They have brightened up Scotland’s suburban gardens and sparked a mini-tourist boom.

Multi-coloured Eurasian Nuthatches have long been a favourite of birdwatchers and their gradual migration north has sent the nation’s twitchers into a frenzy.

But their arrival in southern Scotland over the last decade is far from good news because it is a sign of just how quickly our planet is heating.

Scientists at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), the international conservation charity, have named nuthatches as one of 55 species displaced by climate change into the UK.

The researchers conducted searches both on Twitter and Google, attributing 10 out of the 55 species identified to people posting images online of the animals and birds in unusual places.

The study led by Dr Nathalie Pettorelli of ZSL’s Institute of Zoology, published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, explains that, due to regular sightings from environmentalists, UK wildlife is one of the most intensively monitored in the world, but there is very little centralised tracking of species arriving for the first time in the country or moving to places outside their known UK range, due to climate change.

The analysis also considered UK Government environment reports as well as 111 scientific papers, leading to a total of 55 species (out of 39,029 species in the UK) being identified.

The research focused solely on species which had established sustainable populations through natural, rather than human-assisted movement.

Little evidence for any one group of animals showing resilience to the pressures of climate change were seen, with invertebrates, mammals and birds all seemingly impacted by rising temperatures.

Nuthatches are not the only bird on the move. Tropical-looking European bee-eater – identified by keen birdwatchers and which have been nesting in Kent and Nottinghamshire – are quite a stretch from their natural breeding grounds in Africa, central and southern Europe and East Asia.

European bee eater

Related content