Although Mull is becoming famous as the 'Eagle Island', because of the good chance of seeing both golden and white-tailed eagles, it is the wide range of birdlife seen amongst such remarkable scenery that really makes Mull, along with the Treshnish Islands, Staffa and Iona so special for the birder. This page gives you information about what birds you can see here, where to see them and when they are here. Seaview is an ideal location for exploring and finding the birds of Mull and Iona. Birdwatching breakaway offers are available on the bookings page, including trips to Staffa and the Treshnish Isles which John can book for you.

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Where & When to see Birds on Mull, Iona & Treshnish

Magnificent Eagles


Mull is now home to both British breeding eagles: the golden eagle and the white-tailed eagle, more commonly known now as the sea eagle. The golden eagles' preferred home is the mountains whilst the sea eagle prefers the shore of sheltered sea lochs.

On Mull you are never far from the mountains and therefore never far from the domain of the golden eagle.
Adult Golden Eagle

Since they spend much of their time soaring through their territory, making use of updrafts from hillsides, then scanning along ridges gives you the best chance of seeing them isolated against the sky.

Young golden eagles leave their nests in mid-summer, staying within their parents territory until early winter and are separated from adults by their white patches in wings and tail.

Young Golden Eagle

Sea eagles are now breeding in significant numbers on Mull as a result of a long-standing re-introduction project by SNH and RSPB.

White-tailed or sea eagle

They feed on fish as well as many other items such as ducks and seabirds and can often be seen on or near the shore of the more sheltered parts of the coastline or sea-lochs.

Other Birds of Prey

Mull is also one of the best places in the UK to see hen harrier and, in some years, short-eared owl are also regulary seen in the early mornings and evenings.

Both species haunt the lower lying areas such as bog and scrubland, also taking advantage of increased prey populations within in young forestry areas.

Adult male hen harrier

Buzzard are the commonest bird of prey on Mull but prefer the low-lying more fertile areas such as fields where rabbits are more common. Kestrel are found everywhere mostly nesting in holes and crevices in crags and cliffs.


Sparrowhawks are fairly common, taking advantage of plantation forestry and native woodland alike, but they are very secretive during the breeding season and more likely to be seen in late summer and autumn when breeding is over. Peregrine and merlin are much rarer on Mull with only a few pairs of breeding each year.

Seabirds & Waders

The seabird colonies around Mull are mostly on the outying islands. However shag and fulmar both breed on steep sea cliffs at many points around Mull and herring, greater-black backed, lesser black-backed and common gull colonies are also spread throughout the island.

Out on the Treshnish Isles and Staffa the seabirds rule the roost with nationally significant numbers of guillemot, black guillemot, razorbill, puffin & kittiwake.
Bridled Guillemot

While smaller numbers of arctic skua, great skua, manx shearwater and storm petrels can be seen around the islands or on the crossing to them.

Smaller inshore islands just of Mull's coast are regulary breeding haunts of arctic and common tern, which can often be seen fishing in the Sound of Iona.

Although not abundant in huge numbers there are signifcant populations of wader species breeding in the area. The whistling call that announces the arrival of the common sandpiper is one of the sounds of spring, breeding close to the edge of lochs and coast.

Common Sandpiper

Ringed plover and oystercatcher are abundant around the rocky coastline and beaches throughout the islands. Snipe are often flushed from ditches in the bog and their 'drumming' display is seen and heard throughout the islands on calm summer evenings. Again in the evening and close to woodland edges you might be lucky enough to observe the 'roding' display of the woodcock, a larger realtive of the snipe.


In areas of pastures or machair grassland, lapwing are common while the wetter margins of such areas are the haunt of redshank and, much rarer on Mull, dunlin. The higher areas of bog on the hills are the breeding areas of golden plover, who often feed on the fields at lower down.

In early spring or late summer and autumn many migrant waders pass through the area and beaches are a good place to spot turnstone, whimbrel, black-tailed and bar-tailed godwit, dunlin, sanderling while even rarer species such as dotterel and purple sandpiper could well be seen.

