Elan Rare Birds


The Elan Valley area is a traditional stronghold for upland breeding birds such as golden plover, red grouse, curlew, merlin, ring ouzel, whinchat, and skylark. However, changing practices in how the land has been managed has contributed to the decline in rare birds in the Elan Links area. These are dependent on a variety of different plant communities, or vegetation mosaics.

This project will improve key habitat areas and make other interventions to help improve the breeding success of these rare birds.  Not only do we have the opportunity to reinvigorate traditional practises, there is the chance to mitigate the threat of further changes.

The project will focus on five species:

  • Curlew. Actions include mixed grazing, intervention for rushes/molinia, muckspreading and stock exclusion at certain times of the year.
  • Golden plover. Actions include: improving degraded bog, reducing molinia, seeding with heather and sphagnum and/or finer leaved grasses.
  • Red grouse. Actions include: manage tree/scrub to maintain an open landscape, management of the dry heath, effective tick control in grazing livestock.
  • Ring ouzel. Actions include: planting of scattered rowan and hawthorn on moorland, bracken management and cattle and pony grazing.
  • Merlin.  Actions include: improved dry heath, bracken management, scattered tree planting and mixed grazing.

Over the next five years, the aim is to achieve:

40 hectares better managed for curlew

40 hectares better managed for golden plover

450 hectares tick control zone for red grouse

30 hectares better managed for ring ouzel

30 hectares better managed for merlin

10 people trained in farming for birds

End of project report with recommendations for future activity

Volunteering activity

Interpretation to a wider audience.

Download the project plan.