Scotland's spectacular wildlife
Our wonderful wildlife
The Cairngorms National Park is home to an amazing array of wildlife, including a quarter of the UK’s rare and endangered species. Our stunning habitats include extensive forests and woodlands, internationally important wetlands, meadows, rivers, moorlands and, of course, the Cairngorm plateau. Our National Park is a stronghold for Capercaillie, Crested Tit, Lapwing, Pine Marten, Ptarmigan, Scottish Crossbill, Dotterel, Snow Bunting, Golden Eagle, Red Squirrel – it is possible to see all these – and much more – in one day, especially if you go out with a wildlife guide!
Have a day or two out with a Wildlife Guide for great opportunities of catching up with Capercaillie, Scottish Crossbill, Golden Eagle, Red Squirrel, Pine Marten, Black Grouse and much more! Your specific day guiding needs are matched to the skills of the guides to ensure you have the best day out possible. You can book a standard day – 9am-5pm – or an extended day. Extended days can start early or finish late, depending on the species you would like to see. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay while enjoying your days out, see our recommendations.
Evening Mammal Watching
Looking for a wildlife watching experience with the chance to see Pine Marten, Badger, Red and Roe Deer and more? Enjoy the Cairngorms National Park’s famous dusk wildlife in the comfort of a purpose built warm hide on the Rothiemurchus Estate, with a professional wildlife guide! The BBC have filmed here regularly, Bill Oddie and Springwatch have paid a visit and Radio Scotland’s Out of Doors team have broadcast from here. Make sure you visit too . . . it’s a great way of seeing mammals in the wild! There’s a good choice of accommodation within easy reach of the hide.
All inclusive wildlife watching holidays
If you like an all-inclusive, fully guided week of wildlife watching in the Cairngorms National Park, take a look at the holidays Speyside Wildlife run from their comfortable steading in Glenfeshie. From Spring Birds to Autumn Wildlife, or a special Wildlife for Beginners week, the holidays are great fun and suitable for enthusiasts of every ability and the price includes accommodation, meals, professional guides and in-holiday transport. They also run extended holidays which include five days exploring the wildlife on Mull!
Join the daily guided hill visit with one of Cairngorm Reindeer’s experienced herders up onto the mountainside where the main herd live all year round; the scenic hill walk is followed by the feeding of the herd and is greatly enjoyed by all. The reindeer’s soft velvet noses mean they are a delight to hand-feed and combined with their endearing and friendly nature, a visit to the reindeer on the hill is an unforgettable experience. Stay locally in one of our favourite hotels or guest houses.
Tailormade wildlife watching holidays for individuals, couples, families and friends, birdwatching clubs and tour operators are planned round the species you want to see in the Cairngorms National Park or further afield. Capercaillie, Red or Black Grouse, Crossbills, Osprey, Divers and a host of mammals can be the focus – let the experts arrange your wildlife watching trip, be it a mini-break or a longer stay.
Climb aboard the Glenlivet Safari Land Rover and discover iconic wildlife, stunning landscapes and a fascinating cultural heritage, on a safari that takes you where other tours cannot reach. Wildlife you may see includes Golden Eagle, Mountain Hare, Wild Cat, Black Grouse, Crossbill, Dotterel, Ptarmigan, Crested Tit, Pine Marten, Red Squirrel, Water Vole and Otter and you have a choice of great places to stay.
Braemar Highland Safaris are now known throughout the world for showing visitors the magnificent mountains, rivers, lochs and wildlife in the Cairngorms National Park. Your local guide will comment on the history, folklore and management of the area while he drives you in a comfortable vehicle into the heart of the National Park. For local accommodation, see our Royal Deeside accommodation page.
Get off the beaten track and explore the beautiful scenery of Atholl Estates on a Land Rover Safari. Travel down remote tracks and scale the heights of this spectacular landscape, covering distances only the very energetic could accomplish on foot. Scheduled safaris depart in the daytime and at dusk from April to the end of October and routes are tailored to the particular season of interest. There’s a good selection of hotels and guest houses in the Blair Atholl and Glenshee area.
Muir of Dinnet
At the heart of Muir of Dinnet Nature Reserve are Lochs Davan and Kinord, with their near pure water and associated bogs and fens providing ideal habitat for a wide mix of species; from rare water beetles to the elusive otter which feed and breed on the Reserve. During winter, the lochs are an important roost site, attracting migrating geese and other wildfowl. Stay nearby in one of Royal Deeside’s hotels or guest houses.