Wildlife in Perthshire

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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.

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At the heart of Perthshire lies woodland that makes up ‘Big Tree Country'. Dense forests and mountain terrain provides the perfect habitat for some of Scotland’s most interesting species and the perfect backdrop to spot them. Visit nature reserves or use trails that take you to the sub-Arctic climate of the region’s Munros to see rare birdlife like the ptarmigan or capercailie.

Perthshire, located at the very heart of Scotland, has an unrivalled range of habitats and species. Straddling the Highland Boundary Fault, the area offers the best of both worlds with spectacular mountains and lochs as well as dense forests.

At the core of the country is Scotland’s longest river, the River Tay, and a bevy of beautiful lochs with mountains to match. Ben Lawers, a Munro near Killin overlooking Loch Tay, is one of Britain's top areas for scarce arctic-alpine plants. It is also a prime spot to catch sight of the ptarmigan, a plump game bird famous for its snow white plumage in winter, which breeds on the highest mountains of Scotland.

Woods in the heart of Perthshire - such as Blair Atholl, Killiecrankie and Dunkeld - are famous for their large trees and the Black Wood of Rannoch is a signficant remnant of the ancient Caledonian forest, home to pine martens and the rare capercaillies and red squirrels.

The Pitlochry Dam is home to a renowned fish ladder where visitors may experience the thrill of travelling wild salmon. Around 5,000 pass through here each summer which can be seen as they dash further upstream in a special viewing chamber. Further downstream, when the Tay becomes an estuary east of Perth, you can see Europe's largest reed beds as they grow wider.

The Loch of the Lowes nature reserve, close to Dunkeld, has a visitor centre looking out to a regular osprey breeding site. Further south, visit RSPB Loch Leven where wintering geese make their daily flights. Pink-footed geese peak at over 20,000 each November. The RSPB reserve on the loch has an observation room overlooking the loch, from which you may see ducks, whooper swans, redshank, lapwings and great spotted woodpeckers as well as the aforementioned geese. If you want to get even closer, there are three hides and a nature trail to follow.

  • See birds of prey at Gleneagles - image supplied by The Gleneagles Hotel
    See birds of prey at Gleneagles - image supplied by The Gleneagles Hotel
  • A large bird or prey in flight holding a fish in its talons
    The osprey (image courtesy of RSPB/ Chris Gomersall - rspb-images.com)
A moorhen feeds in the shallow waters of a reed bed

Finding wildlife

Discover the amazing wildlife that favours stunning Perthshire landscapes, from beautiful lochs, mountains and ancient forests.

Bird of prey, Gleneagles - image supplied by The Gleneagles Hotel

Wildlife attractions

Enjoy wildlife attractions in Perthshire, a region which has a number of exciting species to offer.

A duck and four ducklings on a river


Explore the variety of birdwatching opportunities and different species to be seen across Perthshire

A large bird or prey in flight preparing to land at its nest

Hides and reserves

Discover Scotland’s wildlife of Perthshire by paying a visit to the region’s many hides, reserves and visitor centres.

A red deer roars as part of the annual autumn rut on the Isle of Rum

Red deer ruts

Watch some of our largest deer lock antlers in fiercesome head-to-head battles as part of the UK's most amazing wildlife spectacle.