Discover Scotland’s Wildlife

June 7, 2013



From unique birds like the pink-footed goose to incredible highland creatures like the ‘hairy coo’ – an instantly recognizable breed of Highland cattle – Scotland has a truly amazing variety of birds, land mammals, and sea life within its borders.

Whether you’re searching for stunning highland beasts to photograph or elegant sea life to experience, read on to learn more about the great wildlife that makes Scotland such a rewarding country to visit.

Scottish Bird Watching: The Country’s Most Remarkable Birds

Scotland is home to an incredible variety of birds, ranging from charming lakeside sparrows to impressive birds of prey. From the fast-moving peregrine falcon to the unique pink-footed goose, Scotland’s bird life is a great reason to visit the country.

Birds of prey inspire all of us. Scotland’s peregrine falcon reaches speeds of up to 240 miles per hour as it hunts its prey, making it the fastest animal that the world has ever known. The golden eagle is another remarkable Scottish bird of prey, with a wingspan that extends to 2.3 metres.

As well as its remarkable range of birds of prey, Scotland is home to a variety of less aggressive aerial animals. The pink-footed goose, a migratory bird that flies from as far away as Greenland to winter in Scotland, is a popular photography target due to its unique look and accessible, friendly nature.

Highland Wildlife: From Red Deer to Highland Cattle

Britain’s largest land mammal, the remarkable red deer, is easy to find in Scotland. A popular sight throughout the country’s Highlands, red deer are an iconic animal that have become an international symbol of Scottish wildlife. Over 300,000 red deer are spread throughout the country, making them a popular target for photographers.

As well as the iconic red deer, Scotland is home to another uniquely Scottish animal: the ‘hairy coo,’ or Highland cattle. Known for their incredible hairy winter costs, the Highland cattle is one of Scotland’s most valuable exports, playing a vital role in the country’s agricultural industry.

Coastal Creatures: Seals, Puffins, and Sea Eagles

For a truly engrossing look at Scotland’s wildlife, you’ll need to visit the country’s rugged and beautiful coastline. Grey seals congregate on the rocky coastline every year during winter, giving visitors a close-up view of these incredible creatures.

As well as seals, Scotland’s coastal cliffs and rocky beaches are home to a variety of unique birds. The sea eagle – Scotland’s largest eagle by wingspan – can be found in rocky outcrops, while charming puffin colonies can be observed along the coast.

puffin scotland

 From cute puffins to wild peregrine falcons, Scotland’s bird life is truly remarkable. Image

Scotland’s Sea Life: Bottlenose Dolphins and Minke Whales

Scotland is home to some of the world’s most northerly bottlenose dolphins. While bottlenose dolphins are typically found in tropical seas such as those surrounding Africa and South America, Scotland remains a major bottlenose dolphin hotspot.

Measuring in at ten metres, the minke whale is one of the world’s largest mammals, with Scotland their region of choice. Get up close and personal with these amazing sea creatures during the summer months, when they’re visible in large colonies off the coast of Scotland.

Staying Safe: Scottish Wildlife Laws and Safety Tips

Scotland’s wildlife is one of the country’s biggest tourist draws, and the government understands the importance of keeping animals safe. In response to people stealing birds of prey and attempting to sell them, Scotland’s wildlife laws were modified in 2011 to better protect animals from the potential threat of humans.

For both your own safety and the safety of the animals you’re observing, it’s best to keep your distance when viewing Scotland’s wildlife. While many animals feel safe and comfortable around humans, many others – particularly territorial animals – could view you as a threat, and respond with aggression.

This guide to Scottish wildlife was written by Shearings Holidays, one of the UK’s top travel companies. Visit their website to learn more about coach holidays to Scotland for bird watching, whale watching, and wildlife photography.

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