Common bird species in the United Kingdom

Pigeons and other nuisance birds can transmit a wide range of diseases and can be a source of secondary infestation by pests such as lice, mites and flies. Learn more below about common types of pest birds found across the country.

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(Columba livia)

Also known as city doves or street pigeons, they are descended from wild rock doves. They thrive in an urban environment and only require the smallest amount of shelter on buildings.



  • 12 1/2″ long.
  • Blue-grey (although other colours are standard).


  • 2–3 broods per year, with two eggs in each clutch.
  • 17–19 day incubation period.
  • Young birds spend 35–37 days in the nest.


  • Feeds on seeds, green meal, domestic scraps in and around cities near roosting sites.
  • Nests on ledges.

House Sparrow

(Passer domesticus)

The House sparrow is a significant pest to the food industry because of the risk of contamination from their droppings and the damage done to packaged goods.

house sparrow


  • Less than 6″ long.
  • Males can be identified by the grey crown on their heads and black throat ‘bib’.
  • Females and young are mostly plain brown.


  • Sparrows live for four to seven years, with up to five breeding seasons.
  • The breeding season runs through Spring and Summer, and up to three broods of 4–6 eggs may be laid in this time.


  • The same nest will tend to be used every year, resulting in a build-up of nest debris and insects associated with their nests.
  • It is a pest to the food industry because of the risk of contamination from their droppings and the damage done to packaged goods.

Collared Dove

(Streptopelia Decaocto)

Collared dove nests consist of a platform of sticks and branches. They usually nest in trees or shrubs and use buildings, favouring ledges, guttering, and security lights or satellite dishes brackets.

collared dove


  • Fawn-grey colour with a narrow black band at the back of the neck.


  • 2–4 broods per year, with two eggs in each clutch.
  • A 14–15 day incubation period, with young birds spending 15–19 days in the nest.


  • Eats seeds and grains near roosting sites.
  • Nests in trees and canopies.


(Sturnus vulgaris)



  • They are 7 1/2″–9″ lengthy and can be recognised by their pointed wings and short tail when flying. At first sight, they appear to be plain black, but the feathers catch the light and may appear iridescent green or purple.


  • Starlings can rear up to two broods a year. Each clutch usually consists of 4–6 eggs, the young staying in the nest for about three weeks.
  • The breeding period can extend if conditions are favourable.


  • The concentration of droppings from a large roosting flock provides a suitable medium for pathogenic fungi, some of which can be harmful or even fatal to humans.
  • It is an agricultural pest of standing crops but will also flock into cities in large numbers.

House Crow

(Corvus splendens)

The Crow is one of the most common pest birds in the United Kingdom. These birds can overwhelm trees, creating a lot of noise and harassing people and animals in the vicinity, which can be a nuisance to the suburban resident.

House crow


  • They are 40–43 cm in length with a wingspan of 80 cm.
  • Black colour.


  • Crow lays 3–5 eggs in a typical stick nest, and occasionally there are several nests in the same tree.
  • Peak breeding in the United Kingdom is from April to July.
  • Large trees with big crowns are their preferred nesting spots.


  • Preferred roost sites are in well-lit areas with a lot of human activity and food sources.