What should Britain's national bird be?

Mar 31, 2015 at 11:39 a.m. ET
Image: Kev Chapman/Flickr

Most countries have an official national bird. Denmark has the mute swan, France has the gallic rooster, Germany has the golden eagle and South Africa has the blue crane. Other nations have unofficially adopted a bird as their own such as the great white pelican in Romania, the nightingale in Croatia and the emu in Australia.

Here in the U.K. the robin is widely thought of as our national bird so it may come as a surprise that it doesn't have an official status. However that may soon change if ornithologist David Lindo has anything to do with it. He has set up a campaign to choose Britain's first national bird and wants everyone to vote in his online poll. The poll closes on May 7 (the day of the general election) and Lindo will then ask the new U.K. government to officially appoint the bird with the most votes as the national bird.

Lindo's campaign has the support of the RSPB who said the lack of a national bird for Britain was a "glaring omission." Originally there were 60 candidates to choose from and, as votes have been cast, the pool has been whittled down to the final 10 feathered contenders.

Little Robin Red Breast may be an obvious frontrunner for the title. However Lindo warns we shouldn't assume he is going to sweep the board just because he's been the nation's unofficial bird since a public poll was carried out in the 1960s. He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "People consider the robin as a British bird — but [like] a lot of our native birds… some of the population move south to Iberia for the winter and are replaced by immigrants from the continent. So the robin you see in your back garden during winter is not necessarily British born."

Check out the final 10 in the running for the title of Britain's National Bird:

Kingfisher

Should the kingfisher be the UK's national bird?

Photo credit: Flickpicpete/Flickr

Blackbird

Should the blackbird be the UK's national bird?

Photo credit: Jyrki Salmi/Flickr

Robin

Should the robin be the UK's national bird?

Photo credit: Mike Hazzledine/Flickr

Wren

Should the wren be the UK's national bird?

Photo credit: eugene beckes/Flickr

Barn owl

Should the barn owl be the UK's national bird?

Photo credit: Sheribeari/Flickr

Blue tit

Should the blue tit be the UK's national bird?

Photo credit: Christian Fiderer/Flickr

Puffin

Should the puffin be the UK's national bird?

Photo credit: Andy Morffew/Flickr

Hen harrier

Should the hen harrier be the UK's national bird?

Photo credit: Lorenzo Magnis/Flickr

Red kite

Should the red kite be the UK's national bird?

Photo credit: Alan Shearman/Flickr

Mute swan

Should the mute swan be the UK's national bird?

Photo credit: Alan Shearman/Flickr

Cast your vote for Britain's national bird here.

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