Barn Owl
Blackbird
Blackcap
Black-headed Gull
Black Redstart
Blue Tit
Brambling
Bullfinch
Buzzard
Carrion Crow
Chaffinch
Chiffchaff
Coal Tit
Collared Dove
Common Gull
Coot
Crested Tit
Crossbill
Cuckoo
Dunnock
Feral Pigeon
Fieldfare
Garden Warbler
Goldcrest
Goldfinch
Goshawk
Great Black-backed Gull
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Great Tit
Greenfinch
Green Woodpecker
Grey Heron
Grey Partridge
Grey Wagtail
Hawfinch
Herring Gull
Hoopoe
House Martin
House Sparrow
Jackdaw
Jay
Kestrel
Kingfisher
Lapwing
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Lesser Whitethroat
Linnet
Little Owl
Long-eared Owl
Long-tailed Tit
Magpie
Mallard
Marsh Tit
Meadow Pipit
Mistle Thrush
Moorhen
Nightingale
Nuthatch
Peregrine
Pheasant
Pied Flycatcher
Pied Wagtail
Quail
Raven
Red Kite
Red-legged Partridge
Redpoll
Redstart
Redwing
Reed Bunting
Ring-necked Parakeet
Robin
Rook
Sand Martin
Serin
Short-eared Owl
Siskin
Skylark
Song Thrush
Sparrowhawk
Spotted Flycatcher
Starling
Stock Dove
Stonechat
Swallow
Swift
Tawny Owl
Treecreeper
Tree Sparrow
Turtle Dove
Waxwing
Whinchat
Whitethroat
Willow Tit
Willow Warbler
Wood Pigeon
Wren
Yellow Wagtail
Yellowhammer

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Territory

Most birds will endeavour to prevent other birds from occupying their "home" and its surrounding area. They are defending their territory and staking their claim on the nest sites, building materials and food in that territory.

This behaviour is most noticeable during the breeding season and is predominantly targeted at other birds of the same species or species with similar diets, such as is the case with Robins attacking Dunnocks.

Territories are defended at other times of the year though, such as in the winter when food is in short supply. For example, Mistle Thrushes will vigorously defend a bush bearing berries.

Different species have different sized territories, though most garden birds have quite small territories, from a few square metres (e.g. House Sparrows, Rooks) up to say an acre or so (e.g. Blackbird). On the other hand, birds of prey, such as eagles and Buzzards, may have territories covering tens of square miles.

Typical Territory Sizes
Species Area
Blackbird 0.1 ha (0.25 acres)
Coot 0.4 ha (1 acres)
Robin 0.6 ha (1.5 acres)
Song Thrush 4 ha (10 acre)
Mistle Thrush 50 ha (125 acres)

The territories are defended, in most cases, by the male birds singing (see Bird Song) to show their ownership of the territory and their willingness to defend it. If their song is insufficient, the hostilities will escalate, starting with adopting a threatening posture and then chasing the intruder. If that does not work they will fight and some species, like Blackbirds and Robins, will fight to the death.

Occasionally, birds attack their own reflections in windows and mirrors (see Windows).


Last revision: 21 Feb 2015
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