Finding wildlife in Scotland

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Watch this video and see some of Scotland's remarkable wildlife, from timourous red squirrels to playful dolphins.
Great Scottish wildlife

See some of Scotland's remarkable wildlife, from timourous red squirrels to playful dolphins.

  • A golden eagle.
    A golden eagle
  • Close up shot of puffins on the Pentland Skerries
    Puffins on the Pentland Skerries
  • A close up of a red kite soaring high above Bellymack Hill Farm in Dumfries & Galloway
    A red kite soaring high above Bellymack Hill Farm in Dumfries & Galloway
  • Seals in Loch Flodabay, Isle of Harris
    Seals in Loch Flodabay, Isle of Harris

Whether on a mountain or hill, in a glen, forest or along the shoreline, there’s a wealth of wildlife experiences to be had in Scotland. With such an array of diverse animals, including some of the most rare and endangered species on the British Isles, Scotland promises unforgettable encounters with wildlife.

Scotland’s regions vary greatly and it’s this diversity that attracts many different species to make Scotland their home. Along thousands of miles of coastline, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for dolphins, seals and otters in quiet inlets, beaches and sea lochs.

Often spotted off the coast of Scotland’s many islands, orca and minke whales make an appearance in sight of the shore or if not, draw up close next to boats on wildlife cruises.  On just such a cruise, there are few natural sights more impressive than watching tens of thousands of seabirds congregating on sheer sea cliffs from below.

In dense forests, you may have to seek the helping hand of a knowledgeable, professional guide to find elusive mammals like pine martens. Birdlife is truly abundant across the rugged Scottish landscapes from wild fowl in wetland reserves to waders at the coast. In some cases, you'll have to crane your neck skywards to catch a glimpse of some of Scotland's majestic hunters; from ospreys to red kites and golden eagles to sea eagles.

With each new season brings a new incomparable sight, from red deer stags locking antlers in the annual autumnal rut or the arrival of pink-footed geese in the winter, migrating from the colder tundra landscapes of Greenland and Iceland.

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  1. RSPB Scotland Loch Leven nature reserve

    Type

    Nature Centres & Reserves

    Gradings

    • 4 Visitor Attraction
    4 Visitor Attraction

    Kinross

    RSPB Scotland Loch Leven is part of Loch Leven National Nature Reserve. The loch is famous for its connections to Mary Queen of Scots and as Scotland’s largest lowland freshwater loch.

  2. Gradings

    Birsay

    Welcome to The Loons & Loch of Banks (Mainland) Nature Reserve.

  3. Knockshinnoch Lagoons

    Type

    Nature Centres & Reserves

    Gradings

    New Cumnock

    Transformed from an industrial site, Knockshinnoch Lagoons is now an ideal spot for nature lovers.

  4. Rassal Ashwood

    Type

    Nature Centres & Reserves

    Gradings

    Kishorn

    Rassal Ashwood is a woodland which grows on a rare outcrop of limestone in Wester Ross.

  5. St Cyrus National Nature Reserve

    Type

    Nature Centres & Reserves

    Gradings

    • 3 Wildlife Experience
    3 Wildlife Experience

    St Cyrus

    The cliffs and dunes of St Cyrus support a distinctive range of plants, including many southern species.

  6. Gradings

    Fochabers

    A beautiful pine forest.

  7. Handa Island

    Type

    Nature Centres & Reserves

    Gradings

    Scourie

    Managed by the Scottish Wildlife Trust as a nature reserve, Handa Island is a beautiful place and a fantastic day trip.

  8. RSPB Scotland Sumburgh Head

    Type

    Nature Centres & Reserves

    Gradings

    South Mainland

    Sumburgh Head is located at the southern tip of mainland Shetland with the majestic 100 metre cliffs offering a fantastic, unobstructed view of the seabird colonies and marine life surrounding it.

  9. Nature Watch Orkney

    Type

    Tour Guides

    Gradings

    Kirkwall

    Nature Watch Orkney - Personalised tours, walks, strolls or simply observing with Tim Dean, author of the Orkney Book of Birds and The Orkney Book of Wildflowers.

  10. Ben Mor Coigach

    Type

    Nature Centres & Reserves

    Gradings

    Achiltibuie

    Ben Mor Coigach is a Scottish Wildlife Trust nature reserve.

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