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  • Pigeons & Doves | Birds of Malta

    Pigeons & Doves Rock Dove Click on the image to open slideshow Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon) Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Seen individually or in small groups. Clearly smaller than Wood Pigeon. Plumage highly variable, and some morphs quite similar to Stock Dove. Differs from latter in complete dark wingbars on secondary coverts (not only inner coverts). Back light grey, contrasting with darker grey neck and head. Often with white patch at lower back, but not always. Underside of wings very pale, and dark trailing edge of tail fairly narrow. Lacks Wood Pigeon's white wing-patches. Feral Pigeon is the same species as Rock Dove. The existence of a population of pure wild Rock Doves without any mixed genes from feral populations anywhere in the world is debateable. There are many traits that can determine a bird as feral (like asymmetrical pigmentation), but birds with "classic" wild Rock Dove plumage also exists in the feral populations. ​ ​ Diet Mainly seeds including corn, oats, cherry, and barley. In cities, feral pigeons also eat popcorn, cake, peanuts, bread, and currants. ​ Longevity record 8 years 1 month (Fiound dead in the UK, EK 12066ands, 167353) ​ Tudun tal-Ġebel Columbia livia Columbiformes Columbidae Fairly common Usually seen in All months / resident birds ​ Occasionally seen in - ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/1 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 30 - 35 62 - 68 230 - 370 Back to Glossary Stock Dove Stock Dove Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Seen individually. ​ Clearly smaller than Wood Pigeon, and lacks white wing-patches. Most susceptible to confusion with Feral Pigeon. Differs from latter in incomplete dark wing-bars, covering only inner secondary coverts. Colour of back same grey tone as neck and head. Never with white patch at lower back. Underside of wings grey, with clearly defined dark frame. Black trailing edge of tail fairly broad. Dark eyes not as in Wood Pigeon or Rock Dove/Feral Pigeon. ​ ​ Diet Stock Doves eat seed, leaves, buds, berries and grain ​ ​ Longevity record 12 years 7 months (Killed in Switzerland, 930722) ​ Tudun tas-Siġar Columbia oenas Columbiformes Columbidae Very rare Usually seen in October ​ Occasionally seen in March, May, September, November - December ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/1 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 28 - 32 60 - 66 250 - 300 Back to Glossary Wood pigeon Common Woodpigeon Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually but can be seen in small groups of a few individuals. ​ A large, grey pigeon with white patches on side of neck (adults) and conspicuous white wing-bands. Broad, dark terminal tail-band, and dark grey primaries. Underside of wings with little contrast between coverts and primaries/secondaries. Juveniles lacks white neck patches. ​ Diet Mainly seeds and leaves. Occasionally vegetables. ​ ​ Longevity record 17 years 8 months (A ringed bird in the UK, FV 67324) ​ Tudun Columba palumbus Columbiformes Columbidae Very scarce Back to Glossary Usually seen in March - April, September - November ​ Occasionally seen in January - February, May, June - July Click on the image to open slideshow 1/4 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 38 - 43 68 - 77 400 - 600 Turtle Dove European Turtle Dove Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Seen individually or in small groups but sometimes in large flocks. A small pigeon with barred neck-patch. Coverts and scapulars are dark with orangy-brown edges, giving the back a distinct scaly pattern. Neck and chest pink-grey, and belly white. In flight, the dark tail with contrasting, broad white band, is conspicuous in all plumages. Underside of wings grey, as opposed to Collared Dove. Upperside tri-coloured in black, grey and orangy-brown. Juveniles are drab, pale buff, and lacks the neck-patch. ​ ​ Diet Their diet is usually seeds, grains, berries, and fruits. Occasionally, they also eat worms, insects, spiders , snails, and fungi. They are opportunistic, and eat just about any type of food they can find. ​ ​ Longevity record 13 years 2 months (A shot bird in the Netherlands, 167353) ​ Gamiema Streptopelia turtur Columbiformes Columbidae Fairly common Back to Glossary Usually seen in April - May, August - October ​ Occasionally seen in March, June - July, November ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/17 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 25 - 27 49 - 55 107 - 140 Eurasian Collared Dove Eurasian Collared Dove Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually for migrating individuals. Seen in small numbers for resident individuals. ​ A small, long-winged and pale buff-grey pigeon, with characteristic black half-collar stretching from the hind-neck to the sides. Most likely to be confused with the African Collared Dove, but the primaries are darker making a contrast with the other wing feathers and have a grey undertail. ​ Diet Mainly seeds but occasionally feeds on insects. ​ ​ Longevity record 17 years (A bird found dead in the UK, ED 04205) ​ Gamiema tal-Kullar Streptopelia decaocto Columbiformes Columbidae Fairly common Back to Glossary Usually seen in April - May, September ​ Occasionally seen in June, August, October, all other months for resident birds ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/6 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 31 - 34 48 - 56 125 - 195 African Collared Dove African Collared Dove Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* A feral species that has been introduced in some localities and is breeding regularly in the wild such as in Pembroke, Mqabba, Buskett and Attard. ​ A small, long-winged and pale buff-grey pigeon, with characteristic black half-collar stretching from the hind-neck to the sides. Most likely to be confused with the Eurasian Collared Dove, but the primaries are lighter making it paler with no contrast with the other wing feathers. The undertail is paler whereas in the Eurasian Collared Dove this is grey. ​ ​ Diet Mainly seeds and other plants, including cultivated grains. They will also eat berries, insects and snails. ​ Longevity record 10 years ​ Ħamiema tal-Barr Streptopelia roseogrisea Columbiformes Columbidae Introduced ​ Back to Glossary Usually seen in all months for resident birds ​ Occasionally seen in - Click on the image to open slideshow 1/0 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 26 - 27 45 - 50 130 - 166 Palm dove Laughing Dove Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. Formerly known as the 'Palm Dove'. ​ The laughing dove is a long-tailed slim pigeon. It is pinkish brown on the underside with a lilac tinged head and neck. The head and underparts are pinkish, shading to buff on the lower abdomen . A chequered rufous and grey patch is found on the sides of the neck and are made up of split feathers. The upper parts are brownish with a bluish-grey band along the wing. The sexes are indistinguishable in the field. Young birds lack the chequered neck markings. The legs are red. ​ ​ Diet Laughing doves eat the fallen seeds, mainly of grasses, other vegetable matter and small ground insects such as termites and beetles. They are fairly terrestrial, foraging on the ground in grasslands and cultivation. ​ Longevity record 10 years ​ Gamiema tal-Ilwien Spilopelia senegalensis Columbiformes Columbidae Rare Usually seen in September - October ​ Occasionally seen in April - May, July Click on the image to open slideshow 1/0 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 23 - 26 40 - 45 125 - 196 Back to Glossary *Some information was sourced from ''BirdID Nord University''.

  • Quail, Bust, Thick, Pratin, Night, Cuck | Birds of Malta

    Quails, T'Knees, Pratincoles, Cursors, Nightjars & Cuckoos Quail Common Quail Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually or in pairs during breeding. Multiple birds can be flushed simultaneously. Seldom seen, often heard. Very small, compact bird with secretive behaviour. Heavily striated brown upperparts and paler belly. Males with black throat or black throat-band. Only the male shows different pale or rufous morphs. Appears long-winged when flying, with a straight and low line of flight. ​ ​ Diet Quails are foraging birds that live in shrub/bush lands in the wild. Their diet consists of insects, grains, seeds and sometimes berries. ​ Longevity record 14 years 7 months (A shot bird in Slovakia, K 261152) Summiena Coturnix coturnix Galliformes Phasianidae Fairly common Back to Glossary Usually seen in March - April, September - October ​ Occasionally seen in February, May, August, November ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/6 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 16 - 18 32 - 35 70 - 155 Little Bustard Little Bustard Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. Small bustard about the seize of female pheasant. Stocky body, small head, slender neck and fairly long legs. Male: Grey head, black neck with two white rings, finely vermiculated upperparts and white underparts. Odd short p7 in male. Female lacks black neck and all upperparts are a vermiculated sandy brown. Young and non-breeding males similar to females, but often with a hint of white breast-band and more clearly defined white underparts. Flushed birds take off in noisy, grouse-like manner with rapid wing-beats and interspersed short glides on bowed wings. Longer flight with quick wing-beats mostly below level of back. ​ ​ Diet Seeds, insects, rodents and reptiles. Like other bustards, the male little bustard has a flamboyant display with foot stamping and leaping in the air. ​ Longevity record 10 years (average) Pitarra Tetrax tetrax Galliformes Phasianidae Very rare ​ Usually seen in October - November ​ Occasionally seen in March - April, September, December ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/0 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 40 - 45 83 - 91 680 - 975 Back to Glossary Tellerita Eurasian Stone-curlew Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually or in small groups. It is also found as the 'Eurasian Thick-knee'. ​ Mostly nocturnal and easily overlooked at daytime when resting. Runs for cover with hunched posture if disturbed. Easily identified in flight by dark wing with white window, long tail and trailing toes. Betrays it's presence at dusk when groups of birds often starts calling and moving about. ​ ​ Diet Food consists of insects and other small invertebrates, and occasionally small reptiles, frogs and rodents. ​ Longevity record 17 years 10 months (Found dead by car accident in the UK, ED 41923) Tellerita Burhinus oedicnemus Charadriiformes Burhinidae Scarce Usually seen in March - May, September - October ​ Occasionally seen in June, November ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/22 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 38 - 45 76 - 88 290 - 535 Back to Glossary Cream-coloured courser Cream-coloured Courser Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually or in pairs. Around 30 known records as from 2010. ​ These birds have long legs and long wings. They have slightly downcurved bills. The body plumage is sandy in colour, fading to whitish on the lower belly. The upperwing primary feathers and the underwings are black. The crown and nape are grey, and there is a black eyestripe and white supercilium. ​ In flight, this species resembles a pratincole with its relaxed wingbeats, pointed wings and dark underwings. ​ ​ Diet Cream-coloured Coursers usually feeds on insects such as beetles, grasshoppers, ants and flies. It also consumes molluscs and isopods (a kind of crustacean with flat body and all similar legs). It also feeds on seeds. ​ Longevity record - Nankina Cursorius cursor Charadriiformes Glareolidae Very rare Usually seen in March, June - July ​ Occasionally seen in January - February, April - May, August - September ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/0 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 24 - 27 51 - 57 93 - 156 Back to Glossary Collared Pratincole Collared Pratincole Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. ​ Slightly smaller than Golden Plover with much slender appearance. Only likely to be confused with other pratincoles, but diagnostic field marks often difficult to see. Tail streamers longer than wing-tips and base of bill with more red (in breeding plumage). Sexes alike. Lacks black necklace in winter plumage. Immature birds are similar to winter-plumaged adults, but with additional scaly upperparts. Often confusing at first glance when in flight, due to tern-like, acrobatic flight not resembling other waders. ​ ​ Diet Insects ​ Longevity record - Perniċotta Glareola pratincola Charadriiformes Glareolidae Very rare Back to Glossary Usually seen in March - May, September ​ Occasionally seen in July, October - November ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/7 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 24 - 28 60 - 70 60 - 100 European nightjar European Nightjar Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually but multiple individuals can be seen flying simultaneously. ​ Falcon or cuckoo-like, nocturnal bird with long tail and slender, pointed wings. Unmistakable when seen in areas where no other species of nightjars occur, or when singing. If plumage is seen clearly, note general tone (grey brown), dark front edge of arm, broader upper wing-bar and small white throat patch. ​ ​ Diet The Nightjar's diet is made up of invertebrates, including moths, flies and beetles. ​ Longevity record 11 years 11 months (UK, XJ 86805) Buqrajq Caprimulgus europaeus Caprimulgiformes Caprimulgidae Fairly common Usually seen in April - May, September - October ​ Occasionally seen in March, June, August, November ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/6 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 24 - 28 52 - 59 56 - 85 Back to Glossary Egyptian Nightjar Egyptian Nightjar Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. ​ Its plumage is much paler than the European Nightjar . The adult is sand-colours, barred and streaked with buff and brown. The under parts are sandy or whitish. It is smaller, but relatively longer-winged and longer-tailed than the more widespread species. Like other nightjars, it has a wide gape, long wings, soft downy plumage and nocturnal habits. The male has tiny white wing spots. ​ ​ Diet The Nightjar's diet is made up of invertebrates, including moths, flies and beetles. ​ Longevity record 11 years Buqrajq Abjad / Buqrajq tal-Eġittu Caprimulgus aegyptius Caprimulgiformes Caprimulgidae Very rare Back to Glossary Usually seen in - ​ Occasionally seen in March - April, November Click on the image to open slideshow 1/0 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 24 - 27 53 - 58 70 - 90 Great Spotted Cuckoo Great Spotted Cuckoo Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually or in pairs. ​ This species is slightly larger than the common cuckoo in length, but looks much larger with its broad wings and long narrow tail. The adult is grey above with a slender body, long tail and strong legs. It has a grey cap, grey wings, a yellowish face and upper breast, and white underparts. Sexes are similar. The juveniles have blackish upperparts and cap, and chestnut primary wing feathers. This species has a magpie-like flight. It is a bird of warm open country with trees. ​ ​ Diet It feeds on insects, spiders, small reptiles and hairy caterpillars, which are distasteful to many birds. ​ Longevity record - Sultan il-Gamiem tat-Toppu Clamator glandarius Cuculiformes Cuculidae Rare Back to Glossary Usually seen in February - April ​ Occasionally seen in May - July, August - September Click on the image to open slideshow 1/0 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 35 - 39 58 - 66 140 - 210 Common Cuckoo Common Cuckoo Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. ​ Slate grey upperparts with barred white underparts. Female and juvenile sometimes rufous brown. Male with defined grey breast in contrast to barred white belly, female with diffusely barred chest and throat. Yellow iris and thin bill. Wings and tail long and slender, often giving the impression of a small falcon. Often perches with a more horizontal posture than hawks or falcons, i.e. tail pointing backwards and not towards the ground, and drooping wings. In flight wings are not raise above horizontal plane, and it seldom glides like raptors. ​ ​ Diet It feeds on insects, spiders, small reptiles and hairy caterpillars, which are distasteful to many birds. ​ Longevity record 12 years 11 months (Found dead in Germany, 6023421) Sultan il-Gamiem Cuculus canorus Cuculiformes Cuculidae Fairly common Usually seen in March - May, August - October ​ Occasionally seen in June - July, November Click on the image to open slideshow Female rufous morph (23-04-17) 1/21 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 32 - 36 54 - 60 80 - 160 Back to Glossary *Some information was sourced from ''BirdID Nord University''.

