There are a huge selection of online guides to identifying wildlife species in the UK, and below we have listed the best of them. If you have any suggestions of other sites that we could add then please let us know.
A Key for Identifying British Trees and Shrubs
Easy to use photo key that enables you to distinguish between 80 species of Trees and Shrubs commonly found growing wild in Britain and Ireland from either their bare twigs, or from summer foliage. Also includes a description of the mature tree or shrub, including flowers and fruit, photos of the whole tree/shrub, leaves, winter twig, flowers etc. Also a distribution map by species for Britain and Ireland.
Guide to identifying native trees in the UK, with good information about the parts of a leaf that will help you in your id. Also a guide to the main UK tree species including bark, buds, leaves, flowers and fruits.
Tree Identification Key (Natural History Museum)
Printable step-by-step key to identify british tree species.
A beginner’s vegetative guide to orchids of the British Isles
A guide to identifying orchids in Britain when they are not in flower. Produced by the Natural History Museum, and authored by Mike Waller. Highly detailed with drawings and photographs – an excellent resource.
Interactive Guide to Brtish Grasses
Useful resource is you are already familiar with the details and terminology of grasses.
A Guide to Lichens on Twigs (Natural History Museum)
A user-friendly guide to over 60 lichens which can be found growing on twigs. With its help you will find identification of these unique organisms easy and fun.
Extensive collection of photos identifying British lichens, very useful if you already have a fairly good idea of which species you have found.
A Key to Common Lichens on Trees in England (Natural History Museum)
This key to common species of lichens on trees was prepared in collaboration by the Natural History Museum of London and the University of Trieste, as a further aid to the Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) Air Survey which looks at lichens as indicators of air. The interactive key uses photos, and helps narrow down to find the species being identified. Can also be printed, or downloaded to a pocket PC. Although an English resource, this is still a useful aid north of the border.
Algae Vision (Natural History Museum)
A collection of images of freshwater and terrestrial algae of the United Kingdom originating from a collaborative project between The British Phycological Society and the Natural History Museum, London.
RSPB Bird Guide
An introduction to UK bird species plus some introduced species which are thriving in the UK. Includes help with identification, breeding information and details about their lifestyle and feeding habits.
British Garden Birds
An excellent guide to some of the UK’s most regularly seen bird species, with calls, photographs and more. Resources include bird identification photographs, sound recordings, distribution maps, feeding and nesting activities. Also covered are observations about the behaviour of the birds, notes on the species movements, such as migration, conservation status and any special measures.
A fabulous resource for micro and macro moths, with an excellent collection of photos and information. If you struggle to ID your species form here, you can always try their facebook group.
Illustrated Guide to British Caterpillars
With photos galleries arranged by type, this site can help you ID moth and butterfly caterpillars, plus has many interesting articles.
A beautifully produced guide with a large range of excellent photos and species information. Includes flight charts to show which butterflies are on the wing when, suggestions of sites to visit to see specific species, population trends, plus an extensive stock library of images. This has long been a favourite site of ours, and now has widened to include other species as well as butterflies.
British Bumblebee Identification Guide (Natural History Museum)
Interactive tool to identify the 25 British bumblebee species. Find out more about your bee, including species characteristics, habitat and distribution.
UK Bumblebee Colour Groups (Rothamstead Research)
A simple diagram to help group bumblebees according to their colour. (No longer available on their website but a copy is available here)
Beginner’s guide to identifying British ichneumonids
These diverse narrow waisted wasps tend to be parisitic, and in the UK we have approximately 2,500 species of them, making up almost 10% of all British insects. This online guide is provided by the Natural History Museum.
Cetacean Species Guides (Sea Watch Foundation)
A guide to common whale and dolphin species in the UK, as well as rare and infrequent visitors. As well as individual species fact sheets, there are also regional sheets which help narrow down your possible sighting.
Beginners Guide to British Mammal Bones (Natural History Museum)
Printable guide showing wild and domesticated mammal bones including skulls, manibles, limbs and verterbrae.
Bioimages Virtual Fieldguide
Offers a large selection of pictures of Natural History objects, mostly British in origin. The images are presented to illustrate biodiversity and as an aid to identification.
British Garden Slugs and Snails
Provided by the Conchological Society of Great Britain & Ireland, this key can help you identify snails ands slugs found in the UK.
Pond Life Identification Kit
A basic but illuminating guide to some of the smaller pond life, including a “virtual pond dip” that is great for children.
Earthworm Guide (Natural History Museum)
Use the photo gallery or key to identify UK earthworm species, and find a summary of their characteristics, what they eat and where they live.
Key to British Slugs
Printable key, originally created by AIDGAP.
Key to British Red Seaweeds
Printable key, originally created by AIDGAP.
Also of interest
Scottish Executive Environment Statistics including latest version of Key Scottish Environment Statistics. (no longer updated since 2017, but has historicl data)
Science and Plants for Schools
This valuable resource creates opportunities for teachers and students of all ages to become more knowledgeable about plants and interested in plant science. Includes image database, journal articles, teaching resources, classroom activities and much more.