Bird Watching on Islay

The rare Chough bird and visitor to Islay Scotland

Here on the Scottish island of Islay, around 100 species of bird live within a variety of habitats! From open moorland and hills to rugged cliff faces, woodland, mud flats and beaches, you are really spoiled for choice when it comes to bird watching on Islay! So, lets delve into the detail of what you can expect to see here, be you a beginner or a pro!

Species You Can See

Close up of the head of a Golden Eagle

Mass migration happens in spring, bringing with it many winged visitors from afar, ready to settle down on this scenic isle for the summer! Some of the love songs you may hear across the breeze come from the Corncrakes, Lapwings, Larks and Choughs – a rare species to the UK, but a welcome inhabitant of Islay. If you are lucky, you may see a flock of these striking birds with their charcoal black bodies and striking bright red beaks and legs!

You may also spot birds of prey, such as the Golden Eagle and White Tailed Sea Eagle, gliding around this island and seeking out their prey. The excitement and anticipation of this event is something you will never forget, as they stalk their dinner amongst a small flock of birds and make the kill. Not for the faint-hearted!

Places for Bird Watching on Islay

Tawny Owl asleep on a branch of a tree

The Loch Gruinart Reserve provides many habitats where you can view an array of species including the famous geese on tidal flats and open farm and moorland.

Inland areas are ideal places to observe a variety of birds, such as Bridgend and Ballygrant. You can meander public paths through the old Victorian woodlands. Here, you may see Finches, Tits, Treecreepers and our nighttime friend, the Tawny Owl.

The West Coast hosts many habitats for Islay’s seabird colonies, where the Gulliemot and Razorbill strut their stuff, as the sea crashes beneath them. This is also where Islay speciality, the Chough is found in abundance.

When to Visit

Two Razorbill birds on a rock

There is never a bad time to come bird watching on Islay, given the many exciting species our island plays host to.

You can be sure to relax after a day in the fresh air here at Islay Cottages – why not take a look at our special offers? 

We hope you will join bird enthusiasts from around the world and come and visit us here too!