Puffin lines up in top 10 candidates for Britain’s national bird

A puffin on the Farne Islands with its beak full of sand eels. Picture by Jane Coltman
A puffin on the Farne Islands with its beak full of sand eels. Picture by Jane Coltman

There will be a fair flock of people in north Northumberland who will be rooting for the puffin to become Britain’s national bird.

France has its rooster, America its bald eagle, Germany the golden eagle, Iran has the nightingale and Mauritius has the dodo, but, believe it or not, Britain is one of the few countries not to have a national bird. However, a campaigning ornithologist is out to change that – and a poll has been launched to pick which feathered friend best represents the nation.

With this area’s connections with the little bird with the multi-coloured beaks, there is sure to be a lot of support for them from Northumberland. Amble’s Puffin Festival has also helped carve a special place for the bird in the hearts of locals in recent times.

Puffins make an annual pilgrimage to the islands off the Northumberland coast – the Farnes and Coquet Island – to breed before heading off to sea for the winter.

David Lindo, also known as The Urban Birder, said: “I want to encourage the great British public to vote for the bird that best represents all that is great about this nation.”

More than 70,000 people voted in the first round to whittle it down to a shortlist of 10 and members of the public now have six weeks to choose which British bird they would like to see represent the country.

The final round of voting for Britain’s National Bird Campaign closes on May 7, the day of the general election, so you have a little thinking time yet. Here’s a look at the 10 final contenders:


This photogenic comedic-looking seabird really deserves its northern Scottish alternative name of sea parrot. They are only in Britain during the summer before slipping off to spend the winter months in the middle of the sea.

Red Kite

This glorious aerial master has won the hearts of the British public and is an amazing conservation success. From a tiny dwindling population based in Wales, there are now in excess of 3,000 red kites in Britain.

Hen Harrier

With any election there is always a candidate that is billed as having an outside chance. This beautiful raptor is a hot political potato as it is the most persecuted in the UK. Shamefully, there is perhaps just one pair remaining in England. If Britain wants to back an underdog then the hen harrier is the one.

Barn Owl

There is nothing more haunting than the ghostly image of a barn owl in the countryside flying through the beam of a car’s headlights in the dark of night. Everybody loves an owl. But do you love the barn owl enough to make it our national bird?


The dazzling jewel of the British bird scene, but surprisingly, they are not an everyday sight for most people. Despite their bright colours, kingfishers can be easily overlooked as they spend a lot their time perched motionless by riverbanks.


The wren is a tiny bird with a mighty voice. After the goldcrest and firecrest, it is the third smallest bird in Britain. Many people mistakenly believe that the Jenny wren has always been our national bird. Now is your chance to make it a reality.


Perhaps Britain’s most famous bird, it needs little introduction. Good old Robin Redbreast is actually a member of the thrush family, rarely lives longer than a couple of years and already holds the title of Britain’s favourite bird.


The blackbird is one of the most familiar birds in the country with a truly mellifluous song. Paul McCartney sang a song about the blackbird. Will this dark and handsome thrush be calling the tune when the votes are finally in?

Blue Tit

There can’t be a garden in the land that isn’t graced by blue tits, one of Britain’s most beautiful birds. They are among the most familiar of our garden birds and are avid users of the feeders and nest boxes that we put out for them.

Vote here for your favourite bird.