Other Birds

Meadow pipit and skylark are the most abundant passerines and are found throughout the islands on moorland and bog. Stonechat, wheatear and pied wagtail are also abundant, while yellowhammer, whinchat, linnet and twite, all breed in low numbers.


Red grouse are widespread but low in numbers while the highest hills do support some ptarmigan. Some of the small inland lochans support teal, mallard or reed bunting. Snow bunting is a common winter visitor as are fieldfare and redwing.

The native woodlands woodlands and associated scrubland scattered around Mull support willow warbler, wood warbler, sedge warbler, whitethroat, tree pipit, redstart, robin, coal tit, great tit, wren and treecreeper.


The dipper is a wonderful bird, feeding on aquatic insects it captures by diving into the cold, clean waters of Mull's streams and rivers. Some streams are also home for the grey wagtail.

Mull has extensive areas of coniferous plantation forests which, though not particularly diverse, does support significant numbers of chaffinch, siskin, goldcrest and wood pigeon.

Mull is a stronghold for the largest and finest of corvids, the raven. The hooded crow, the grey bodied sub-species of the carrion crow is very common while there is a small number of rook and jackdaw colonies.

Hooded Crow

Coastal waters and sea lochs are frequented by breeding grey heron, eider, shelduck, red-breasted merganser, greylag geese, mute swan and red-throated diver. Wintering birds such as slavonian grebe, both great northern and black-throated diver are regular visitors to the area.


The corncrake, is a very rare British breeding bird. It was once widespread through much of Britain, but increasing agricultural intensification means that it is now only found in western areas of Scotland and Ireland. It spends much of its time in deep vegetation, the males often spending all night calling - an extraordinary repetitive rasping sound. Iona has an increasingly healthy population of corncrakes.

Where & When to see Birds on Mull,
Iona & Treshnish

Treshnish Isles & Staffa

The Treshnish Isles are the prime seabird islands and are always worth a visit from June through to the end of July, the thousands of puffins, guillemots and other species are unforgettable. Trips to Treshnish and Staffa can be arranged through John, with one of the birdwatching packages available at Seaview.

Puffin in flight

Staffa also holds good numbers of puffins and other seabirds as well as it's amazing geology.

Mull Sea Lochs

Loch na Keal is a large sea loch on the west coast of Mull and provides a wide range of bird interest throughout the year. Other sealochs also of interest are Loch Don and Loch Spelve.

Male eider

All year round sea eagles frequent the shore of sea lochs and golden eagles soar across the mountain ridges behind. Grey heron, shag, reb-breasted merganser, eider and oystercatcher are also present all year. Summer visitors include common sandpiper,

Glen More

Glen More is extends either side of the A849 road between Craignure and Fionnphort some 8 miles west of Craignure. It encompasses some immature plantation forestry, large areas of moorland and surrounding high peaks.

All year round interest include golden eagle, raven, hen harrier, buzzard, kestrel and short-eared owl. Summer sights include cuckoo, meadow pipit, whintchat, wheatear, curlew. Winter may see flocks of snow bunting.

Short-eared owl


Fidden is an area of sandy coastal grassland and rocky coastline just south of Fionnphort that holds a wide variety of birdlife.


In summer breeding species include redshank, oystercatcher, lapwing, shelduck, linnet, skylark, snipe, buzzard, raven and gulls. In passage peregrine, godwits and whimbrel are amongst those that can be seen. Winter can see flocks of barnacle geese.

Sound of Iona

As you cross to Iona to sound out the corncrakes make sure spend the short ferry ride scanning the Sound of Iona.

All year round interest includes shag, cormorant, guilliemot, gannet, eider while summer also sees kittiwake and terns feeding in the Sound.


Beaches & Lochs of the Ross of Mull

The beaches and lochs of the Ross of Mull, can provide hours of exciting birding. Loch Poit na h-I, Loch Assapol & Harrison's Loch hold little grebe, greylag geese, mallard and teal in summer and whooper swan, white-fronted geese, pochard and goldeneye in winter.


In summer the beaches at Ardalanish and Uisken have oystercatcher, ringed plover and common gull. In spring and late summer passage species such as turnstone, whimbrel, sanderling and dunlin.

John is always on hand to give some guidance as to where you are likely to find most of the aforementioned species.