Avoch and Killen Environment

Avoch and Killen Community Collage

Fauna around Avoch and Killen.

The Red Kite

This is probably the best loved of the many birds that can regularly be seen in the village. Until just over 10 years ago this species was only to be seen in a remote area of Central Wales - having been hunted to extinction elsewhere. A few birds from Sweden were released at two secret locations on the Black Isle and are breeding well now.

In 2014 the breeding programme received a serious setback when a considerable number of red kites, and some buzzards, were found to be poisoned in the Black Isle area.  The culprit has never been identified. 


By far the most common species in the area, these birds are usually to be found in the area of the Henrietta Bridge where locals and visitors often feed them. During the spring, however, they nest in various gardens and it is not an uncommon sight for cars to be brought to a standstill so that a female and line of ducklings can walk across the road. The larger duck in the background (known affectionately to some as "Ugly"  is a hybrid.


Found all over Britain this bird is seen in most local gardens and is heard in springtime early in the morning and late at night. Another characteristic is its kamikazi flights from one side of the road to another in front of cars.


Killen and the north side of Avoch are well used to the sight and sound of Carrion and Hooded Crows whereas Jackdaws and Rooks frequent the shoreline. During Spring and Autumn the sky can be black with them as they gather for their flights from or to their roosting places. This picture shows an Autumnal sunrise seen from Henrietta Street.


By far the most common finch, this bird frequents most gardens as well as woodland areas. It is resident throughout the year and has a wide variety of call and song. The pictured bird is a male. His mate is duller with a browny - yellow plumage.

Collared Dove.  [Photo M and D Galloway]

It is difficult to believe that this bird only arrived in Britain in the 1950s as it is now successfully established in every corner of these islands. It can be seen on farmland and also on the shore and in gardens.  

Cormorant.  [Photo M and D Galloway]

This bird is most often seen flying low over the water or on a rock or buoy drying its wings.  It is distinguishable from the Shag by its white throat and cheekband the lack of a crest.

Great Tit
Great Tit  [Photo M and D Galloway]

Larger than the more commonly seen Blue Tit, the Great Tit is often dominant at a bird table. The male is easily distinguishable from the female by a continuous black line down its yellow front - hers being broken.

Pied Wagtail.  [Photo M and D Galloway]

Equally at home on bowling green, shore or garden this smart member of the wagtail family can be seen bobbing along at most times of the year although they have a tendency to go south in the severe weather.


The familiar gardener's companion shows a different side to its nature during breeding times when it becomes very territorial and will attack almost anything red in colour.

Song Thrush

This beautiful songster is, sadly, less common than it used to be. Its near relative the Mistle Thrush is more likely to be seen on farmland than in gardens. In winter Redwing and Fieldfare can flock together.


Not likely to be seen in the village, the Wheatear is a summer visitor and could be seen in the Killen area.

Willow Warbler.  [Photo M and D Galloway]

This bird, with its distinctive song, likes to perch on the tops of bushes.

Yellow Hammer.  [Photo M and D Galloway]

The male is bright yellow in colour, the female less so. It is often heard before being seen with its "little-bit-of-bread-and-no-cheese" call.

Mute Swan

A pair of Mute Swans frequent the burn in Avoch and steadfastly protect their domain from any visiting swans. Each year they build a nest and lay eggs.  The picture shows part of a successful group of eight cygnets.

Swallows.  [Photo M and D Galloway]

Summer visitors, together with House Martins, these birds are to be found in the Burn area swooping over the water for insects. In the autumn they gather in large numbers on telephone wires before making their intrepid journey to Africa.

Blue Tits

The most common of the Tit family, these birds are great acrobats and can be seen hanging upside down from branches or bird feeders in their quest for food.

Starlings.  [Photo M and D Galloway]

These birds are not very common in the area. They are well known for their mimicry skills and can not only make other bird noises but also mechanical sounds such as burglar alarms and mobile 'phone calls.

Redshank.  [Photo M and D Galloway]

Seen in good numbers on the shoreline these waders have longish beaks the same red as their legs with which they probe for food such as cockles.


This small wader can be seen in huge flocks in other parts of the country but a few are seen in Avoch from time to time.


Despite its name this is not a duck. A few may be seen at the Burn mouth from time to time but large numbers are common in Munlochy Bay. They nest in holes in banks.

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