  • Statistics | Birds of Malta

    Statistics & Records The interest for bird observation from the hunting community and the general public had increased in the last few years, whilst the technological progress had lowered the prices to purchase photographic equipment which makes good quality pictures affordable. Social media have thus became sources that are being used to take statistical data of sightings. Every so often, new bird species are recorded from social media platforms, splits in the taxonomy order and genuine sightings recorded from the hunting community, which sightings are usually seen by a number of hunters whilst being out in the countryside. As of 2024, there are 432 bird species recorded in the Maltese Islands, excluding hypothetical records. These are split in 'Sighting occurrences' and identified as per hereunder. In this page we have included a table of all the recorded bird species, their occurrence and the months in which it is best to encounter (denoted by 'o ') and those other months that a species can be seen occasionally or have been recorded in the past (denoted by 'x '). Vagrant species have the number of known records listed in the 5th column, which also includes the latest date of known sighting. It should be assumed that the number of vagrants is far larger than what is denoted. However, the number of known records can be used for comparison between one vagrant and another. Sighting Occurrence ​ Common Fairly common Scarce Very scarce Rare Very rare Vagrant Hypothetical Introduced No. of species 20 79 48 47 29 43 163 36 2 No. of recorded species as of 2024 432 Click for 'Yearly Sightings 2020+' 'o' - Mostly seen in those months 'x' - Can be seen/was recorded, in those months Search LIST OF RECORDS (Feb 2024)

  • Owls, Hoop, Peck, Bee-Eat, Roll, Kingf, | Birds of Malta

    Owls, Hoopoes, Wrynecks, Bee-Eaters, Rollers, Kingfishers & Orioles Barn Owl Western Barn Owl Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. A beautiful, very pale owl with a diagnostic, heart-shaped face and black eyes. Underparts white to buff. Buff-bellied individuals most likely to be confused with other owls, but note lack of barring and streaking. Instead the underparts may be covered in small spots. Underwing almost white. Posture upright, both on ground and when perched. Flight-pattern variable, but often hunts from low above ground in slow and buoyant flight. ​ ​ Diet The natural diet of the Barn Owl in the wild comprises small mammals, mainly rodents. A Barn Owl will usually swallow small prey items whole. It is much better to provide small food items for Barn Owls rather than small parts of larger animals (such as pieces of meat). ​ Longevity record 17 years 11 months (A bird found dead in the Netherlands, 102460) Barbaġann Tyto alba Strigiformes Tytonidae Rare Usually seen in May, October - December ​ Occasionally seen in January - April, June, August ​ ​ 29-10-17 29-10-17 29-10-17 1/2 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 33 - 39 80 - 95 280 - 400 Back to Glossary Click on the image to open slideshow Cucumiau Little Owl Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Also known as 'Cucumiau'. A small, tubby and compact owl with long legs, yellow eyes and stern expression. Upperparts greyish brown to buff, with boldest white spots of any small owl in the region. Underparts whitish with heavy, brown streaking. Flight characteristic, with alternating wing flapping and closed wings. Runs, or even hops along the ground. Posture mostly erect, but hunched when in alarm. ​ ​ Diet Diet consists primarily of crickets, grasshoppers and other invertebrates such as beetles and earthworms, as well as small mammals. Small birds are also taken during the breeding season. Little Owls are most active at dawn and dusk, and after dark when most hunting occurs. ​ Longevity record 11 years 1 months (UK, ES 03970) Kokka tat-Tikki Athene noctua Strigiformes Strigidae Vagrant ​ Usually seen in - ​ Occasionally seen in March, October ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/0 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 23 - 28 50 - 57 105 - 260 Back to Glossary Scops Owl Eurasian Scops Owl Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. Small, starling sized owl. Smaller than Little Owl. Perches in upright position. Ear-tufts not prominent when relaxed, but gives angular shape to head. Plumage appears uniform, and colour varies from brown to rufous-brown. At closer range, whitish spots on shoulders and yellow eyes with dark surround, are visible. Appears long-winged in flight. ​ ​ Diet Scops owls hunt from perches in semi-open landscapes. They prefer areas which contain old trees with hollows; these are home to their prey which includes insects, reptiles, small mammals such as bats and mice and other small birds. The owls will also eat earthworms, amphibians and aquatic invertebrates. ​ Longevity record 6 years 11 months (Hungary, 392864) Kokka / Kokka tas-Siġar Otus scops Strigiformes Strigidae Scarce ​ Usually seen in April - May, September - November ​ Occasionally seen in March, June, December ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 15-10-17 29-09-18 1/6 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 16 - 20 47 - 54 60 - 135 Back to Glossary Long-eared Owl Long-eared Owl Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually and occasionally in pairs. A medium sized, brown and long-winged owl, with long ear-tufts and deep orange eyes. Only half the size of Eagle Owl. Differs from the more similar Short-eared Owl by darker (orange) eyes, longer ear-tufts and heavily streaked lower belly. In flight, note paler wing-tips (only finely barred, not tipped black). ​ ​ Diet Their principal prey are rodents and small hares. Long-eared owls also occasionally eat small birds, small snakes, and insects. ​ Longevity record 17 years 11 months (A shot bird in Finland, H-7998) Qattus / Kukkun / Kokka tal-Qrun Asio otus Strigiformes Strigidae Very scarce ​ Back to Glossary Usually seen in September - November ​ ​ Occasionally seen in February - June, December ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/0 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 35 - 37 84 - 95 210 - 370 Short-eared Owl Short-eared Owl Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually and in small groups. A medium sized owl, which can give a very pale impression in flight. Quite similar to a Long-eared Owl with folded tufts, but differs in bright yellow eyes, darker wing-tips and heavily streaked breast in contrast to pale belly. ​ ​ Diet Several owls may hunt over the same open area. Its food consists mainly of rodents, especially voles, but it will eat other small mammals such as mice, ground squirrels, shrews, rats, bats, muskrats and moles. ​ Longevity record 20 years 9 months (Found dead in Germany, 3066160) Kokka tax-Xagħri Asio flammeus Strigiformes Strigidae Fairly common ​ Back to Glossary Usually seen in March - April, September - November ​ ​ Occasionally seen in August, December - February ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/18 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 34 - 43 90 - 105 206 - 475 Hoopoe Eurasian Hoopoe Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually or in small groups. Always unmistakable. Distinct, foldable, fan-like crest. Rounded, rectangular wings and long curved bill. Buff body, black wings and tail with conspicuous white barring. Catches the eye when flying by in undulating, butterfly-like motion. ​ ​ Diet The diet of the Eurasian hoopoe is mostly composed of insects, although small reptiles, frogs and plant matter such as seeds and berries are sometimes taken as well. It is a solitary forager which typically feeds on the ground ​ Longevity record 5-10 years Daqquqa tat-Toppu Upupa epops Bucerotiformes Upupidae Fairly common Back to Glossary Usually seen in March - April, August - September ​ Occasionally seen in February, May - June, October - November ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/25 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 25 - 29 44 - 48 70 - 85 Wryneck Eurasian Wryneck Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. ​ The Wryneck is the only type of Woodpecker that migrates regularly over Malta. Its plumage is a mix of rusty, creamy brown and grey, resembling a nightjar. A rather unmistakable bird, despite the lack of striking plumage features. Behaviour both passerine- and woodpecker-like, but with less woodpecker-like tree clinging. Often feeds on the ground. May give a reptile-like impression. ​ Diet The diet of the Eurasian wryneck consists chiefly of ants but beetles and their larvae, moths, spiders and woodlice are also eaten. ​ Longevity record 6 years 10 months, (Czech Republic, Z 735064) Bulebbiet / Sultan is-Summien Jynx torquilla Piciformes Picidae Fairly common ​ Usually seen in March - April, September - November ​ Occasionally seen in February, May, August ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 16-04-2017 1/15 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 16 - 18 25 - 27 32 - 43 Back to Glossary Blue-cheeked Bee Eater Blue-cheeked Bee-eater Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually, in small groups or together with European Bee-eaters. Although the sighting occurrence is classified as very rare, these birds are being sighted nearly every year as of 2017. ​ A predominantly green bee-eater having. Its face has blue sides with a black eye stripe, and a yellow and brown throat; the beak is black. Sexes are mostly alike but the tail-streamers of the female are shorter. ​ Blue-cheeked bee-eaters may nest solitarily or in loose colonies of up to ten birds. They may also nest in colonies with European bee-eaters . The nests are located in sandy banks, embankments, low cliffs or on the shore of the Caspian Sea. They make a relatively long tunnel of 1 to 3 m in length in which the four to eight (usually six or seven), spherical white eggs are laid. Both the male and the female take care of the eggs, although the female alone incubates them at night. ​ Diet Blue-cheeked Bee-Eaters are insectivorous, eating mainly flying insects. They can eat dangerous insects such as bees, wasps and hornets which are rendered harmless before being eaten: the tail (and sting) of the insects is rubbed against the perch to express the venom and often the sting itself. ​ Longevity record - Qerd in-Naħal Aħdar Merops persicus Coraciiformes Meropidae Very rare ​ Usually seen in - ​ Occasionally seen in March - May, September ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/8 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 28 - 32 35 - 39 38 - 56 Back to Glossary European Bee-eater European Bee-eater Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen in groups or large flocks but rarely individually. ​ Unmistakable if seen well. Stunning, bright yellow throat and turquoise underparts. Upperside of wings multicoloured with noticeable light buff shoulders. In flight the underwing shows a black trailing edge, which on the secondaries becomes broader closer to the body. Often flies high and then reveals itself only by its flight call. ​ ​ Diet European Bee-Eaters are insectivorous, eating mainly flying insects. They can eat dangerous insects such as bees, wasps and hornets which are rendered harmless before being eaten: the tail (and sting) of the insects is rubbed against the perch to express the venom and often the sting itself. ​ Longevity record 5 years 11 months (Germany, NA 15042) Qerd in-Naħal Merops apiaster Coraciiformes Meropidae Fairly common Usually seen in April - June, August - September ​ Occasionally seen in March, July, October ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/30 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 25 - 29 36 - 40 44 - 78 Back to Glossary Roller European Roller Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually or in small groups. ​ Unmistakable if seen well. Corvoid-like at a distance. Tail is however quite a bit shorter, and wings slightly longer. Flight-feathers dark, contrasting with turquois coverts, both below and above. Underparts especially striking in flight, being pale blue (sometimes seemingly white) all over, except dark flight-feathers and base of tail. Bill heavy. Immature duller than adults with faint streaked breast and slightly rufous coverts. Wing-beats deep and regular. Flies mostly in a straight line. Migrating birds move in characteristic procession-like formations. ​ ​ Diet European rollers are carnivores. Their diet includes large insects, small reptiles, rodents, and even frogs. The nestlings mostly eat grasshoppers and bush crickets. ​ Longevity record 9 years 2 months (A shot bird in Poland, E 30905) Farruġ Coracias garrulus Coraciiformes Coraciidae Scarce ​ Usually seen in April - May, September ​ Occasionally seen in June - August, October ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/18 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 29 - 32 52 - 58 125 - 160 Back to Glossary Kingfisher Common Kingfisher Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually or in small groups. ​ Unmistakable bird in most situations. Azure blue above, and orangy brown below. Very short tail, and large head with long and heavy bill. Often overlooked despite it's bright colours, due to small size and obscuring habitat. Often one only catches a glimpse of the light blue back, when it flies away close to the water surface in a whirring, darting motion. ​ ​ Diet Kingfishers eat mainly fish but they also take aquatic insects, freshwater shrimps and tadpoles to top up their diet. ​ Longevity record 21 years 0 months (Belgium, N 18630) Għasfur ta' San Marti Alcedo atthis Coraciiformes Alcedinidae Common Usually seen in August - September ​ Occasionally seen in October - March, June - July ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 18-08-18 1/16 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 17 - 20 24 - 26 16 - 23 Back to Glossary Golden Oriole Eurasian Golden Oriole Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually, in small groups and in small flocks. ​ Adult male unmistakable if seen well. Body and head bright yellow, lores, wings and tail black. Females and young males less distinct, with lime-green back, pale, streaked underparts and black wings and tail. Bill quite strong with reddish colour in adults, and grey in young birds. Despite the bright plumage the bird is difficult to see due to skulking behaviour in foliage. Usually spotted when moving from tree to tree in undulating flight. Then resembles a large thrush or woodpecker, quickly darting upwards into the next tree-top. ​ ​ Diet Orioles feed on fruits, nectar and insects. They are capable of dispersing the seeds of many berry-bearing plants including the invasive Lantana camara. An oriole has been recorded preying on southern flying lizards. ​ Longevity record 10 years 11 months (UK, RA 59406) Tajra Safra Oriolus oriolus Passeriformes Oriolidae Fairly common Usually seen in April - May, August - September ​ Occasionally seen in June - July, October ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/25 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 22 - 25 44 - 47 68 - 84 Back to Glossary *Some information was sourced from ''BirdID Nord University''.

