Barn Owl
Blackbird
Blackcap
Black-headed Gull
Black Redstart
Blue Tit
Brambling
Bullfinch
Buzzard
Carrion Crow
Chaffinch
Chiffchaff
Coal Tit
Collared Dove
Common Gull
Coot
Crested Tit
Crossbill
Cuckoo
Dunnock
Feral Pigeon
Fieldfare
Garden Warbler
Goldcrest
Goldfinch
Goshawk
Great Black-backed Gull
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Great Tit
Greenfinch
Green Woodpecker
Grey Heron
Grey Partridge
Grey Wagtail
Hawfinch
Herring Gull
Hoopoe
House Martin
House Sparrow
Jackdaw
Jay
Kestrel
Kingfisher
Lapwing
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Lesser Whitethroat
Linnet
Little Owl
Long-eared Owl
Long-tailed Tit
Magpie
Mallard
Marsh Tit
Meadow Pipit
Mistle Thrush
Moorhen
Nightingale
Nuthatch
Peregrine
Pheasant
Pied Flycatcher
Pied Wagtail
Quail
Raven
Red Kite
Red-legged Partridge
Redpoll
Redstart
Redwing
Reed Bunting
Ring-necked Parakeet
Robin
Rook
Sand Martin
Serin
Short-eared Owl
Siskin
Skylark
Song Thrush
Sparrowhawk
Spotted Flycatcher
Starling
Stock Dove
Stonechat
Swallow
Swift
Tawny Owl
Treecreeper
Tree Sparrow
Turtle Dove
Waxwing
Whinchat
Whitethroat
Willow Tit
Willow Warbler
Wood Pigeon
Wren
Yellow Wagtail
Yellowhammer

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Life Expectancy

Generally, life expectancy in birds is greatest in the larger birds but this is by no means exact owing to the difficulty in obtaining accurate information. A common method of aging birds is through ringing schemes:

Nestlings taken briefly from their nests and birds captured in mist nests have their vital statistics recorded and then a small metal or plastic ring that carries a unique identity is fixed to their leg. If the bird is subsequently recaptured or found dead, the details on the ring can be used to determine the age of the bird.

The table below shows the average and longest life spans for some of our common wild garden birds (not captive birds, which can live much longer):

Typical Life Expectancy
Species Average (years) Oldest (years)
Blackbird 2.4 20
Blue Tit 1.5 21
Robin 1.1 12
Starling 2.5 22

So, the stark reality is that it is unlikely to be the same Robin that visits your garden year after year. This is because mortality (or death rate) in their first year is incredibly high and in fact only about one in four Robins reach their first birthday.

Up-to-date longevity records are published by EURING, The European Union for Bird Ringing.


Last revision: 26 Dec 2014
Copyright © David Gains 1999-2015.
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