Distribution Britain 674 (64.0%) Ireland 2 (100%)
Numbers breeding: Britain 2,600 Ireland 1
European status: 53,000 (5% in Britain and Ireland =3)
British population trend: expanding and increasing
How likely are you to record it? 78 squares (1.7%) Ranked 107
These birds started to colonise Scotland in about 1870 and were fairly common north of the Lowlands in mainland areas by 1900. They almost all breed inland on rivers and use holes for their nests. They are hated by many sport fishermen and persecuted (both legally and illegally) especially in Scotland. Nevertheless they have spread southwards and the first English breeding was Northumberland (1941) followed by colonisation of the uplands north of a line from the Flamborough to the Ribble. Now some in the Peak District and even Devon and Wales have been colonised over the last 30 years. A single pair has been recorded in North-west Ireland, on and off, for three decades, with breeding proved in Wicklow in 1997. Further expansion to be confidently expected.
Gregory, R.D., Carter, S.P. & Baillie, S.R. 1997 Bird Study: 44, 1-12.
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From The State of the Nations Birds
Copyright © 2000 by Chris Mead