  • Terns, Petrels & Shearwater | Birds of Malta

    Terns & Shearwaters Little Tern Little Tern Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. ​ White forehead with white wedge above eye in all plumages. Legs, and most of bill yellow in adult breeding plumage. Very small and longwinged tern. Back paler grey and belly whiter. First primaries form a dark front edge to wing. In winter the bill darkens, legs turn a dirty yellow and the white forehead expands. Juvenile resembles adult winter, but has yellowish bill base and scale patterned back. Flight fluttering with rapid wing-beats, which together with size, is usually sufficient to determine the species. ​ ​ Diet Fish, crustacean and invertebrates. ​ Longevity record 23 years, 11 months (Germany, 80303320) Ċirlewwa Żgħira Sternula albifrons Charadriiformes Laridae Very rare Usually seen in April - June, September ​ Occasionally seen in July - August, November ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Ad. summer Yellow bill with black end, black crown and nape with a white forehead as in a summer plumage. Upperwings and saddle grey in adults. Ad. summer Yellow bill with black end, black crown and nape with a white forehead as in a summer plumage. Upperwings and saddle grey in adults. 1st winter The image is not so clear but the nape looks white, the bill is dark and the upperwings are also dark and unclean which may indicate some immature feathers. So probably it is a 1st winter bird. Ad. summer Yellow bill with black end, black crown and nape with a white forehead as in a summer plumage. Upperwings and saddle grey in adults. 1/12 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 22 - 28 45 - 55 47 - 63 Back to Glossary Gull-billed Tern Gull-billed Tern Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen in small groups or large flocks but sometimes seen individually. ​ Easily confused with Sandwich Tern but choice of habitat usually different. Adults differs by noticeably shorter and deeper bill, lacking yellow tip. Wings are broader, tail is shorter and only slightly forked. Lacks crest. Primaries with dark trailing edge, especially underside. Rump pale grey, and there is no contrast between grey back and white tail as in Sandwich Tern. Loses the black cap in winter, but keeps a black mask (less black on head than Sandwich T). Immature birds also gives a paler impression. The back is almost uniform in colour, and the wings also have only diffuse markings. The dark trailing edge to the primaries is present though, together with dark eye mask. Rest of head is pale. Flight slightly front-heavy with shallow wing-beats. Catches insects in the air and from the ground in flight. Rarely plunge-dives. Prefers fresh water, and is often seen near wetlands, rivers and flooded fields, but also in salt water during migration. ​ ​ Diet Unlike most terns, the Gull-billed Tern has a broad diet and does not depend on fish. Instead it commonly feeds on insects, small crabs, and other prey snatched from the ground, air, or even bushes. It is also known to eat small chicks of other tern species. ​ Longevity record 15 years (Denmark) Ċirlewwa Munqarha Oħxon Gelochelidon nilotica Charadriiformes Laridae Very scarce Back to Glossary Usually seen in March - October ​ Occasionally seen in February, November ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Adult moulting to summer plumage Note dark trailing edge on the primaries and the stronger bill synonym with the Gull-billed tern. Forehead, crown and nape all black indicating an adult bird in a summer plumage. Adult moulting to summer plumage Note dark trailing edge on the primaries and the stronger bill synonym with the Gull-billed tern. Forehead, crown and nape all black indicating an adult bird in a summer plumage. Adult moulting to summer plumage Note dark trailing edge on the primaries and the stronger bill synonym with the Gull-billed tern. Forehead, crown and nape all black indicating an adult bird in a summer plumage. 1/24 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 33 - 43 85 - 103 130 - 320 Caspian Tern Caspian Tern Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. ​ Very large tern, with deep, dagger-like, blood-red bill with dark tip. Large, black cap reaching well below the eyes. Grey upperparts and white underparts. Rather short tail. Outer primaries distinctly darker than the rest of upperwing, and outer underwing almost black. Unmistakable from the size alone, and leaves a gull-like impression, lacking the elegance of smaller terns. Immatures with paler bill and white forehead (as in adult winter), and markedly speckled back. Hovers and dives. Often rests on the surface, feeding like a gull. ​ ​ Diet Caspian terns eat mainly fish, with some crayfish and insects occasionally. They forage by flying above shallow water, usually along a shoreline. As most terns do, they fly with their heads down, peering into the water, when they see prey, they may hover for a moment before making a sharp dive ​ Longevity record 30 years (Ring seen in the field in Sweden, U 22698) Ċirlewwa Prima Hydroprogne caspia Charadriiformes Laridae Very scarce Usually seen in March - June, August - November ​ Occasionally seen in January, July, December ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 2nd summer to adult winter Note very few dirty secondaries as in 2nd birds. Head is not completely black as it is moulting to its winter plumage. Tail is all white so this bird is a 2nd year bird moulting to a winter plumage. 1st winter Note dirty secondaries, median, upper coverts and tail all indicating a 1st winter bird. Crown and nape are nearly all black so it is probably moulting its 1st summer plumage. 2nd summer to adult winter Note very few dirty secondaries as in 2nd birds. Head is not completely black as it is moulting to its winter plumage. Tail is all white so this bird is a 2nd year bird moulting to a winter plumage. 2nd summer to adult winter Note very few dirty secondaries as in 2nd birds. Head is not completely black as it is moulting to its winter plumage. Tail is all white so this bird is a 2nd year bird moulting to a winter plumage. 1/7 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 48 - 56 127 - 140 574 - 782 Back to Glossary Whiskered Tern Whiskered Tern Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. ​ Largest marsh tern. Liable to confusion with Sterna terns due to black cap, in addition to other marsh terns. All marsh terns (Chlidonias) differs from Sterna by lack of tail streamers, short tail with shallow fork, shorter wings and stiffer flight. Marsh terns don't plunge-dive for food but picks from surface (though Whiskered Tern may belly-plunge), mostly in fresh water. Adult Whiskered Tern easily told from other marsh terns by distinct black cap contrasting to white cheeks and throat. Underwing pale with diffuse dark trailing edge. Bill dark blood red. Adult winter: Very pale with no distinct markings except for ill-defined black mask stretching from eye to eye across nape. Forehead white and with crown white speckles. Bill black. Immature: Yellowish brown saddle with coarse dark pattern, though these are moulted in early autumn. Usually lacks dark carpal bar and cap ill-defined. Whiskered Tern generally stockier built than other marsh terns. Both immatures and adult winter show grey rump (different from Common, Arctic and White-Winged), and bill is dagger-shaped (most apparent in males). ​ ​ Diet Small fish, amphibians, insects and crustaceans. ​ Longevity record - Ċirlewwa tal-Mustaċċi Chlidonias hybrida Charadriiformes Laridae Very rare Back to Glossary Usually seen in - ​ Occasionally seen in April - September ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Ad. summer Dark grey body, yet darker belly, dark red bill and legs, black forehead, crown and nape as in summer adults. White face and vent. Ad. summer Dark grey body, yet darker belly, dark red bill and legs, black forehead, crown and nape as in summer adults. White face and vent. Adult summer Dark grey body, yet darker belly, dark red bill and legs, black forehead, crown and nape as in summer adults. White face and vent. Ad. summer Dark grey body, yet darker belly, dark red bill and legs, black forehead, crown and nape as in summer adults. White face and vent. 1/5 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 23 - 29 64 - 70 83 - 92 White -winged Tern White-winged Tern Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually but can be seen in a very small group. ​ Breeding adult easily identified by white tail/rump combined with jet black under wing coverts and silvery upper wing. Immature with brownish back contrasting with pale, silvery upper wings and pale rump. Broad white collar, and lacks dark breast patch of immature Black Tern. Adult winter most liable to confusion with other terns, but upperparts much paler than Black Tern. Contrasting dark outer primaries and secondaries to rest of wing. Often retains some black under coverts even in winter which is diagnostic if seen. Slightly more compact than Black Tern and often recalls Little gull in shape. Bill noticeably shorter and thinner than in Whiskered Tern. ​ ​ Diet Mostly feed on insects and small fish, as well as frogs and other aquatic critters. They usually fly slowly over water to pick prey off the surface of water or in flight, or they make take it from vegetation. ​ Longevity record 21 years Ċirlewwa tal-Ġewnaħ Abjad Chlidonias leucopterus Charadriiformes Laridae Very rare Back to Glossary Usually seen in April - June, August - September ​ Occasionally seen in October ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Adult summer (01-05-2017) Black head, neck, breast and belly. Dark grey saddle. Black eyes and beak. Silver white upperwings under underwing primaries and secondaries. Black underwing coverts. All white tail, rump, undertail coverts and vent. Adult summer (01-05-2017) Black head, neck, breast and belly. Dark grey saddle. Black eyes and beak. Silver white upperwings under underwing primaries and secondaries. Black underwing coverts. All white tail, rump, undertail coverts and vent. Adult summer (01-05-2017) Black head, neck, breast and belly. Dark grey saddle. Black eyes and beak. Silver white upperwings under underwing primaries and secondaries. Black underwing coverts. All white tail, rump, undertail coverts and vent. Adult summer (01-05-2017) Black head, neck, breast and belly. Dark grey saddle. Black eyes and beak. Silver white upperwings under underwing primaries and secondaries. Black underwing coverts. All white tail, rump, undertail coverts and vent. 1/9 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 20 - 23 58 - 67 42 - 79 Black Tern Black Tern Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually but can be seen in small groups. ​ Unmistakable in breeding plumage, but otherwise easily confused with other marsh terns. Breeding plumage with black head and belly, but pale underwing and grey rump. When in immature and winter plumage it differs from marsh terns by slimmer body and wings (compared to White-winged tern), and relatively long, thin bill. Both immature and adult winter show dark front edge of wing, and characteristic dark shoulder patch at wing base. Back is dark in immature birds. Grey rump in all plumages. Flight usually different from Sterna-terns, with erratic dives for no apparent reason, and "aimless" change of direction. Note that when foraging over saltwater, flight becomes more Sterna-like. ​ ​ Diet Mostly feed on insects and small fish, as well as frogs, tadpoles, spiders, earthworms, crustaceans and leeches. In migration and winter at sea, eats mostly small fish, also some crustaceans and insects. They usually fly slowly over water to pick prey off the surface of water or in flight, or they make take it from vegetation. ​ Longevity record 21 years (Found dead in Denmark, 8045639) Ċirlewwa Sewda Chlidonias niger Charadriiformes Laridae Fairly common Usually seen in August - September ​ Occasionally seen in July, October ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Ad. summer moulting to winter Grey saddle as in adults. Dark legs as in a summer plumage but forehead and nape are already moulting to white. So an adult summer bird moulting to a winter plumage. 1/13 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 23 - 28 57 - 65 60 - 86 Back to Glossary Common Tern Common Tern Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence Info* Usually seen individually but can be seen in small groups. Differs from Arctic Tern in longer head, and more orangy red, rather than deep red, bill. Tip of bill usually black. Legs longer, but tail streamers shorter than Arctic Tern. Underparts of primaries with diffusely bordered dark trailing edge (sharply bordered in Arctic Tern). Upper side of primaries with dark wedge (less apparent in winter). Secondaries opaque. Crest more apparent than in Arctic Tern and underside whiter. Juveniles with buff back. Diet Like most terns, this species feeds by plunge-diving for fish, either in the sea or in freshwater, but molluscs , crustaceans and other invertebrate prey may form a significant part of the diet in some areas. Longevity record 33 years, 0 months (Read in the field in Ireland and the Great Britain, CK39045) Ċirlewwa tal-Baħar Sterna hirundo Charadriiformes Laridae Very rare Usually seen in June - September Occasionally seen in March - May, October - November Click on the image to open slideshow 1/10 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 32 - 39 72 - 83 86 - 127 Back to Glossary Lesser Cresed Tern Lesser Crested Tern Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* A vagrant bird with a very few records. The latest record seen on the 24th Aug 20 by Patrick Spiteri at Għadira s-Safra. ​ This is a medium-large tern, very similar in size and general appearance to its very close relative, the Sandwich tern. The summer adult has a black cap, black legs and a long sharp orange bill. The upperwings, rump and central tail feathers are grey and the underparts white. The primary flight feathers darken during the summer. In winter, the forehead becomes white. The grey rump is a useful flight identification feature distinguishing it from the related species. Juvenile lesser crested terns resemble same-age Sandwich terns, but with a yellow-orange bill, and paler overall, with only faint dark crescents on the mantle feathers. ​ ​ Diet Mostly feed on insects and small fish, as well as frogs, tadpoles, spiders, earthworms, crustaceans and leeches. In migration and winter at sea, eats mostly small fish, also some crustaceans and insects. They usually fly slowly over water to pick prey off the surface of water or in flight, or they make take it from vegetation. ​ Longevity record 31 years Ċirlewwa tal-Libja Thalasseus bengalensis Charadriiformes Laridae Vagrant Usually seen in - ​ Occasionally seen in January, July - September ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Ad. summer moulting to winter Clean upperwings and grey rump and uppertail as in adults. Forehead is moulting to white indicating a summer adult moulting to a winter plumage. Ad. summer moulting to winter Clean upperwings and grey rump and uppertail as in adults. Forehead is moulting to white indicating a summer adult moulting to a winter plumage. Ad. summer moulting to winter winter Clean upperwings and grey rump and uppertail as in adults. Forehead is moulting to white indicating a summer adult moulting to a winter plumage. Ad. summer moulting to winter Clean upperwings and grey rump and uppertail as in adults. Forehead is moulting to white indicating a summer adult moulting to a winter plumage. 1/3 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 35 - 43 88 - 105 185 - 242 Back to Glossary Sandwich Tern Sandwich Tern Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually but can be seen in small number groups. ​ Large tern with black bill, with yellow tip (adults). Bill all black in juveniles. Long black cap and shaggy crest. Generally leaves a much whiter impression than other terns in the region (except Roseate Tern). Adult summer: Yellow bill-tip. Tail pure white, and upperparts pale grey. Outer primaries darker than rest of wing, and contrast increases in worn plumage. Broad white trailing edge to inner wing. Underside of primaries with faint narrow dark trailing edge. Forehead white in adult winter and first winter plumage. Juveniles: scaly upperparts and dark bill. Less evenly coloured than juvenile Gull-billed Tern. First winter birds similar to juveniles, but back purer grey and bill shorter. Can be mistaken for Gull-billed Tern, but note different profile. Flight powerful with evenly narrow wings and a front-heavy appearance, due to the long head and bill. Often dives from high above the surface and stays under water longer than Common and Arctic T. ​ ​ Diet Mostly fish. Feeds mainly on smaller fish, such as sand lance and mullet; also eats shrimp, squid, marine worms, and many insects. ​ Longevity record 31 years (Trapped in the UK, DS 61571) Ċirlewwa tax-Xitwa Thalasseus sandvicensus Charadriiformes Laridae Common Usually seen in September - April ​ Occasionally seen in all other months ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Ad. winter Clean grey upperwings indicative of adults. White forehead as in winter plumage. Ad. winter All white body and underwings as in adults. White forehead as in winter. Ad. winter Clean grey upperwings indicative of adults. White forehead as in winter plumage. 1/11 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 36 - 46 86 - 105 130 - 285 Back to Glossary Mediterrenean Storm Petrel Mediterrenean Storm Petrel Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually or in small groups. ​ A small, square-tailed bird which is entirely black except for a broad, white rump and a white band on the under wings, and it has a fluttering, bat-like flight. The Mediterranean population is a subspecies on its own having its strongholds at Filfla Island (Malta), Sicily , and the Balearic Islands . ​ The storm petrel cannot survive on islands where land mammals such as rats and cats have been introduced, and it suffers natural predation from gulls , skuas , owls , and falcons . ​ Diet It feeds on small fish, squid, and zooplankton , while pattering on the sea's surface, and can find oily edible items by smell. ​ Longevity record 32 years (Re-captured bird on Filfla) Kanġu ta' Filfla Hydrobates pelagicus melitensis Procellariiformes Hydrobatidae Common Back to Glossary Usually seen in March - August ​ Occasionally seen in all other months, resident species ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/17 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 14 - 18 32 - 39 22 - 43 Scopoli's Shearwater Scopoli's Shearwater Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually or in groups. ​ This species is closely related to Cory’s Shearwater (Calonectris borealis), with which it was considered conspecific for many years. ​ A large shearwater with pale upperparts and heavy, yellowish bill. Large grey head. The grey neck forms a diagnostic, contrasting line from wing base to base of bill (most other shearwaters have white neck-sides). Armpits usually pure white. Underside of wings white, framed by black flight feathers. Flight action calm and distinct. Long glides alternates with 3-4 slow wingbeats. Wingtips always bent downwards, and wings slightly angled back. Often soars. Field identification between the Scopoli's and Cory's is usually impossible, and requires ideal conditions. In diomedea the white in the coverts extends in a white wedge into the hand, through the base of the primaries, i.e. the primary feathers (p6 – p9) on Cory’s are solidly dark or have variable (but always small) amounts of white on the primaries (from the primary coverts to the wingtip), but no white is visible on p10 at all (from the primary coverts to the wingtip), while Scopoli’s, however, shows distinct and long white tongues/inner webs on the primaries, including p10, eventually leading into dark wingtips and giving the impression of a much whiter underwing. ​ Diet Primarily fish, but also takes squid and crustaceans, and zooplankton. It takes some offal around the fishing boats during the breeding season. ​ Longevity record 24 years Ċiefa Calonectris diomedea Procellariiformes Procellariidae Common Usually seen in May - October ​ Occasionally seen in all other months, resident species ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/18 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 44 - 49 117 - 135 544 - 738 Back to Glossary Cory's Shearwater Cory's Shearwater Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* ​ This species is closely related to Scopoli’s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea), with which it was considered conspecific for many years. ​ A large shearwater with pale upperparts and heavy, yellowish bill. Large grey head. The grey neck forms a diagnostic, contrasting line from wing base to base of bill (most other shearwaters have white neck-sides). Armpits usually pure white. Underside of wings white, framed by black flight feathers. Flight action calm and distinct. Long glides alternates with 3-4 slow wingbeats. Wingtips always bent downwards, and wings slightly angled back. Often soars. Field identification between the Scopoli's and Cory's is usually impossible, and requires ideal conditions. In diomedea the white in the coverts extends in a white wedge into the hand, through the base of the primaries, i.e. the primary feathers (p6 – p9) on Cory’s are solidly dark or have variable (but always small) amounts of white on the primaries (from the primary coverts to the wingtip), but no white is visible on p10 at all (from the primary coverts to the wingtip), while Scopoli’s, however, shows distinct and long white tongues/inner webs on the primaries, including p10, eventually leading into dark wingtips and giving the impression of a much whiter underwing. ​ Diet Primarily fish, but also takes squid and crustaceans, and zooplankton. It takes some offal around the fishing boats during the breeding season. ​ Longevity record 24 years (Found dead in Portugal, L 000366) Ċiefa Kbira Calonectris borealis Procellariiformes Procellariidae Vagrant Usually seen in - ​ ​ Occasionally seen in - ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/0 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 48 - 56 113 - 126 605 - 1060 Back to Glossary Yelkouan Shearwater Yelkouan Shearwater Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually or in groups. ​ Yelkouan shearwaters breed on islands and coastal cliffs in the eastern and central Mediterranean . Most winter in that sea, but small numbers enter the Atlantic in late summer. This species nests in burrows which are only visited at night to avoid predation by large gulls . ​ It has the typically "shearing" flight of the genus, dipping from side to side on stiff wings with few wingbeats, the wingtips almost touching the water. This bird looks like a flying cross, with its wing held at right angles to the body, and it changes from very dark brown to white as the dark upperparts and paler undersides are alternately exposed as it travels low over the sea. ​ ​ Diet Primarily fish, but also takes squid and crustaceans. It takes some offal around the fishing boats. ​ Longevity record 24 years Garnija tal-Mediterran Puffinus yelkouan Procellariiformes Procellariidae Common Back to Glossary Usually seen in November - August ​ Occasionally seen in - ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Yelkouan Shearwater Note thinner darker bill, smaller size, dark undertail coverts and a lateral dark bar under the wing as opposed to Cory's and Scopoli's. 1/11 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 33 - 37 c.79 349 - 416 *Some information was sourced from ''BirdID Nord University''.

