Birds and Wildlife of Cardigan Bay


Sit still on the banks of a river and here in west Wales you may be lucky enough to watch a kingfisher diving from a dead branch to emerge from the water with a small fish. A fabulous almost tropical site.

Photo of Red Kite - Janet Baxter
Photo of Red Kite – Janet Baxter

You must visit West Wales to see the rare and beautiful Red Kite in its natural environment.

West Wales was the last outpost of these once common birds of prey. Hundreds of years of persecution reduced their numbers to a few pairs living in the Tywi and Cothi valleys. Fortunately the efforts of dedicated conservationists has saved the Red Kite from extinction and there are now more than 200 pairs in Wales.

You may well see Red Kites as you walk the coast path or drive the lanes of Cardigan Bay. Or you can visit the centres at the bottom of this page, each is different so try to fit them all into your itinerary.


Photo of Redshank - Andreas Trepte
Photo of Redshank – Andreas Trepte

Redshanks, Oystercatchers and Curlews are found along Cardigan Bay. Gwbert along the road to Mwnt from Cardigan, as you walk along beside the Teifi estuary, is an excellent place to find wading birds at low tide.


Photo of Curlew - Andreas Trepte
Photo of Curlew – Andreas Trepte


Photo of Oystercatcher - Fir0002
Photo of Oystercatcher – Fir0002


This video is from the BBC series filmed in Wales. It contains images of the buzzard feeding on a dead sheep, but also wonderful pictures of the buzzard flying and hopping over the ground. You can distinguish the buzzard from the slightly larger Red kite, by the tail feathers, the red kite has a forked tail but the tail of the buzzard is fan shaped.


Photo of Lizard in garden - Jane Davies
Photo of Lizard in garden – Jane Davies

Lizards, slow worms and adders can be seen on hot sunny days, lizards seem to enjoy the warmth of sun warmed wood as hear on a garden bench in a Cardigan garden. Adders sometimes basc in the sun on the coast paths, be cautious when sitting on stones by the path.


Photo of Chough - Malte Uh CC-BY-SA
Photo of Chough – Malte Uh CC-BY-SA

Choughs nest in cliffs crevices and caves, and can be found most of the year along the coast path, in particular between Penbryn and Llangrannog. Wales is fortunate to have a growing population of choughs. Llisten out for the loud ‘chow’ call that gives the bird its name. You can distinguis a chough from a raven or crow by it’s red beak and legs.


Photo of Gannets - Pembrokeshire County Council
Photo of Gannets – Pembrokeshire County Council

Locations for bird watching with information

Ynys-Hir RSPB reserve near Machynlleth

Range of habitats in this tidal nature reserve with woodland.

Bwlch Nant-yr-Arian Forest Visitor Centre near Aberystwyth.

Cors Caron – Tregaron Bog has some accessible trails. It has a range of habitats suitable for red kites, hen harriers, curlews and skylarks.

Welsh Wildlife Centre in Cilgerran – a great place to spot a range of estuary birds and otters.

A great resource for finding places to see birds and wildlife is the Wildlife Trust website.

For up to date sightings and current information there is a very active group on FaceBook for Ceredigion Birds and Wildlife.