Birds of Caerlaverock Wetland Centre

Birds of Caerlaverock Wetland Centre

The Dumfries and Galloway region of Scotland offers visitors the chance to see several bird species you can’t see anywhere else in the world. One of the best places within Dumfries and Galloway to see a wide variety of unique bird species is the Caerlaverock Wetland Centre (Caerlaverock WWT). Best of all, no matter what time of year you plan to visit, you can expect plenty of Caerlaverock bird sightings – talk about flexibility.

From the Arctic Svalbard Barnacle Geese to the Peregrine Falcon, an avid birder will love their trip to this wetland centre in Scotland.


When the summer heats bear down on Scotland, there’s no better place to stop than the shady wet grassland of WWT Caerlaverock. This nature reserve presents a stunning piece of Scottish wildlife you can explore. You better bring your binoculars because there are many different animals to see in the habitats.

A trip to the Caerlaverock Wetland Centre is one of the easiest ways to go birdwatching, and more habitats have a wide selection of breeding birds. The Caerlaverock Wetland Centre is one of the best visitor centres in the region and hosts an excellent selection of informative exhibits to learn about the wildfowl in their home.

Details to Know

If you’re interested in visiting the wetland centre, remember that the visitor centre is open 7 days a week, although the centre is closed on the 24th, 25th, and 26th of December. They’re available from 10:00 and close at 17:00, with the final admission at 16:00.

Entrance fees are £9.50 for adults, £5.75 for juniors, and children under 4 enter for free. There are even options to eat and drink at the visitor centre, which you can snack on at the picnic table with stunning views out to the wetlands if the weather permits.

When to Visit

Spring, Summer, and Autumn are the best times to visit the Caerlaverock Wetland Centre, and birds flock to the centre each year either for their breeding season or to overwinter within the wetlands.

How to Get There

Travelling to the Caerlaverock Wetland Centre is a short trip and can be visited as part of a day trip to Dumfries and Galloway. Following the B725 out of Dumfries will take you past Caerlaverock Castle, after which you can navigate to the reserve using the distinctive brown signs that line the road.

Top Birds to Look Out For

As you explore the wetland centre, watch for the following bird species, you will want to take advantage of them!

Whooper Swans (Cygnus cygnus)

Whooper Swans

Arriving for the winter, the Whooper Swans arrive at Caerlaverock Wetland Centre and instantly make a statement. These majestic birds are easily identified by their regal white feathers and yellow bills that end with a black tip.

Also known as a common swan, the Whooper Swan gets its name from its distinctive whooping noise when it calls.

Arctic Svalbard Barnacle Geese (Branta leucopsis)

Svalbard Barnacle Geese

One of the most unique-looking geese you can see in the UK, the Barnacle Goose has a black neck, chest, and wings that contrast with its white face and stomach. Interestingly, males and females of this species are nearly identical in appearance.

These are the premier birds of this wetland centre and will undoubtedly be one of the highlights you can see while here.

Red Breasted Goose (Branta ruficollis)

Red Breasted Goose

One of the birds that pop up frequently in the yearly saltmarsh survey assessments is the Red-breasted Goose, a snazzy-looking goose that has a prominent auburn red neck and spot on its cheek. Contrasted against the other birds within the centre, these geese are a spectacle to find and watch as they fly though the centre.

Black-Tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)

Black Tailed Godwit

Easily identified by their long bills and long legs, the Black-Tailed Godwit is a wader bird that can often be seen stalking the edges of the wetland in search of food. Their black tails separate them from the Bar-tailed Godwit, and are a feature they keep in their summer and winter coats.

In addition, you’ll find Godwit amongst other thriving bird species in the merse habitats, including reed bunting.

Greater Scaup (Aythya Marila)

Greater Scaup

The Greater Scaup is an exciting-looking diving duck, characterised by its yellow eyes and white wings. They are one of the rarest duck breeds in the UK, making their occasional appearance Caerlaverock a special treat.

Accommodation Options

While there is no accommodation within the wetland centre, many options exist in and around the area. Only a short trip from the centre, Dumfries’ accommodation options are superb, including luxurious hotels, homely bed and breakfasts, and self-catering accommodations for privacy.

Things to Do Nearby

The beautiful Caerlaverock Castle is a short trip away from the centre. It is an impressive historical monument with the title of the first moated triangular castle built in the 13th century. Otherwise, Dumfries and Galloway are known for their extensive natural attractions, including Galloway Forest – an excellent birdwatching place.


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