  • Whimbrels, Curlews, Snipes & Sandpipers | Birds of Malta

    Whimbrels, Curlews, Sandpipers & Snipes Whimbrel Eurasian Whimbrel Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually or in small groups but can be seen in larger flocks.​ ​ Notably smaller than Curlew. Bill is shorter and curves more closer to the tip. Markings on head much more prominent than in Curlew, with double dark lateral crown-stripes (light stripe on top of crown) and dark eye-stripe. Note that young Curlews have noticeably shorter bill than adults! Gives an overall darker impression than Curlew, especially underwing and flanks. ​ ​ Diet The whimbrel uses its long, curved bill to probe deep in the sand and mud for food. It wades in shallow water in search of crabs, fish, worms and molluscs. It also eats insects, seeds, berries, and leaves. ​ Longevity record 16 years (A shot bird in the UK, EH 49697) Gurlin Żgħir Numenius phaeopus Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Scarce ​ Usually seen in March - April, July - September ​ Occasionally seen in November - December ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Whimbrel (18-07-19) Note a darker and shorter bill and a white belly oppositely than the Eurasian Curlew. The bill is just around two times the length of the Whimbrel's head. The eye-stripe is darker than in E.Curlew and goes furtherly beyond the eye. Flock of Whimbrels (29-03-18) Whimbrels Note a darker and shorter bill and a white belly oppositely than the Eurasian Curlew. The bill is just around two times the length of the Whimbrel's head. The eye-stripe is darker than in E.Curlew and goes furtherly beyond the eye. Whimbrel (18-07-19) Note a darker and shorter bill and a white belly oppositely than the Eurasian Curlew. The bill is just around two times the length of the Whimbrel's head. The eye-stripe is darker than in E.Curlew and goes furtherly beyond the eye. 1/5 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 37 - 45 78 - 88 305 - 425 Back to Glossary Curlew Eurasian Curlew Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually or in small groups. Biggest wader in area. Differs from Whimbrel in longer bill with a more even curve, only diffuse head markings without crown stripes or marked eye-stripe. Note that young Curlews have much shorter bill than adults. Base of bill pinkish. Plumage gives a paler impression than Whimbrel, with paler underwings and flanks. ​ ​ Diet Feeds by probing soft mud for small invertebrates, but will also pick small crabs and earthworms off the surface. ​ Longevity record 31 years (Ring read in the field in the UK, FS 40887) Gurlin Numenius arquata Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Very scarce ​ Usually seen in March - April, October - November ​ Occasionally seen in August - September Eurasian Curlews (19-03-19) Note a very long bill which is just around three times the length of the Whimbrel's head in juveniles and males. An adult female will have its bill four times its head length as a rule of thumb. Eurasian Curlew Note a very long bill which is just around three times the length of the Whimbrel's head in juveniles and males. An adult female will have its bill four times its head length as a rule of thumb. Eurasian Curlew Note the very long bill which is just around three times the length of the Whimbrel's head in juveniles and males. An adult female will have its bill four times its head length as a rule of thumb. Also note the the eye-stripe does not go beyond the eye and the crown is striped and not dark as in the Whimbrel. Eurasian Curlews (19-03-19) Note a very long bill which is just around three times the length of the Whimbrel's head in juveniles and males. An adult female will have its bill four times its head length as a rule of thumb. 1/4 Click on the image to open slideshow Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 48 - 57 89 - 106 415 - 980 Back to Glossary Bar-tailed Godwit Bar-tailed Godwit Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. ​ Most likely to be confused with Black-tailed Godwit, but easily recognized in flight by plain dark wings, white wedge on back and barred tail. More difficult to identify when not flying. Generally more compact, heavier built and less upright than Black-tailed, and with clearly upcurved bill and shorter legs. Belly always unmarked. Base of bill dark in summer and pinkish in winter and in juveniles. Back with arrow-shaped streaking. Adult winter also streaked, and the pale supercilium reaches behind the eye. ​ Diet The bar-tailed godwit eats insects in the summer. Occasionally, it eats seeds and berries. In the winter and during migration, it wades in the water, probing in the mud with its long, thin bill for molluscs, crustaceans, snails, worms, and other aquatic invertebrates. ​ Longevity record 33 years (UK, DS 66532) Girwiel Denbu bl-Istrixxi Limosa lapponica Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Rare ​ Usually seen in September - October ​ Occasionally seen in March - July ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Bar-tailed Godwit Bar-tailed Godwit 1/1 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 33 - 41 62 - 72 190 - 400 Back to Glossary Black-tailed Godwit Black-tailed Godwit Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. ​ Most likely to be confused with Bar-tailed Godwit, but easily recognized in flight by its contrasting black and white wings and tail. More difficult to identify when not flying. Generally much leggier, more elegant and upright than Bar-tailed, and with straighter bill. Tibia especially long. Summer plumage with barred/spotted belly (never in Bar-tailed), and orange base of bill. Juveniles with scaled back, not arrow-shaped streaking. Adult winter with mainly uniformly grey plumage, and short supercilium not reaching behind the eye. ​ Diet The bar-tailed godwit eats insects in the summer. Occasionally, it eats seeds and berries. In the winter and during migration, it wades in the water, probing in the mud with its long, thin bill for mollusks, crustaceans, snails, worms, and other aquatic invertebrates. ​ Longevity record 23 years (Ring read in the field in the UK, EF 90838) Girwiel Denbu bl-Istrixxi Limosa limosa Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Very scarce ​ Usually seen in February - April ​ Occasionally seen in January, July - November ​ ​ 1/16 Click on the image to open slideshow Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 37 - 42 63 - 74 160 - 440 Back to Glossary Turnstone Ruddy Turnstone Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually or in small groups. ​ Adults unmistakable. White head with bold black markings and orangely brown back. Even more striking in flight, with white wedge on back, large white patches at base of wings, white wing-bars and black and white tail. Juvenile and winter plumage birds with similar white patches, but with darker head and greyish, dark brown back. Underside always pure white. Leaves a robust and compact impression, with heavy bill and square head. ​ Diet Ruddy Turnstones feed primarily on adult and larval flies and midges during the breeding season. They uncover their prey by flipping over rocks, pebbles, shells, or seaweed with their stout, slightly upturned bills. They also eat spiders, beetles, bees, and wasps. ​ Longevity record 21 years (UK, XS 56243) Monakella Imperjali Arenaria interpres Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Very scarce ​ Usually seen in April - May, August - September ​ Occasionally seen in June - July, October - December ​ ​ Adult summer moulting to winter plumage White crown but few darker streaks, white nape and collar, rufous back feathers and contrasting black breast indicate an adult in its breeding/summer plumage. But the white on the face and some feathers on the back and upperwings are turning black indicating that this bird is moulting in its winter plumage. In winter all the rufous feathers and the white feathers on its head will turn to darker brown. Adult summe White crown but few darker streaks, white nape and collar, rufous back feathers and contrasting black breast indicate an adult in its breeding/summer plumage. But the white on the face and some feathers on the back and upperwings are turning black indicating that this bird is moulting in its winter plumage. In winter all the rufous feathers and the white feathers on its head will turn to darker brown. Adult summer moulting to winter plumage White crown but few darker streaks, white nape and collar, rufous back feathers and contrasting black breast indicate an adult in its breeding/summer plumage. But the white on the face and some feathers on the back and upperwings are turning black indicating that this bird is moulting in its winter plumage. In winter all the rufous feathers and the white feathers on its head will turn to darker brown. 1/21 Click on the image to open slideshow Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 21 - 24 43 - 49 90 - 130 Back to Glossary Red Knot Red Knot Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually or in pairs. ​ Large, stocky Calidris. Easily identified when direct size-comparison with congeners possible. Elongated body shape and short legs. Bill robust, short and straight. Summer plumage: Upperparts speckled in brown and grey, underparts warm rufous brown, like Curlew Sandpiper. Legs dark. Winter- and juvenile plumage: Pale grey upperparts (scaly pattern in juveniles), and white belly. Legs greenish in both juveniles and winter-plumaged adults. Note pale grey rump and uniformly grey tail in flight. Wing-bars less prominent than in Sanderling. ​ ​ Diet Crab eggs, molluscs, insects, vegetation and seeds. During their migration and in the winter, the bird feeds on small invertebrates that live in mud, such as small molluscs, marine worms and crustaceans. ​ Longevity record 26 years , 8 months (Read in the field in the UK, CE 25745) Girwiela Saqajha Qosra Calidris canutus Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Very rare ​ Usually seen in - ​ Occasionally seen in May, August - September ​ 1/13 Click on the image to open slideshow Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 23 - 26 47 - 53 98 - 122 Back to Glossary Ruff Ruff Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually or in small groups. ​ A relatively large wader with long orange or greenish (juveniles) legs. Scaly back and medium long, slightly curved and heavy bill. Male in breeding plumage unmistakable with ruff in various colours and patterns. Characteristic upright posture and body shape with long neck, small head and humped back. Conspicuous white oval patches at upper base of tail. Notable difference in size between sexes (male largest). Often seen feeding in meadows and fields when away from breeding ground. ​ Diet Mostly eats insects, especially flies, beetles, caddisflies. Also eats small molluscs, crustaceans, spiders, worms, small fish and frogs. ​ Longevity record 13 years , 11 months (Accident trapped in a fishnet in Finland,AT-8167) Girwiela Calidris pugnax Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Fairly common ​ Usually seen in March - June, August - October ​ Occasionally seen in July, December ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/13 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 25 - 34 46 - 60 85 - 242 Back to Glossary Curlew Sandpiper Curlew Sandpiper Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually or in small groups. ​ Summer plumage: Warm, rufous brown below like Knot, but much smaller. Bill curved and much longer, and appearance more long-legged. Winter and juvenile plumage grey above and pale below. Differs from Dunlin in slightly longer legs and bill, more pronounced supercilium, no black patches on belly (some rufous summer feathers may show when moulting) and more upright stance. Juveniles with buff-pinkish tone to breast, and scaly upperparts. Always distinct in all plumages when flying, due to bright white and crescent-shaped rump-patch. ​ ​ Diet Feeds on crustaceans (amphipods and shrimps), molluscs, marine worms and insects (mainly flies and beetles). Insects are the main part of the diet during the breeding season. ​ Longevity record 19 years 8 months (A shot bird in Finland, PT-30356) Begazzina Ħamra Calidris ferruginea Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Scarce ​ Usually seen in April - May ​ Occasionally seen in July - October ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Adult moulting to a summer plumage (11-05-19) Neck, breast and belly turning into purple brown as in the summer/breeding plumage. 1/15 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 19 - 22 38 - 41 43 - 67 Back to Glossary Temminck's Stint Temminck's Stint Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. ​ A small wader with yellowish legs and short, almost straight, dark bill with pale base. Noticeably smaller than Dunlin, and with shorter and straighter bill. Similar in size to Little Stint, but legs light yellowish, tail longer with white edges and markings on back quite plain. Clear divide between markings of breast and white underparts. Juveniles with prominent scale-pattern on back. Upperparts of adults in winter plumage more evenly grey, lacking the star shaped spots of summer. Prefers fresh or brackish waters, even on migration. ​ ​ Diet They mostly eat insects and other small invertebrates. ​ Longevity record 14 years 11 months (Read in the field in Finland, X-509990) Tertuxa Griża Calidris temminckii Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Very scarce Usually seen in May - September ​ Occasionally seen in April, October ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Adult summer Rufous brown edges on some feathers on the back indicate an adult in summer plumage. 1/11 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 13 - 15 34 - 37 20 - 31 Back to Glossary Sanderling Sanderling Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually or in very small groups. ​ An energetic, stocky and robust wader. Black legs and bill. Black wing-bend (not always visible), and broad white wing-bars framed in black. Summer plumage with rufous head and back. Winter and juvenile plumaged birds gives a much whiter impression than all congeners, with light grey upperparts and pure white underside. Juveniles with star-shaped, black markings on back. Lacks hind toe. ​ ​ Diet Feeds on a wide variety of small creatures on beach, including sand crabs, amphipods, isopods, insects, marine worms, small molluscs; also may eat some carrion. Wintering birds on southern coasts may eat corn chips and other junk food left by people. ​ Longevity record 18 years 7 months (UK, BB 52147) Pispisella Bajda Calidris alba Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Very scarce Usually seen in May ​ Occasionally seen in April, August - October ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Adult in summer plumage moulting to winter (20-08-19) Note the few rufous feathers on the head and neck are moulting away and fresh grey feathers on the saddle and upperwings are emerging. Since this photo was taken in August it means that the bird is moulting to its winter plumage. Winter birds will have a pale grey crown and saddle. 1/14 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 18 - 21 35 - 39 50 - 60 Back to Glossary Dunlin Dunlin Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually or in very small groups. ​ Only small wader in the region with a dark or spotted belly. Bill quite long with slightly curved tip. Legs dark. Summer plumage with unmistakable large black patch on belly, and variable warm, rufous brown back. Juveniles and moulting adults usually shows at least some diagnostic dark spots on belly in contrast to white flanks. White V-shaped markings on back, but not as striking as in juvenile Little Stint. Only adults in winter plumage shows completely white underparts (and uniformly grey back). ​ ​ Diet The Dunlin eats insects and larvae, marine worms, small crustaceans, snails and small fish. Sometimes it is called the "sewing machine" because of the way it bobs its head up and down and pokes into the ground when it probes for food. ​ Longevity record 28 years 10 months (Denmark, 807017) Begazzina tat-Tizz Calidris alpina Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Fairly common ​ Usually seen in March - May, July - October ​ Occasionally seen in June ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Adult winter In winter plumage the saddle, crown and upperwings are grey. The breast will be full white and no black streaks are present on the head and chest. 1/13 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 17 - 21 32 - 36 35 - 62 Back to Glossary Little Stint Little Stint Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually or in very small groups. ​ A small compact wader with dark legs and short, almost straight dark bill. Noticeably smaller than Dunlin, and with shorter, and straighter bill. Similar in size to Temminck's Stint, but legs dark, tail shorter (and grey) and markings on back less plain. Juveniles with prominent white V on back, and split white supercilium. Upperparts of adults rufous brown in summer, and light grey in winter. ​ ​ Diet Mainly insects but also crustaceans and molluscs. ​ Longevity record 14 years 8 months (Found dead in the Czech Republic, RX 17327) Tertuxa Calidris minuta Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Fairly common ​ Usually seen in March - November ​ Occasionally seen in December ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Juvenile Pale hind neck, white stripes on back, white chin and breast with no black streakes and pale broad edges on upperwing feathers typical in juveniles. Adult summer moulting to winter (23-08-20) Buff on chest with black streaks indicative in adults. Head and back not so much rufous meaning that it is moulting to a winter plumage. Juvenile Pale hind neck, white stripes on back, white chin and breast with no black streakes and pale broad edges on upperwing feathers typical in juveniles. 