Ring Ouzel Alert

We have been asked to issue this Ring Ouzel Alert by our friends at the Eastern Moors Partnership.  Please do have a read if you are visiting the Peak District National Park.  Please also spread the word to other people in your network that might need to be aware.  We’ve also added some Ring Ouzel facts below which we hope are of interest.   

A Treasured Summer Migrant

Ring Ouzels are a treasured summer migrant to Britain.  They visit to breed between March and September. They can be found in upland areas where they inhabit open moorland and crags.  Between 6,200 and 7,500 pairs of ring ouzels breed annually in the UK.  Unfortunately the population is decreasing. In Britain they are of high conservation concern and are classified as red listed due to their 43 per cent population decline in the last 40 years. It is suspected the decrease is related to ongoing habitat changes.
Ring Ouzels are a regular visitor to the Peak District National Park and nest on crags including Burbage South and Stanage Edge. It is important that they are given space during their breeding season.  Climbers and visitors are asked to stay away from sections of crags during this time.

Higgar Tor

This year Ring Ouzels have also decided to nest at Higgar Tor and we have been asked to spread the word so that visitors and groups using this area can avoid disturbing them.  In true Ring Ouzel fashion, they have chosen a very popular spot!
At the time of writing the nest contains four eggs and is particularly vulnerable to disturbance during this crucial time. Please help give this nest a fighting chance by avoiding the area circled in the map below until at least 21st May. There are signs around the area so you will be able to see where to avoid. It would also be much appreciated if you could you help to circulate this ring ouzel alert to other visitors and outdoor groups who take weaselling groups to the area.

Ring Ouzel Facts


Ring Ouzels are an omnivorous bird. In the spring they prefer earthworms and enjoy berries in the autumn and winter.  The migration route of the ring ouzel follows where suitable berries grow.

Winter Migrants

Ring ouzel migrate to the mountains of Morocco and Tunisia during winter.

Only Declining In Britain

Globally, ring ouzels are listed as of ‘least concern’ as they are only declining in Britain.


It can be easy to confuse the Ring Ouzel appearance with the blackbird, but there are differences.  The Ring Ouzel is slightly smaller and longer-tailed.  Particularly distinctive is the male with his pale wing panels and black plumage contrasting with a white gorget (a white crescent on the upper breast). The female’s appearance varies from a very bright breast band to a scarcely visible one. This often depends on the age as the older female birds tend to have a brighter and more defined colour.

What’s in a name?

The ring ouzel’s scientific name, Turdus torquatus, has Latin origins. The first part, ‘Turdus’, stands for thrush as the bird is a member of the Turdidae (thrush) family. The second part comes from the Latin ‘torquis’, meaning collar, referring to their white breast bands.

We try hard to protect the Peak District National Park in as many ways as possible. We do have a read of our Environment Policy here to find out more about our conservation activities.