Birds that prefer open-fronted boxes

Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba

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The Pied Wagtail often lives close to water – but that doesn’t exclude them from nesting in the middle of our largest city centres. They use a wide variety of nest sites, from drainpipes to farm machinery. Nestboxes are best sited where water and grass lawns are nearby.

  • Open-fronted nestbox

  • Nest height up to 5m above ground

  • Nest made of twigs, roots and moss

  • Egg laying starts between mid April and mid August. 2 or 3 broods

  • 5 to 6 eggs, greyish with brown speckles

  • Incubation time 13 days

  • Nestlings fledge after 14-15 days

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Robin Erithacus rubecula

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The ever popular Robin frequently tops polls to find Britain’s best loved bird. Robins like to nest in thick, overhanging vegetation: so an ideal site for a box might be attached to a fence that’s got climbing plants growing up it.

  • Open-fronted nestbox

  • Nest made of leaves, grass and moss, lined with roots or hair

  • Egg laying starts between mid April and mid August. 2 or 3 broods

  • 4 to 5 eggs, white with variable speckles

  • Incubation time 14-16 days

  • Nestlings fledge after 13-16 days

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Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata

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This sleek brown bird with a pale, streaked front migrates all the way to Africa for the winter. They like to have a good outlook from their nest and need an open nestbox with a low front, ideally hidden in a creeper.

  • Open-fronted nestbox

  • Nest height between 2-4m above ground with a clear outlook

  • Nest made of miscellaneous materials, including spiders’ webs, and lined with feathers and leaves

  • Egg laying starts between mid May and mid August. 1 or 2 broods

  • 4 to 5 eggs, off-white, usually mottled reddish

  • Incubation time 13-14 days

  • Nestlings fledge after 13-16 days

Wren Troglodytes troglodytes

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The scientific name Troglodytes means 'cave dweller' and probably refers to the fact that Wrens will happily nest wherever there are small holes. They will use open-fronted boxes for nesting and winter roosting.

  • Open-fronted nestbox

  • Nest height 1-4m above ground but well hidden in thick vegetation

  • Domed nest made from dry leaves, moss and grasses and lined with feathers

  • Egg laying starts around April. 1 or 2 broods

  • Incubation period 13-18 days

  • 5 to 8 eggs, white finely speckled

  • Nestlings fledge after 14-19 days

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Get the whole

story on Britain's nesting birds

in Nestboxes: Your Complete Guide. Buy your copy at livingwithbirds.com

 

See also...