1/10 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 14 - 15.5 27 - 30 20 - 30 Back to Glossary Terek Sandpiper Terek Sandpiper Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. ​ Slightly larger than the common sandpiper in length, its long upcurved bill – somewhat reminiscent of an avocet 's, but not as strongly curved – makes it very distinctive. As the scientific specific name implies, this wader has a grey back, face and breast in all plumages ; a white supercilium may appear more or less distinct. The belly is whitish and the feet yellow; the bill has a yellowish base, with the rest being black ​ ​ Diet Terek Sandpipers feed busily, walking briskly pecking at the surface or probing in shallow water, on soft wet intertidal mudflats. They eat crustaceans and insects, adding seeds, molluscs and spiders in their breeding grounds. ​ Longevity record 16 years (Finland, AT-73914) Bgazzina tax-Xifa Xenus cinereus Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Vagrant Usually seen in - ​ Occasionally seen in May - June, August ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/0 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 22 - 25 57 - 59 60 - 78 Back to Glossary Common Sandpiper Common Sandpiper Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually and in small groups. ​ A small, active and quick wader. Most easily identified in the field by it's behaviour and sound. Most distinct plumage feature is the white wedge in front of the wings at the sides of the breast. Body is elongated and legs fairly short and greenish. Constantly bobs body and head. In flight the dark rump and white wing-bars are obvious. Often flickers its wings when flying low above water, especially just before landing. In flight, common sandpipers have a stiff-winged style and typically stay close to the water or ground. ​ Sex cannot be distinguished from the plumage but only from the body size. Birds with a wing shorter than 111 mm are males and those with a wing longer than 117 mm are females. Anything in between can either be a male or a female. In order to have a 95% probably right guess of a bird's sex, one has also to take into consideration the tarsus and toe together with the wing measurements. ​ ​ Diet Sandpipers are ground feeders that dine on crustaceans, insects, worms, and other coastal creatures. They retrieve them by meticulously pecking and probing with their short bills. ​ Longevity record 14 years 6 months (Found dead in Sweden, 3189307) Begazzina tar-Rokka / Pispisella Actitis hypoleucos Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Common ​ Usually seen in March - May, July - October ​ Occasionally seen in all other months ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Juvenile Note pale feather tips and chest side buff without black streaks in juveniles. Adult winter (Dec 20) Note there are no pale feather tips present and black streaks on the side chests indicative of an adult. Winter birds will have the brown buffs on the sides of the chest paler than in summer. Juvenile Note the pale feather tips on the upperwings forming a yellowish stripe. Also side of chest buff is without black streaks in juveniles. Juvenile Note pale feather tips and chest side buff without black streaks in juveniles. 1/12 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 18 - 20.5 32 - 35 41 - 56 Back to Glossary Green Sandpiper Green Sandpiper Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually and in small groups but occasionally in larger flocks ​ A dark, often secretive, wader. Quite similar to Wood Sandpiper, but differs in dark underwings, only small white spots on back, defined border between speckled chest and white belly, broad dark markings on tail and a supercilium that does not reach behind eye. Leaves an overall much darker impression than Wood Sandpiper. Particularly in flight. ​ ​ Diet Nymphs, bugs and larva of caddis-flies and true-flies. ​ Longevity record 11 years 6 months (UK, CR 63312) Swejda Tringa ochropus Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Scarce Usually seen in February - May, July - October ​ Occasionally seen in January, June ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Adult summer Head pattern darker feathers as in adults. 1/7 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 20 - 24 39 - 44 75 - 85 Back to Glossary Spotted Redshank Spotted Redshank Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. ​ Unmistakable in breeding plumage, with all dark/blackish body unique among Tringas. Most birds seen in Europe will probably be in winter- or juvenile plumage, and can then be mistaken for Redshanks. Spotted Redshanks are slimmer, longer legged and more elegant than Redshanks. The supercilium is much more prominent, the bill is slimmer and longer. Most diagnostic is the lack of white wing-bars, and the white cigar-shaped patch on the back. The barring in juveniles reaches from the belly and all the way back to the vent. Often feeds in deeper water than Redshanks, even by swimming and upending. ​ ​ Diet Insect larvae, shrimps, small fish and worms. ​ Longevity record 8 years 7 months (Shot bird in Finland, B-70005) Ċuvett Tringa erythropus Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Rare Usually seen in April - May, July - September ​ Occasionally seen in March, October ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Adult winter Legs are still orange and crown and hind neck grey as in winter. Upperwings are getting darker indicating a process to summer moult. Adult winter Legs are still orange and crown and hind neck grey as in winter. Upperwings are getting darker indicating a process to summer moult. 1/5 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 29 - 33 59 - 66 125 - 160 Back to Glossary Common Greenshank Common Greenshank Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. ​ Large Tringa with upcurved bill. The mainly white and pale grey plumage (and head) gives it a pale appearance. Upper parts speckled in black in summer plumage. Upper side of wings rather dark, back lighter grey with conspicuous long white wedge. Tail white, with diffuse grey barring. Back of juveniles with v-shaped scales/fringes. Legs greenish to grey-green. Wing beats quite deep and sometimes with "slow motion" like quality. ​ ​ Diet Greenshanks eat insects, worms, molluscs, small fish and crustaceans, feeding both by day and night. They feed by picking from the surface, probing, sweeping and lunging at the edges of mudflats or shallows. They may walk along the shoreline and even chase small fish in the shallow water. ​ Longevity record 24 years 5 months (Netherlands, 2040963) Ċewċewwa Tringa nebularia Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Scarce ​ Usually seen in March , August - October ​ Occasionally seen in April - June, November ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Adult winter Grey/green legs and back pattern is more uniform in winter adults. 1/17 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 30 - 34 55 - 62 155 - 210 Back to Glossary Common Redshank Common Redshank Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. ​ Adults differ from most other waders by bright red legs. Large white rectangular patches on secondaries conspicuous in flight in all plumages. Spotted redshanks in winter- or juvenile plumage lacks white wing bars, are more elegant with a more slender bill, and shows a stronger dark eye-stripe and white supercilium. Juvenile Redshanks are unevenly, and sparsely spotted below from the legs to the vent, as opposed to the barring of juvenile Spotted Redshanks. Leg colour in juveniles often dull yellowish. Flanks evenly spotted. Winter plumage with brownish upperparts. ​ ​ Diet The Common Redshank feeds mainly on insects, spiders and worms. Outside the breeding season, the bird feeds on molluscs and crustaceans, but also on small fish and tadpoles. Its feeding behaviour depends on the season. ​ Longevity record 26 years 11 months (Found dead in Denmark, 721125) Pluverott / Pluvirott Tringa totanus Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Very scarce Usually seen in June - August ​ Occasionally seen in November - December ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Adult summer (11-05-19) Heavy black streaks on neck, breast and belly in adults. In juveniles these streaks will form parallel stripes. Adults also have an orange base on the bill. The back and upperwings are non-uniform (dirty) having black broad streaks on grey feathers. Adult summer Heavy black streaks on neck, breast and belly in adults. In juveniles these streaks will form parallel stripes. Adults also have an orange base on the bill. The back and upperwings are non-uniform (dirty) having black broad streaks on grey feathers. Adult summer (11-05-19) Heavy black streaks on neck, breast and belly in adults. In juveniles these streaks will form parallel stripes. Adults also have an orange base on the bill. The back and upperwings are non-uniform (dirty) having black broad streaks on grey feathers. 1/8 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 24 - 27 47 - 53 92 - 127 Back to Glossary Wood Sandpiper Wood Sandpiper Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually or in small flocks. ​ An energetic, small tringa wader. Most similar to Green Sandpiper. Differs by light underwings, larger white spots on back, diffuse border between speckled chest and white belly, narrower dark markings on tail and a supercilium that reaches behind eye. Plumage leaves an overall much paler impression than Green Sandpiper, particularly in flight. ​ ​ Diet Wood Sandpipers feed mainly on aquatic insects and their larvae and molluscs in moist or dry mud. They high-step daintily through shallow water, probing in mud or picking at the surface. They also swim well and may feed by sweeping their bill from side to side under water. ​ Longevity record 11 years 8 months (Shot in Sweden, 4035425) Pespus tal-Baħar Tringa glareola Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Fairly common ​ Usually seen in March - May, July - October ​ Occasionally seen in June, November - December ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Adult Prominent white spots on back and heavily streaked crown, neck and breast in adults. Flanks are also barred in adults. 1/16 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 18.5 - 21 35 - 39 50 - 70 Back to Glossary Marsh Sandpiper Marsh Sandpiper Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually but can be seen in small groups. ​ Small, but tall and elegant Tringa. Body the size of Wood Sandpiper, but stands as tall as Greenshank. Tibia especially long. The needle-like, straight bill adds to the elegance. Pale face, especially at base of bill. Back grey in adults, with star-shaped speckles in summer and narrow, pale fringes in winter. Immatures with broader fringes and overall darker upperparts. In flight the long legs trails far behind the tail, and the narrow white wedge on the back is conspicuous. Wings are dark with no bars, and shows as the darkest part of the bird also when on ground (especially in adults). Surprisingly quick and easy take-off. Posture generally erect and tall, particularly when nervous. ​ ​ Diet Marsh Sandpipers eat aquatic insects, larvae, molluscs and crustaceans. They feed by wading briskly in shallow water, pecking from the surface or sometimes sweeping the bill from side to side. They may wade deeper and feel for prey. ​ Longevity record 7 years 1 months (A shot bird in France, GA 84137) Ċewċewwa Żgħira Tringa stagnatilis Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Very scarce Usually seen in March - May ​ Occasionally seen in June - September ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Adult summer (19-03-20) The black streaks on the upperwings are moulted during the summer plumage of adult birds. Summer birds will also have dark streaks on the crown, chin, neck and flanks. Adult summer The black streaks on the upperwings are moulted during the summer plumage of adult birds. Summer birds will also have dark streaks on the crown, chin, neck and flanks. Adult summer (19-03-20) The black streaks on the upperwings are moulted during the summer plumage of adult birds. Summer birds will also have dark streaks on the crown, chin, neck and flanks. Adult summer (19-03-20) The black streaks on the upperwings are moulted during the summer plumage of adult birds. Summer birds will also have dark streaks on the crown, chin, neck and flanks. 1/6 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 22 - 25 55 - 59 43 - 120 Back to Glossary Woodcock Eurasian Woodcock Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually but can be seen in groups of two or even three birds. ​ Large and stocky wader, which is flushed from undergrowth in very close proximity. More often seen in display flight than on ground. Crown crossed with diagnostic broad bars, unlike any snipe. Base of tail warm, rufous brown. Wings rounded and broad. Flies with bill pointed downwards in an angle. Usually lands quickly after being flushed with characteristic abrupt and sudden drop into undergrowth ​ ​ Diet Eurasian woodcock forage in soft soil in thickets, usually well hidden from sight. They mainly eat earthworms, but also insects and their larvae, freshwater molluscs and some plant seeds. ​ Longevity record 15 years 8 months (A shot bird in the UK, R 4516) Gallina Scolopax rusticola Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Fairly common ​ Usually seen in October - December ​ Occasionally seen in September, January - April ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/3 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 33 - 38 55 - 65 225 - 370 Back to Glossary Great Snipe Great Snipe Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually but can be seen in groups of two. ​ Underparts almost completely barred. Prominent white edges to primary and secondary coverts. Shorter bill than Common Snipe, with stockier body, but slightly longer wings and legs. Less obvious trailing white edge to secondaries in flight. Corners of tail white (obvious when landing). Usually flies only a short distance and in a straight line after being flushed. Bill held in straighter angle than Snipe in flight. ​ Diet A specially adapted bill enables this bird to efficiently grasp and consume small creatures, such as worms, insects, crustaceans, molluscs, and small amphibians without stopping to remove its bill from the mud. It also eats berries, seeds, and plant fibers. ​ Longevity record 5 years 11 months (Sweden, 5127024) Bekkaċċ ta' Mejju / Bukkaċċ Kbir Gallinago media Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Rare Usually seen in May ​ Occasionally seen in April ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/6 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 26 - 30 43 - 50 140 - 260 Back to Glossary Common Snipe Common Snipe Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually but can be seen in small groups. ​ By far the most common snipe in most areas. Bill longer than congeners. Belly white, in contrast to barred flanks. Upperparts of wings with white trailing edge, underparts with white wingbars. Longitudinal crown stripe. Diagnostic escape flight when flushed, with zig-zag change of direction, characteristic call and long period of circling the area before landing (or leaving altogether). ​ Diet A specially adapted bill enables this bird to efficiently grasp and consume small creatures, such as worms, insects, crustaceans, molluscs, and small amphibians without stopping to remove its bill from the mud. It also eats berries, seeds, and plant fibers. ​ Longevity record 16 years 3 months (A shot bird in Sweden, 4104395) Bekkaċċ / Bukkaċċ tan-Nofs Gallinago gallinago Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Fairly common Usually seen in April - May, September - December Occasionally seen in January - March ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 28-04-2017 1/11 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 23 - 28 39 - 45 78 - 105 Back to Glossary Jack Snipe Jack Snipe Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. ​ Notably smaller, darker and with shorter bill than Common Snipe. Two prominent yellowish back-stripes. Dark wedge-shaped tail, and slightly rounded wings. Lacks median crown-stripe. Flanks spotted, not barred. Usually flushed only at close range. Takes off silently, then quickly lands nearby. Whole body bounces rhythmically when feeding. ​ Diet They mainly eat insects and earthworms, also plant material. ​ Longevity record 12 years 4 months (A shot bird in Germany, 7170838) Ċinkonja / Bukkaċċ miż-Żagħar Lymnocryptes minimus Charadriiformes Scolopacidae Scarce ​ Usually seen in October - December ​ Occasionally seen in January - April ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/1 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 18 - 20 33 - 36 50 - 85 Back to Glossary *Some information was sourced from ''BirdID Nord University''.

