Living things

Birds

(Illustrations by Marion Foster)

More than 50,000 birds live in or visit the harbour each year, making Chichester Harbour an internationally important place for birds. Here are some you might see if you visit the harbour.


Grey Heron

Grey Heron

Grey Heron
Nests in trees at Fishbourne and South Hayling, though can be seen anywhere in the Harbour. Large, grey bird with plumed head. Often seen at the edge of the water catching fish and eels.


Shell Duck
Shelduck

Shelduck
A large multi-coloured duck. Up to 80 pairs nest in rabbit holes or deep undergrowth near the Harbour. The young hatch in June and July and are taken to the harbour when a day old to feed and swim.


Curlew

Curlew
Curlew
The largest wader with very long legs, a down-curved beak and brown slighty mottled plumage. Most are in the Harbour between July and March.


Cormorant

Cormorant
Cormorant
Large black bird often seen swimming and diving for fish. Sometimes you will see it perched on posts with its wings ‘spread to dry’.


Black Headed Gull
Black Headed Gull

Black-headed Gull
These birds can be seen all year and up to 14,000 are in the harbour in the winter. It has a black head only in the summer, in the winter, it has a white head with a black eye spot. Sometimes these nest in the Harbour.


Little Egret

Little Egret
Little Egret

Large, plain white bird with yellow feet. Can be seen all year, though few in May and June.


Oystercatcher


Oyster Catcher

These birds nest on the beach by scraping out a hollow in the shingle. A black and white bird with red legs and beak. It feeds on shellfish and worms.


Lapwing

Lapwing
Lapwing

Dark, irridescent plumage, pale underneath, with a crest on the head. These birds are mainly seen in the winter. Their call sounds like ‘peewit’.


Redshank

Redshank
Redshank


A medium-sized brown bird with long red legs and beak. It is very noisy and nervous and can often be seen on the mud.

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Chichester Harbour Conservancy Education
Harbour Office, Itchenor, Chichester, PO20 7AW.   Tel: 01243 512 301