution:A localised species, pintails occur sheltered coasts and estuaries. Particularly large concentrations found on sites such as the Dee Estuary, Solway Estuary and Ouse Washes.

Habitat:Open unwooded wetlands, such as wet grassland and lakesides, sheltered estuaries, brackish marshes and coastal lagoons.

Diet:A variety of plants and invertebrates.

Aythya ferina
Distribution:Birds breed in eastern England and lowland Scotland, and in small numbers in Northern Ireland,

Habitat:Good places to look in summer are open lakes and gravel pits in lowland eastern England and Scotland. Found more widely in winter, often on larger lakes and even on estuaries.

Diet:Plants and seeds, snails, small fish and insects.

Mergus serrator
Distribution:In the north-west of Scotland, England and Wales, and in parts of N Ireland.

Habitat:Breeds beside rivers, lakes and coastal and freshwater pools. Winters on estuaries and coasts.


Oxyura jamaicensis
Distribution:The UK's ruddy ducks are concentrated in the West Midlands, northern England, Anglesey and southern Scotland.

Habitat:Preferred breeding habitats include freshwater marshes, marshy lakes, and ponds. Found in marshes and shallow coastal bays during winter.

Diet:Aquatic insect larvae and plant seeds

Tadorna tadorna
Distribution:Widespread around Britain and Ireland on suitable coasts.

Habitat:Shelducks are found mainly in coastal areas, although they can also be found around inland waters such as reservoirs and gravel workings.

Diet:Invertebrates, small shellfish and aquatic snails.

Anas clypeata
Distribution:In the UK they breed in southern and eastern England, especially around the Ouse Washes, the Humber and the North Kent Marshes, and in much smaller numbers in Scotland and western parts of England.

Habitat:Breeds on marshy and reed-fringed pools. Winters on lakes, reservoirs, marshes and occasionally estuaries

Diet:Small insects and plant matter sifted from the water

Mergus albellus
Distribution:A winter visitor. Most are found south of a line between the Wash and the Severn.

Habitat:Breeds in trees beside lakes. Winters on lakes, reservoirs and estuaries.

Diet:Fish, insect larvae and other insects.

Anas crecca
Distribution:Small numbers breed throughout most of Britain and Ireland, but most common as a winter visitor.

Habitat:Breeds in wet moorland, heath pools, bogs etc. In winter occurs on lakes and ponds of all kinds, marshes and to a lesser extent on coasts, estuaries and mudflats.

Diet:Seeds and small invertebrates

Aythya fuligula
Distribution:It breeds in the UK across lowland areas of England, Scotland and Ireland, but less commonly in Wales,

Habitat:Found across the UK at most times of year. Look in suitable habitat such as a local reservoir, gravel pit or lake.

Diet:Molluscs, insects and some plants.

Cygnus cygnus
Distribution:A winter visitor. Scotland, Northern Ireland, northern England and parts of East Anglia.

Habitat:Wetland habitats, mainly shallow lakes and coastal flats. Also feed in farmland on grain stubble and root crops.

Diet: Aquatic plants, grass, grain, potatoes

Anas penelope
Distribution:Local breeder (about 500 pairs), chiefly in Scotland. In winter, widespread and abundant to most parts of Britain and Ireland.

Habitat:Breeds by rivers and lakes, and in winter found in estuaries, lakes and flooded grassland

Diet:Aquatic plants, grasses, roots.