  • Pipits | Birds of Malta

    Pipits Yellow wagtail Richard's pipit Richard's Pipit Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually and sometimes in pairs. This is a large pipit , 17–20 cm in length and a wingspan of 29 to 33 cm. It is a slender bird which often stands very upright. It has long yellow-brown legs, a long tail with white outer-feathers and a long dark bill with a yellowish base to the lower mandible. The hindclaw is long and fairly straight. It is an undistinguished-looking species on the ground, mainly brown above and pale below. There are dark streaks on the upperparts and breast while the belly and flanks are plain. The face is strongly marked with pale lores and supercilium and dark eyestripe, moustachial stripe and malar stripe. There are two wingbars formed by pale tips to the wing-coverts. ​ The song is a repeated series of monotonous buzzy notes given in an undulating song-flight. ​ ​ Diet Like other pipits, this species is insectivorous . It mainly feeds on the ground and will also make short flights to catch flying insects. A few seeds are also eaten. ​ Longevity record - Bilblun Prim Anthus richardi Passeriformes Motacillidae Rare Usually seen in --- Occasionally seen in September - May Click on the image to open slideshow 15-03-19 1/15 Length (cm): Weight (g): 17 - 20 27 - 37 Back to Glossary Tawny Pipit Tawny Pipit Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence Info* Usually seen individually and sometimes in pairs and in small groups. Large, but slender and long-legged pipit recalling wagtail in build. Easily confused with Richard's Pipit, but differs in dark lores, almost unstreaked breast, short hind-claw, slender body and thinner bill. The thin moustache-stripe combined with the dark lores stands out from the otherwise pale head. Greater coverts with dark centres and pale fringes are the most contrasting part of the body. Tertials are fringed warm brown. Tail with broad white edges. Immatures are more streaked above and on breast and sometimes flanks, but lore dark as in adults. Flight wagtail-like and less powerful than Richard's Pipit. Stance less upright, with wagtail-like gait. ​ ​ Diet Like other pipits, this species is insectivorous . It mainly feeds on the ground and will also make short flights to catch flying insects. A few seeds are also eaten. ​ Longevity record - Bilblun Anthus campestris Passeriformes Motacillidae Fairly common Usually seen in April - May Occasionally seen in March, June - October Click on the image to open slideshow 08-05-19 1/11 Length (cm): Weight (g): 15.5 - 18 26 - 32 Back to Glossary Olive-backed Pipit Olive-backed Pipit Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. A fairly characteristic pipit due to the fresh plumage tones, defined facial pattern and marked breast streaking. Back olive-coloured with only faint streaking. Rump lacks streaking. Usually shows a pale and a black spot on rear cheeks. Legs pinkish, with short hind-claw, similar to Tree Pipit. Similar behaviour as Tree Pipit. Readily enters trees, and will also walk along branches. Flight also similar to Tree Pipit, lacking the stuttering motion of Meadow Pipit. ​ ​ Diet Like other pipits, this species is insectivorous . It mainly feeds on the ground and will also make short flights to catch flying insects. A few seeds are also eaten. ​ Longevity record - Diżż tal-Lvant / Diżżu tal-Lvant Anthus hodgsoni Passeriformes Motacillidae Very rare Usually seen in October - November Occasionally seen in December - February Click on the image to open slideshow 1/7 Length (cm): Weight (g): 14 - 15.5 21 - 24 Back to Glossary Tree Pipit Tree Pipit Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence Info* Usually seen individually, in small groups or in larger flocks. Very similar to Meadow Pipit, but streaking on flanks noticeably finer than on breast. Bill heavier, with pinkish base. Legs pinkish. Short and curved hind claw. Plain rump. Slightly more elongated shape than Meadow Pipit. ​ ​ Diet Like other pipits, this species is insectivorous . It mainly feeds on the ground and will also make short flights to catch flying insects. A few seeds are also eaten. ​ Longevity record 8 years 9 months (Found dead in the Czech Republic, Z 347042) Diżż / Diżżu Anthus trivialis Passeriformes Motacillidae Fairly common Back to Glossary Usually seen in March - May Occasionally seen in August - November Click on the image to open slideshow 06/04/20 26/04/19 06/04/20 1/4 Length (cm): Weight (g): 14 - 16 19 - 25 Meadow Pipit Meadow Pipit Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually, in small groups or in larger flocks. Streaking on flanks just as heavy as that on chest (see Tree Pipit). Legs pinkish. Hind toe long and almost straight. Bill slender with yellowish base. Rump unstreaked. Jerky flight pattern. Generally a featureless bird, and is easily confused with other pipits. Best identified by sound. ​ ​ Diet Like other pipits, this species is insectivorous . It mainly feeds on the ground and will also make short flights to catch flying insects. A few seeds are also eaten. ​ Longevity record 13 years 1 month (Found dead in Poland, KX 21880) Pespus Anthus pratensis Passeriformes Motacillidae Fairly common Usually seen in October - March Occasionally seen in April - May, September Click on the image to open slideshow 1/4 Length (cm): Weight (g): 14 - 15.5 15 - 23 Back to Glossary Red-throated pipit Red-throated Pipit Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually or in small groups. Pipit with distinctly streaked breast and flanks. Adults with rich rusty red coloured throat, breast and supercilium. Males usually more red than females. Easily confused with other pipits when in winter- and juvenile plumage. Characterised by two whitish stripes on back, heavily streaked rump and flight call. ​ ​ Diet Like other pipits, this species is insectivorous . It mainly feeds on the ground and will also make short flights to catch flying insects. A few seeds are also eaten. ​ Longevity record - Diżż Aħmar / Diżżu Aħmar Anthus cervinus Passeriformes Motacillidae Fairly common Usually seen in March - May ​ Occasionally seen in October - January Click on the image to open slideshow 1/15 Length (cm): Weight (g): 14 - 15 19 - 23 Back to Glossary Water Pipit Water Pipit Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. Contrasting, double wing-bars, unstreaked belly (and only modestly streaked flanks), brownish rump, broad supercilium, paler underwing and pure white outer tail feathers. Summer plumage with more strongly coloured buff or pinkish underparts and greyer upperparts, but difficult to identify when plumage wo ​ ​ Diet Like other pipits, this species is insectivorous . It mainly feeds on the ground and will also make short flights to catch flying insects. A few seeds are also eaten. ​ Longevity record - Back to Glossary Diżż tal-Ilma / Diżżu tal-Ilma Anthus spinoletta Passeriformes Motacillidae Very scarce ​ Usually seen in November - December ​ Occasionally seen in October, February - April Click on the image to open slideshow 1/5 Length (cm): Weight (g): 15.5 - 18 18 - 23 *Some information was sourced from ''BirdID Nord University''.

