When shopping for a nestbox, it's important to ensure you're buying one that is sturdily built and able to withstand the great British weather, has drainage holes in the base and can be easily cleaned (during winter).


Species that most often use small nestboxes include coal tits, blue tits, great tits, house sparrows, robins and wrens.

However, the different species prefer different types of nestboxes – classic nestboxes with the entrance hole (and different sizes of entrance holes), and open-fronted nestboxes.

We've provided more information on how and when to put up a garden nestbox, and how and when to clean one, in our garden bird nestbox guide. If you're feeling crafty and feel like making your own, this step-by-step guide to making a garden bird nestbox by ornithologist and author Dan Rouse will talk you through the process.

Learn more about identifying garden birds, identifying birds' eggs, and identifying bird and mammal nests – and remember that it is an offence to disturb wild birds' nests and eggs.

Browse more advice in our wildlife gardening hub, including best wildlife gardening books, how to make a bee hotel, and how to sow a wildflower mini-meadow.

Open Front Apex Nest Box, RSPB

RSPB Open Front Apex Nest Box

This open-fronted from the RSPB is suitable for robins, wrens, pied wagtails and spotted flycatcher. It is made in the UK from FSC-certified timber, and comes with two hanging tabs on the back of the nestbox (one at the top and one at the bottom), to make it easy to hang up. The timber is untreated and should last for many years. However a water-based preservative can be applied if you wish to increase its durability. The dimensions are 23cm wide x 17cm deep x 28cm high.

The RSPB also produce a wide range of nestboxes for both garden birds (including swifts, swallows and house martins), and for birds of prey (including tawny owls, barn owls and kestrels).

Bird House Oval, Capi Europe

As part of its Capi for Biodiversity range, Capi Europe has produced three types of bird house with differently sized entrances: round, oval (pictured above), and half circle opening (similar to the RSPB open-fronted nestbox above), in two different shapes: oval (pictured above) and hexagonal (see the Capi Europe product in our best bee hotels guide), and all are available in three different colours: orange-red, white and black. The dimensions for the nestbox pictured above are 24cm x 18.5cm x 23cm.

Blackbird Nester, Wildlife World

Blackbird Nester. Wildlife World

This wooden nestbox from Wildlife Worldwide is aimed at encouraging blackbirds to nest, with a deep open ledge and a sloping roof to provide protection (birds such as robins and dunnocks may also choose to nest in this type of box). The box is handmade in the UK from FSC-certified slow-dried timber. The dimensions are 230 x 280 x 230 mm.

Wildlife World produces nestboxes for a variety of species and styles, including the Simon King Wildlife range.

Vail Larch Nest Box, CJ Wildlife for National Trust

National Trust Vail nest box

Made by CJ Wildlife as part of their range for the National Trust, this is a sturdy nestbox made from larch wood with a dark green roof. The entrance hole is 32mm wide, which is ideal for house sparrows (and may also be used by other small birds), and it comes with a metal plate to deter predators. The box can be opened from the side for cleaning in winter.

Bird House, Cameron Bespolka Trust

Bird house. Cameron Bespolka Trust

The bird nestbox is made from untreated recycled timber with a recycled slate roof (which unscrews for cleaning during winter), painted light green and stamped with the bird logo of the Cameron Bespolka Trust. It is handcrafted at the Minstead Trust, a charity supporting people with learning disabilities. The entrance hole is 32mm wide, which is ideal for house sparrows (though other smaller birds may also use the box). The dimensions are 25 cms high, 14cms wide & 15cms deep.

The charity also makes an open-fronted nest box which is suitable for robins and wrens. The nest box matches the colour and style of the bird feeder, bee hotel and hedgehog house also produced by the Cameron Bespolka Trust.

Elegance Sloping Roof Nest Box, Henry Bell

Henry Bell Nest Box Sloping Roof

This bird nest box from Henry Bell is made from FSC-certified timber, and is white on the sides, with a sloping grey roof and natural wood stain on the front. The box has a 28mm wide entrance hole, which is ideal for great tits (though other birds may also choose to nest in it), which is surrounded by a metal plate to deter potential predators such as woodpeckers. The roof has a hook to keep it down in place during the nesting season, but also allows you to open it and clean it out during winter. The dimensions are ‎18 x 20 x 22.5 cm.


There's also the choice of a matching Open Nest Box (also made from FSC-certified timber), which is aimed at encouraging robins and wrens to nest.


Megan ShersbyNaturalist, writer and content creator