Common Bird Species

Some bird species in the UK can become a serious nuisance in the wrong locations - ask anyone who has had birds roosting or nesting in their business premises. Not only can they cause a lot of damage, but they can also spread diseases.

There are several pest bird species in the UK. These include greater black-backed gull, lesser black-backed gull, herring gull, feral pigeon, starling, and collared dove. In large numbers they can cause a variety of problems for your business.

Here’s a handy guide to the most common UK pest birds.

Feral Pigeons

(Columba Livia)

Also known as city doves or street pigeons, they are descended from wild rock doves. They thrive in our towns and cities, making use of seemingly inhospitable areas of tall buildings with the smallest amount of shelter.

Pigeon

Appearance

  • Usually blue-grey (although other colours are common).

Life Cycle

  • 2 - 3 broods per year, with 2 eggs in each clutch. They have a 17 - 19 day incubation period and the young birds spend 35 - 37 days in the nest.

Habits

  • Pigeons are gregarious creatures preferring to live in flocks of anywhere between 50 and 500.
  • Eats seeds, green feed, domestic scraps in and around cities, near roosting sites.
  • Given an adequate food supply pigeons can breed throughout the year, although the peak breeding season is usually between March and July.

Seagulls

(Family – Laridae)

The family includes herring gulls (Larus Argentatus) and lesser black-backed gulls (Larus Fuscus). These have become well adapted to living in our coastal towns and cities.

Herring Gull

Appearance

  • Difficult to tell some gulls apart due to seasonal variations in their plumage.

Life Cycle

  • 1 brood per year, with 3 eggs in each clutch.
  • 25 day incubation period.
  • Young birds spend 35 - 42 days in the nest.

Habits

  • Gulls will scavenge on practically anything.
  • They feed away from their nesting sites, but return to roost.
  • Gulls become a greater problem during summer months, when mating and rearing their young, as they will aggressively defend their nests.

Starlings

(Sturnus Vulgaris)

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.

Starling

Appearance

  • 20 - 23cm long.

Life Cycle

  • Up to two broods a year with usually 4 - 6 eggs in each clutch. Young spend around 21 days in the nest. Breeding can extend from April to July if conditions are favourable.

Habits

  • An agricultural pest of standing crops, but will also flock into cities in large numbers.
  • The droppings from a large roosting flock of starlings are a good medium for pathogenic fungi, some of which can be harmful or even fatal to humans.

Collared Dove

(Streptopelia Decaocto)

Collared Dove

Appearance

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

Life Cycle

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

Habits

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

House Sparrow

(Passer Domesticus)

A particular pest to the food industry because of the risk of contamination from their droppings and the damage done to packaged goods.

House sparrows are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. However, general licences issued under the Act are still in place in Wales and Scotland, and under the Wildlife Order in Northern Ireland. These allow an authorised person to control house sparrows to prevent serious damage to agriculture or preserve public health and safety.

House Sparrow

Appearance

  • Less than 15cm long.
  • Male House Sparrows have a grey crown on their heads, and black throat ‘bib’, whereas females and young are mostly plain brown.

Life Cycle

  • The breeding season runs through Spring and Summer.
  • Up to three broods of 4 - 6 eggs.

Habits

  • The same nest is often used every year, resulting in a build up of debris and insects associated with their nests.
  • They live for 4 - 7 years, with up to five breeding seasons.

Need to Control One of These Pest Bird Species?

Our avian specialists are experienced in how to get rid of pest birds from your business premise, using discreet, cost-effective methods that won’t harm the birds or disrupt your business.

Call Rentokil free on 0800 218 2210 and we’ll return your call within 24 hours to help you control birds in your business premises.