  • Wren, Tits, Accentors & allies | Birds of Malta

    Wrens, Tits & Accentors Eurasian Wren Eurasian Wren Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* A rare bird that is more heard than seen. It is very difficult to see this bird as it is usually hidden in dense vegetation. Unmistakable. Very small, mouselike bird with short rounded wings, short neck and upright tail. Upperparts chestnut brown and finely barred. Underparts light buff. Forages in thick undergrowth and low bushes, crevices and holes for insects. Easily overlooked, but betrays its presence by its big voice. One of the smallest bird in northern Europe. ​ Diet Eurasian Wren feeds on a wide variety of invertebrates, such as insects and spiders, but also small vertebrates such as fishes, tadpoles and young frogs. It also consumes berries and seeds. ​ Longevity record 6 years 10 months (Italy/Sweden, 1817973) Bumistur Troglodytes troglodytes Passeriformes Troglodytidae Rare ​ Back to Glossary Usually seen in - ​ Occasionally seen in October - April Click on the image to open slideshow 1/8 Length (cm): Weight (g): 9 - 10.5 8 - 11.5 Great Tit Great Tit Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. Combination of striking black and white head and yellow underparts makes it rather unmistakable. Back greenish, tail and wings bluish. Outer tail feathers white. Sexes alike except for wider black belly-stripe in males. Biggest tit. ​ ​ Diet Its main preference is insects, and, when feeding young, caterpillars are a key food. It will also eat spiders and small earthworms, then will switch to seeds, nuts, berries and buds as and when needed, and available. ​ Longevity record 15 years 5 months (Found dead in Germany, 9222933) Fjorentin Parus major Passeriformes Paridae Vagrant ​ Back to Glossary Usually seen in - ​ Occasionally seen in October - March Click on the image to open slideshow 07-01-16 1/3 Length (cm): Weight (g): 13.5 - 15 15 - 23 Pendulin Tit Eurasian Penduline Tit Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. A small, tit-like passerine with brown back, grey head and diagnostic black mask. Plumage comparable to Red-backed Shrike, but build and behaviour very different. Male with broader mask than female. Juveniles with pale, uniform plumage, lacking mask altogether. Tit-like behaviour, but less inquisitive. ​ ​ Diet Insects form the larger part of the diet of the penduline tits, and they are active foragers. Their long conical bill is used to probe into cracks and prise open holes in order to obtain prey. Nectar, seeds and fruits may also be taken seasonally. ​ Longevity record 7 years 3 months (Hungary, M 392964) Pendulin Remiz pendulinus Passeriformes Remizidae Very rare Back to Glossary Usually seen in October - January ​ Occasionally seen in February - March Click on the image to open slideshow 1/0 Length (cm): Weight (g): 10 - 11.5 9 - 12 Alpine Accentor Alpine Accentor Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. A big accentor with rufous flanks, finely mottled throat, and blackish wing coverts with white tips. Latter often the most obvious character in poor light, and is visible both in flight, and when on ground. Bill black with yellow base. Build stocky and recalls larks or pipits. Tail dark with narrow, white tip. Flight powerful, undulating and thrush-like. Jumps and runs on the ground, with a more upright stance than Dunnock. Sociable, and small flocks can be seen even in breeding season. ​ ​ Diet Mostly insects and seeds. ​ Longevity record 7 years 8 months (Slovenia, K 69) Żiemel tal-Alpi Prunella collaris Passeriformes Prunellidae Very rare ​ Back to Glossary Usually seen in October - November ​ Occasionally seen in December - January Click on the image to open slideshow 1/0 Length (cm): Weight (g): 15 - 17.5 36 - 45 Dunnock Dunnock Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually but can be seen in small groups or roam within the same area. Sparrow-sized, brown and streaked passerine with slate-grey head and chest. Bill thin and warbler-like, head rounded. Narrow, pale wing-bars. Often forages on ground in a crouched manner, creeping or hopping with legs almost hidden. Flicks wings and tail when restless. Secretive behaviour, except when visiting feeders and when singing from tree tops. ​ ​ Diet Dunnocks feed on both small insects and small seeds, plus spiders and small worms. ​ Longevity record 20 years 10 months (Found dead in Denmark, 9A 59942) Żiemel Prunella modularis Passeriformes Prunellidae Fairly common ​ Back to Glossary Usually seen in October - March ​ Occasionally seen in September, April Click on the image to open slideshow 19-11-17 1/7 Length (cm): Weight (g): 13 - 14.5 15 - 24 *Some information was sourced from ''BirdID Nord University''.

  • Swifts, Swallows & Martins | Birds of Malta

    Martins, Swallows & Swifts House Martin Common House Martin Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen in groups or in flocks. A small, compact martin with short, forked tail and pure white rump. Underparts shiny white (including throat and vent). Upperparts dark with shiny metallic glow to head and back. Juveniles overall more dull, with white tips to tertials and dusky, brownish upperparts. Flight determined and steady. Glides more than Sand Martin, with less frequent change of direction. ​ ​ Diet Insects, including flies, beetles and aphids. ​ Longevity record 15 years 0 months (Sweden, 1519863) Ħawwiefa Delichon urbicum Passeriformes Hirundinidae Fairly common Back to Glossary Usually seen in March - May, September - October ​ Occasionally seen in all other months ​ ​ 1/7 Click on the image to open slideshow Red-rumped Red-rumped Swallow Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen in small groups but can be seen singly. Differs from Barn Swallow in all plumages by pale throat and black under tail coverts, which are visible at greater distance than the red rump. Rufous cheeks and collar. Underparts finely streaked, giving the bird a slightly "dirty" look from a distance, with less contrast to the upperparts than in Barn Swallow. Immature birds with short streamers and buff cheeks and rump. Build more compact than Barn Swallow, with shorter bill, rounded wings and slightly shorter streamers. Flight slower and with more frequent gliding. ​ ​ Diet The Red-rumped Swallow feeds almost entirely on flying insects all year round. The diet includes a wide variety of species caught by aerial pursuit, sometimes up to 100 metres or more. ​ Longevity record 5 years Reġina tal-Ħuttaf Cecropis daurica rufula Passeriformes Hirundinidae Scarce ​ Back to Glossary Usually seen in March - May ​ Occasionally seen in February, June, August - November ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 23-03-19 1/16 Barn Swallow Barn Swallow Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen in small groups and larger flocks but occasionally can be seen singly. Dark blue metallic upperparts, deep red forehead and throat and light underparts. Long tail-streamers in adults and deeply forked tail. Both the metallic blue and the deep red appears black at a distance. Combination of dark throat/breast and light underparts and vent is diagnostic, and distinguishes it both from Red-rumped Swallow and the smaller martins. Juveniles are less brightly coloured with a dull red throat, and short streamers. ​ ​ Diet Feeds on a wide variety of flying insects, especially flies (including house flies and horse flies), beetles, wasps, wild bees, winged ants, and true bugs. Also eats some moths, damselflies, grasshoppers, and other insects, and a few spiders and snails. Only occasionally eats a few berries or seeds. ​ Longevity record 11 years 1 month (Found dead in the UK, LK 620) Ħuttafa Hirundo rustica Passeriformes Hirundinidae Fairly common Usually seen in February - June, August - November ​ Occasionally seen in December - January, all year for resident breeders ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/9 Back to Glossary Crag Martin Eurasian Crag Martin Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually but can be seen in small groups. Stocky martin with broad (but pointed) wings, broad tail and broad head. Mostly dusky brown with paler underparts, except almost black under wing-coverts, and fairly dark vent. Most tail-feathers with small, white "window" visible from below. Immature similar to adults, but with pale fringes to coverts. Flight less acrobatic than other martins, with frequent, long glides. Strays less away from breeding grounds than congeners. ​ ​ Diet The Eurasian Crag Martin feeds mainly on insects caught in its beak in flight, although it will occasionally take prey items off rocks, the ground, or a water surface. When breeding, birds often fly back and forth near to a rock face hunting for insects, feeding both inside and outside the nesting territory. ​ Longevity record - Ħawwiefa tal-Blat Ptyonoprogne rupestris Passeriformes Hirundinidae Very rare Back to Glossary Usually seen in October ​ Occasionally seen in September, November - April ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/2 Sand Martin Sand Martin Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen in small groups or larger flocks. Small martin with dark brown chest-band and white throat. Upperparts dark brown, underparts white. Underside of wings dark. Juveniles with light fringes to brown feathers, and buff throat. Flight more elegant than Barn Swallow and House Martin. Often changes direction but keeps altitude. More fluttering flight than House Martin, with less gliding. ​ The sand martin is sociable in its nesting habits; from a dozen to many hundred pairs will nest close together, according to available space. ​ Diet The food consists of small insects, mostly gnats and other flies whose early stages are aquatic. ​ Longevity record 10 years 1 month (Found dead through a car accident in Sweden, AR 45926) Ħawwiefa tax-Xtut Riparia riparia Passeriformes Hirundinidae Fairly common Back to Glossary Usually seen in March - June ​ Occasionally seen in all the other months ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/5 Alpine swift Alpine Swift Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen in small groups or individually. Only swift in the region with white underparts divided by breast-band. Upperparts brown. Distinctly bigger than Swift, with robust build and powerful flight. Tail short with rather shallow fork. Wing-action slower than Swift, with each beat discernible. May give Hobby-like impression at a distance. ​ ​ Diet They are opportunistic feeders, and exploit swarms and hatchings wherever possible. They avoid stinging insects. Insects are collected in the back of the throat in a special food pouch and bound together with saliva into a ball called a bolus, which is periodically eaten or taken to the nest. These food balls can contain thousands of insects. ​ Longevity record 26 years 0 month (Found sick in Switzerland, 900438) Rundunu ta' Żaqqu Bajda / Rundunu Abjad Tachymarptis melba Apodiformes Apodidae Scarce ​ Back to Glossary Usually seen in March - May ​ Occasionally seen in June - November ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 26-04-20 15-09-17 26-04-20 1/5 Little swift Little Swift Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually. Little swifts are readily identified by their small size. Their wingspan is only 33 cm compared to 42 cm in the case of Common Swift . Their plumage is black except for a white throat and rump, the white rump patch extending onto the flanks. They have a short square tail, with all rectrices round-tipped. The flight is fluttering like that of a House Martin , and the call is a high twittering. Like other swifts they are very short-legged. The legs are used for clinging to vertical surfaces only. ​ ​ Diet They are opportunistic feeders, and exploit swarms and hatchings wherever possible. They avoid stinging insects. Insects are collected in the back of the throat in a special food pouch and bound together with saliva into a ball called a bolus, which is periodically eaten or taken to the nest. These food balls can contain thousands of insects. ​ Longevity record - Rundunu Żgħir Apus affinis Apodiformes Apodidae Vagrant ​ Back to Glossary Usually seen in - ​ Occasionally seen in March - July, September, November, December ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/0 Pallid Swift Pallid Swift Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually, in small groups or small flocks. Very similar to Common Swift, and often difficult to identify in the field. Seeing the birds against a darker background, as opposed to the sky, brings out some of the characters more clearly. Generally paler and more sandy brown than Common Swift. Differs further from C. Swift by: Rounder wing tip (outermost primary shorter than the next), slightly broader wings, broader and flatter head. White throat patch bigger and more prominent. The face seems paler, which brings out the dark eye-mask. Back slightly darker than upper part of wings. More contrast between outer and inner primaries. Underparts with more pronounced scaly pattern. Flight less acrobatic, with slightly slower wing-beats, more frequent gliding and much less twinkling turns. ​ Diet They are opportunistic feeders, and exploit swarms and hatchings wherever possible. They avoid stinging insects. Insects are collected in the back of the throat in a special food pouch and bound together with saliva into a ball called a bolus, which is periodically eaten or taken to the nest. These food balls can contain thousands of insects. ​ Longevity record - Rundunu Kannelli Apus pallidus Apodiformes Apodidae Fairly common ​ Usually seen in May - August ​ Occasionally seen in April, September ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/2 Back to Glossary Common swift Common Swift Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually, in small groups or larger flocks. All black swift with small white throat patch. Very difficult to separate from Pallid swift. Pallid Swift; brownish plumage tone (best seen against darker background), bigger throat-patch than swift, scale pattern on body more prominent, wing-tips slightly rounded, "saddle" darker than wings, and more contrast between darker outer primaries and inner. ​ Diet They are opportunistic feeders, and exploit swarms and hatchings wherever possible. They avoid stinging insects. Insects are collected in the back of the throat in a special food pouch and bound together with saliva into a ball called a bolus, which is periodically eaten or taken to the nest. These food balls can contain thousands of insects. ​ Longevity record 21 years 1 month (Found sick in Sweden, ZB 84?) Rundunu Apus apus Apodiformes Apodidae Fairly common Back to Glossary Usually seen in May - September ​ Occasionally seen in February - April, October - December ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 07-05-19 07-05-19 07-05-19 07-05-19 1/5 *Some information was sourced from ''BirdID Nord University''.

