Have you seen a Red Kite, a Kestrel or a Buzzard in SE or central Scotland? If so, please let us know! You can submit your sightings below.

Why Raptors?

Raptors – birds of prey – are top-predators, feeding on a range of different species. The presence of raptors is therefore usually an indicator of a healthy, functioning ecosystem. Raptors can also be an important contributor to the British economy through motivation for tourism. However, they are sometimes subject to persecution, illegal poisoning and shootings due to perceived conflicts with other land uses. On top of this, intensification of agricultural practices and changes in land use have also contributed to a substantial decline of many birds of prey.

This survey focuses on Buzzard, Red Kite and Kestrel. Buzzards have undergone recent population recoveries and are now common in the Lothian and Borders. In contrast, Kestrel numbers have recently been in decline but it is not yet known why. Red kites are currently a rarer sight in our area but are more common in other parts of Scotland and may start breeding here in the not too distant future. The Lothians and Borders Raptor Study Group have reported an increase in the number of sightings over the last few years. By asking everyone to look out for Red Kites, we increase the chances of spotting them if/ when they are around and should help us to better understand the existing distribution of Kites in our region.

By inviting everyone to get involved in this survey, we hope to encourage a greater appreciation of the raptors as well as generating many more records of the species, which will give us a clearer picture of the status of raptors in our region. This will help monitor future changes to the populations.

Results to date

Since its launch in May 2014 we have received almost 2000 raptor sightings for our region via this survey. Buzzards are the mostly commonly reported, accounting for almost 70% of the records so far. Kestrel records account for a quarter of all sightings and Red Kite c. 1.5%. We have also received a number of Sparrowhawk sightings, often observed in private gardens. Please continue to send us your sightings and if you are in any doubt about what you have seen please e-mail a photograph, so your record can be verified.

More Information

Factsheets for all three raptors can be viewed and downloaded: BuzzardKestrelRed Kite.

TWIC shares the records from the Record a Raptor survey with appropriate organisations, including the SOC (Scottish Ornithologists’ Club), the Lothian and Borders Raptor Study Group and Forestry Commission Scotland. The records are also uploaded to the NBN Atlas Scotland at an appropriate resolution for public view.

To become more involved in raptor-monitoring in the Lothians and Borders, please refer to the Edinburgh Hawkwatch or contact the Lothian and Borders Raptor Study Group.

N.B. If you witness a suspected wildlife crime taking place, call 999 immediately. For any other wildlife crime sightings, contact your local police department.

The ‘Record a Raptor’ survey is grant funded by NatureScot and Forestry Commission Scotland.

Submit your sightings

What did you see?

Please tell us if the Red Kite, Kestrel or Buzzard you saw was dead or alive, and how many you saw (if you saw several birds on separate occasions, you should fill this form in separately for each time you saw a bird). Please fill in as many details as possible but those marked Required must be filled in. Please only submit a record if you are happy for The Wildlife Information Centre (TWIC) to hold a copy of your personal data and to process it. We may need to contact you regarding the record you submit. If you are not happy for us to hold your personal data, please do NOT submit a record. Please note we can only accept sightings for the Lothians, Scottish Borders, Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire Council areas and the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park. If you have sightings outwith this area in the UK, please submit your sightings to iRecord. Thank you.
In the drop-down box below, please select the habitat in which you encountered the bird
The space below is for you to give any other information about the birds you saw (e.g. hunting by roadside, perching on fence etc.).

Where did you see this raptor?

Give the name of the place you saw it, e.g. “Vogrie Country Park, Gorebridge, Midlothian” or “School Road, Hawick”. If possible, we would also appreciate a grid reference (e.g. NT123456) – if you don’t know it, please use the ‘Grab-a-grid-Reference’ tool below to find out. Please record using a four or six figure reference (shown in blue and green below respectively).

Please note we can only accept sightings for the Lothians, Scottish Borders, Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire Council areas and the Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park. If you have wildlife sightings for another part of Scotland, England, Wales or Northern Ireland, please submit your sightings to iRecord. Thank you.

When did you see this raptor?

Be as accurate as you can but please don’t guess! If you don’t know the day, please put the first of the month and the year.
MM slash DD slash YYYY

Who saw this raptor?

Please enter the name of the person who saw the hedgehog. Extra details like email and telephone numbers are optional* but are valuable if we need to contact you about your sighting. If the recorder is under 16, please submit a parent or guardian’s name.
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Accepted file types: jpg, jpeg, png, gif, Max. file size: 50 MB.