Wader Aviary

Head to the Pensthorpe’s Wader Aviary to see some of the world’s rarest species up close.

Cameras at the ready

Wade right in (figuratively speaking) and soak up our protected microclimate. Designed around the stone walls of a former bullock pen, our mixed aviary is the ideal way to observe waders feeding, resting and nesting as they would in the wild.

Explore the Wader Aviary

Inside this protected microclimate you’ll find a pool, sandy beaches, cockleshell strands and native Norfolk reed and grasses – the ideal home for waders and other water-loving species. It’s a mixed aviary, which means you’ll find a wide variety of birds. It’s great for getting up close, learning about these magnificent creatures and taking great photos.


What you’ll see

With over 200 wader species around the world and 77 recording right here in the UK, you’ll be spoiled for choice at the aviary. Our species do change throughout the year, so if you are interested in seeing a specific species we would recommend emailing us or contacting us ahead of your visit to confirm. But at the moment you can look out for:

  • Breeding flocks of avocets foraging and nesting as they would in their natural environment.
  • Male ruffs putting on a display to attract females (this spectacle is called a ‘lek’) in May and June.
  • Garganey and shoveler sharing the open water with our waders.
  • Bearded reedlings making themselves at home among the Norfolk reed.
  • Turtle doves purring away in the trees above.
  • Ruff
  • Black winged Stilt
  • Godwit
  • Redshank
  • Shoveller

In the deep

Around the world, waders are facing big challenges. Not only do they have to watch out for their natural predators, they’re dealing with habitat loss, breeding ground disturbance caused by humans, pollution and destruction of wetlands, not to mention being hunted during migration. At Pensthorpe we’ve got several projects in place to address these issues and protect these special group of birds.