  • BirdsofMalta | Maltese bird atlas | Bird records

    1/8 Birds of Malta Species list >>> Press the 'Ctrl' button and rotate the mouse wheel to adjust the webpage resolution to your monitor's size A passion for birds Contact us >>> Search table >>> Yearly sightings >>>

  • Who are we? | Birds of Malta

    Who are we? Birds of Malta We are a group of bird enthusiasts, mostly from the local hunting community, that have teamed up to collect, photograph and showcase the different species of birds that had visited and that visit the Maltese archipelago. ​ This web page classifies birds in categories and gives some more details of any specific species. Most of the photos used in this site are taken in Malta by our collaborators. Some photos that are taken abroad are marked and credited. ​

  • Bitterns, Herons & Egrets | Birds of Malta

    Bitterns, Herons & Egrets Eurasian Bittern Eurasian Bittern Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually but can be seen in small groups. ​ Bulky, golden-brown heron with thick neck and short legs. Largely unmistakable but skulky behaviour makes it difficult to observe, as it generally forages hidden in reed-beds. Plumage mottled above, with coarse stripes below. Primaries and most secondaries with dark barring, in contrast to paler coverts. May recall Eagle Owl in flight with broad, rounded wings and retracted neck, but wings are bowed and legs trail behind tail. Crown and moustache stripe black in adult and brown in immature birds. Betrays its presence by it's far reaching song. ​ ​ Diet Fish, small mammals, amphibians and invertebrates along the reed margins in shallow water. ​ Longevity record 11 years (Found dead in the Netherlands, 302703) Kappun Botaurus stellaris Pelecaniformes Ardeidai Very scarce Usually seen in March - April, October - November ​ Occasionally seen in May, September, December ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Adult Dark brown moustache stripe as in adults. Adult Dark brown moustache stripe as in adults. 1/6 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 69 - 81 100 - 130 870 - 1940 Back to Glossary Little Bittern Little Bittern Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually but can be seen in small groups. ​ Usually recognizable by size alone. Distinctly smaller than any congener. Pale wing-panel formed by inner coverts is striking in all plumages, especially in flight. Male with contrasting black and white/buff plumage. Female with dark, but pale fringed back and streaked throat. Immature with streaked, bittern-like plumage, and wing-panel is brown-spotted. Skulky behaviour, and most active at dusk or after dark. Mostly seen in flight when crossing open water. Flight action rapid and clipping, and landing is preceded by short glide. ​ ​ Diet The Little Bittern is a bird of dense marsh vegetation, in which it feeds and nests. It forages in the typical bittern manner of walking and Swtanding on marsh plants, old nests, or branches. It catches a diversity of prey, but primarily fish or insects, depending on the locality. ​ Longevity record 7 years (Found injured in Hungary, 426796) Russett tas-Siġar / Strinġis /Ħenxul Ixobrychus minutus Pelecaniformes Ardeidai Scarce Usually seen in April - May, August - October ​ Occasionally seen in November - January, March, June ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Female Brown face and neck, brown streaked back and buff brown patch in wings. Female Vertical stripes along neck and breast as in females rather than streaks as in juveniles or no stripes but an orange buff in males. Male Grey face and darker black crown. Stripes on chest are paler along an orange buff as in adult males. White buff on wings. Female Brown face and neck, brown streaked back and buff brown patch in wings. 1/6 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 33 - 38 49 - 58 59 - 150 Back to Glossary Night Heron Black-crowned Night Heron Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen in groups and larger flocks but can occasionally be seen individually. ​ Small, crepuscular, stocky heron with short legs. Adults unmistakable with black cap, black back, grey wings and white underparts. Immature less distinct, and may be confused with immature Squacco Heron, Little Bittern or Bittern. Differs from all these in distinct white spots covering both wings and back. Belly and breast are more widely covered in coarse streaking, not just the sides or upper chest. Legs just barely protrudes behind tail in flight. ​ ​ Diet Diet quite variable; mostly fish, but also squid, crustaceans, aquatic insects, frogs, snakes, clams, mussels, rodents, carrion. Sometimes specializes on eggs and young birds and can cause problems in tern colonies. ​ Longevity record 17 years (A shot bird in Spain, SE 19959) Kwakka Nycticorax nycticorax Pelecaniformes Ardeidai Fairly common Usually seen in March - May, August - September ​ Occasionally seen in October - January ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Juvenile Brown body with pale spots on back and upperwings. Chest paler with darker brown streaks. Orange iris. No plumes. Adult Black crown, back saddle and upper mandible. Silvery grey body and wings. Red iris. White plumes. Juvenile Brown body with pale spots on back and upperwings. Chest paler with darker brown streaks. Orange iris. No plumes. 1/27 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 58 - 65 90 - 100 727 - 1014 Back to Glossary Squacco Squacco Heron Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen in groups but can also be seen individually. In non-breeding plumage, it is dull brown with dark and light streaks. At rest, it has buff and brown upperparts and white underparts. When in flight, the white wings and tail are conspicuous. Head, nape and shoulders are streaked black. The bill is dark with yellow lower mandible. The eyes are yellow with greenish-yellow lores and narrow red eyering. Legs and feet are greenish-yellow. In breeding plumage, feathers are very long. The body is white with cinnamon back, nape and breast sides.The underparts are slightly washed cinnamon, especially on chest. We can see some black streaks on breast sides. Wings and tail are white.On the head, chin and throat are white, whereas crown, head sides and neck are cinnamon. During the breeding period, the adults develop an erectile black and white crest with long and bushy feathers. The bill is bright cobalt-blue with black tip. Lores are bright greenish-blue. Eyes are yellow. Legs and feet are brighter orange-yellow to reddish with black claws. ​ The female is similar, but in breeding plumage, she has less conspicuous crest than male. The juvenile has paler buff ground colour and is browner on head and back with dark streaks on throat and breast. Upperwing-coverts and primary tips are spotted brownish. The crest is shorter than in adults in non-breeding plumage. Bill, legs and feet are greenish-yellow. ​ ​ Diet The Squacco heron feeds on fish, crustaceans, frogs and aquatic insects. ​ Longevity record 5 years (A shot bird in Hungary, 844) Agrett Isfar Ardeola ralloides Pelecaniformes Ardeidai Scarce ​ Usually seen in March - April, October - November ​ Occasionally seen in May, September, December ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/28 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 40 - 49 71 - 86 230 - 370 Back to Glossary Grey Heron Grey Heron Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen in groups or larger flocks but can also be seen individually. Very large, mostly unmistakable bird. Grey upperparts, white underparts and yellow/yellowish bill. Keeps neck retracted when flying (as opposed to crane). May be mistaken for Purple Heron, but back of neck grey, not brown. Bill heavy and dagger-shaped. Neck thicker and less angular than in Purple Heron. Unmarked cheeks. ​ ​ Diet Lots of fish, but also small birds such as ducklings, small mammals like voles and amphibians. After harvesting, grey herons can sometimes be seen in fields, looking for rodents. ​ Longevity record 37 years (Found dead in Denmark, 292796) Russett Griż Ardea cinerea Pelecaniformes Ardeidai Common ​ Usually seen in March - April, September - October ​ Occasionally seen in all other months ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Adult White crown, long plumes, white neck and a complete yellow bill. Immature Darker upper mandible, grey crown and grey hindneck indicating an immature. Adult White crown, long plumes, white neck and a complete yellow bill. 1/56 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (kg): 84 - 102 155 - 175 1.0 - 2.1 Back to Glossary Purple Heron Purple Heron Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen in groups or larger flocks but can also be seen individually. Most similar to Grey Heron but leaves a much darker impression, has a slimmer body, neck and wings. The bill is markedly thinner and is almost level with the flat forehead. Adult birds have black longitudinal stripes along the rufous sides of the neck, and a black crown. Immature birds have more diffuse streaking, and are sandy brown instead of grey. Coverts are also brownish, and partially remains in first summer birds. In flight the dark underwings of adult birds are obvious. The folded neck creates a bigger and more angular bulge and the very long toes are often sprawled. More secretive behaviour than Grey Heron. ​ ​ Diet Fish, frogs, invertebrates, reptiles, small rodents and small birds. ​ Longevity record 25 years (Found dead in Germany, B 1495) Russett Aħmar Ardea purpurea Pelecaniformes Ardeidai Fairly common Usually seen in March - April, September - October ​ Occasionally seen in February, May, August, November ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Adult Two black head plumes up to 15 cm long. The sides of the head and neck are distinctively chestnut to orange buff to red buff. A black stripe runs across the ear to the black plumes. The chin and foreneck are white and a throat striping is elongated with black and white spotting. Adult Two black head plumes up to 15 cm long. The sides of the head and neck are distinctively chestnut to orange buff to red buff. A black stripe runs across the ear to the black plumes. The chin and foreneck are white and a throat striping is elongated with black and white spotting. Juveniles Juveniles are browner than adults, lacking crest and breast feathers, and showing duller and narrow steaks in neck and underparts. Adult Two black head plumes up to 15 cm long. The sides of the head and neck are distinctively chestnut to orange buff to red buff. A black stripe runs across the ear to the black plumes. The chin and foreneck are white and a throat striping is elongated with black and white spotting. 1/19 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 70 - 90 120 - 138 500 - 1361 Back to Glossary Western Great Egret Great Egret Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen in small groups but can also be seen individually. Formerly known as the Great White Egret. A slender and elegant bird, about the same size as Grey Heron. Bill dark in breeding birds, otherwise yellow. Legs and feet dark, but tibia often with red tinge in breeding season. Long, S-shaped neck with sharp angle/bend. Erect posture, and less skulking, horizontal hunting behaviour than Little Egret. Almost twice the size of Little Egret, and wing-beats are considerably slower. Wings give the impression of being attached more upfront than in Little Egret. Feets protrude well beyond tail in flight. ​ ​ Diet Fish are a dietary staple, but great egrets use similar techniques to eat amphibians, reptiles, mice, and other small animals. ​ Longevity record 13 years, 9 months (Found dead electrocuted in Hungary, 516353) Russett Abjad Ardea alba Pelecaniformes Ardeidai Very scarce ​ Usually seen in March - April, October ​ Occasionally seen in all other months except June ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow 1/16 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 85 - 102 143 - 169 700 - 1530 Back to Glossary Western Cattle Egret Western Cattle Egret Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen individually but can also be seen in small groups. ​ Small, stocky, white heron with short bill and neck. Heavy jowl. Plumage all white, except in breeding birds which show varying amount of buff on back, crown and chest. Bill usually yellow, but turns orange-red in breeding birds, and is dark in immatures. Legs pale greyish green, but darker in young birds. May be confused with both Little Egret and Squacco Heron in flight. Differs from Little Egret in leg color and shorter, thicker neck and bill. Told from Squacco Heron by unstreaked body/head, and smaller bill. Generally leaves a less elegant impression than other small herons. ​ ​ Diet Mostly insects. When associating with grazing animals in fields, diet is mostly large insects, especially grasshoppers, crickets, flies; also frogs, spiders, moths. Elsewhere may feed on crayfish, earthworms, snakes, nestling birds, eggs, sometimes fish. May scavenge for edible refuse in dumps. ​ Longevity record 18 years (A shot bird in Spain, E 10374) Agrett tal-Bhejjem Bubulcus ibis Pelecaniformes Ardeidai Scarce ​ Usually seen in October - December ​ Occasionally seen in April- May, all other months for resident birds ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Adult Yellow bill. The breast plumes, crest and back mantle plumes will also get yellow during breeding. Juveniles are completely white with dark legs and bill. Adult Note yellow bill and yellow buff breast moulting to a breeding plumage. The breast plumes, crest and back mantle plumes will also get yellow during breeding. Juveniles are completely white with dark legs and bill. Adult Yellow bill. The breast plumes, crest and back mantle plumes will also get yellow during breeding. Juveniles are completely white with dark legs and bill. Adult Yellow bill. The breast plumes, crest and back mantle plumes will also get yellow during breeding. Juveniles are completely white with dark legs and bill. 1/23 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 45 - 52 82 - 95 270 - 512 Back to Glossary Little Egret Little Egret Maltese name/s Scientific binomen Order Family Sighting occurrence ​ Info* Usually seen in groups or flocks but can also be seen individually. D iffers from other white herons by dark legs with contrasting yellow feet and toes. Bill always dark, and lores grey or reddish (breeding birds). Slender and elegant build, as opposed to Western Cattle Egret. Only roughly half the size of Western Great Egret. In flight, note much quicker wing-beats of Little Egret and that the wings of Great White seems to be positioned more at the front of the body. Skulking, foraging behaviour with less erect posture than Great White, also when moving about. Legs less protruding beyond tail in flight than in Western Great Egret. ​ Diet Little egrets hunt alone within loose flocks. They will use a variety of hunting techniques including stirring up the mud with their feet to disturb small aquatic insects. These birds will also eat crustaceans, small fish, amphibians, molluscs and worms. They will even take small birds. ​ Longevity record 22 years (A shot bird in France, CD 2346) Agrett Abjad Egretta garzetta Pelecaniformes Ardeidai Common Usually seen in March - May, August - October ​ Occasionally seen in June, November - December, all other months for resident birds ​ ​ Click on the image to open slideshow Adult in breeding plumage Note crown plumes, breast plumes and lax back plumes which form during the breeding cycle. During the height of the courtship the lores may turn bluish. Adults in breeding plumage Note crown plumes, breast plumes and lax back plumes which form during the breeding cycle. During the height of the courtship the lores may turn bluish. 1/21 Length (cm): Wingspan (cm): Weight (g): 55 - 65 88 - 106 350 - 550 Back to Glossary *Some information was sourced from ''BirdID Nord University'' & ''Collins Bird Guide 2nd edition''.

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