IELTS Cue Card Sample 311 - Describe a common bird in your country

IELTS Speaking Part 2: IELTS Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card.

Describe a common bird in your country.

You should say:

  • What is it
  • How it looks like
  • Where can you see it

And explain some common characteristics of this bird.

Sample answer 1:
I live in England, and we are lucky in that we have many birds that visit our gardens as lots of people like to put out food to feed them, especially in the winter months.  I’m going to tell you about one such common but distinctive bird.  I will explain what it is, describe its appearance as best I can, let you know where you can see it and share with you some of its most common characteristics.

The bird I’m thinking of is the Robin, sometimes it’s referred to as robin redbreast, and it often features on wintry scenes on Christmas Cards.

These birds are very distinctive and enormously popular, in fact earlier in 2015 it was voted Britain’s favourite native bird, and I’m not at all surprised.  They are easy to identify, and very confident around people, so everyone knows a robin near to where they live.  Size wise I think they are about five to five and a half inches in length.  They have a distinctly rounded appearance, when they fluff up their feathers for warmth in winter they can appear almost spherical, it makes you wonder how they can fly!  The male and female are similar in colouration.  Despite their name ‘redbreast’ in fact they have an orange breast and face lined with grey, then brown upperparts and a whitish belly.  It is the orange which is most distinctive though, I don’t think a robin has ever been wrongly identified!  I have been told the reason they are called ‘redbreast’ even though their colour is clearly orange, is because years ago there wasn’t a word for ‘orange’ in the English language, and red was the nearest approximation, I don’t know if that’s true, but it’s possible.

You can see robins in gardens everywhere.  They are noisy and territorial so you will often only have one, or a pair in any patch of property.  Although they are thought of as friendly because of how domesticated they appear with people, they can be pretty vicious with each other.  It is not uncommon to see a robin furiously hurling itself at its own reflection in a window pane, attacking the glass with its wings and beak, thinking it is seeing off a rival.  They are unconcerned by humans, not necessarily tame, but habituated to people they have learned that they can benefit from some human behaviours.  For example, they will be attracted by the smell of newly turned earth, so if you are gardening, or sweeping leaves it is a very common experience for a robin to come and join you.  They will come really close, standing on the handle of a garden fork to watch for worms or insets which they will then fly down and eat.  It is very satisfying if you are digging to turn up a worm and see a hungry robin seize it – less satisfying for the worm I suppose!

If you are living in the UK or even parts of Europe, I’m sure you’ll know this bird already, but even if you don’t I’d be surprised if you hadn’t seen one on a Christmas card or in a Christmas film at some point – they get everywhere.

[ Written by - Lucy Marris | Careers Adviser (UK), TEFL teacher (Vietnam) ]

Model Answer 2:
The kingfisher is a common bird in our country and it is really a beautiful bird. This bird probably got its name from its habit of catching fishes from the ponds and lakes.

In a single word this is in my opinion is the most beautiful bird I have ever seen. This bird has got red, blue, grayish, yellow and many other color combinations on its father and the tail is usually longer than other birds. The keen eyes, the speedy movement and its ability to catch fishes in the blink of eyes make it a very distinguishable bird. In our country the bird is very common in urban and village area where lots of ponds, lakes and rivers are available. Since it catches fishes, it can be seen near the water mostly.

This bird is a fine hunter. The way it flies and catches fishes is simply amazing. I have never seen any other birds that can catch fishes or other insects so fast. The gorgeous colour combination, the thin and long tail makes this bird exceptional from other birds. This bird can be seen mostly in the morning and in the evening as fishes come to the upper side of the water at that time. I really like this bird and definitely it is a bird of beauty and skill.

Your ability to talk about this Cue Card Topic would enable you to talk about the following Cue Card Topics as well:

  1. Describe a bird you know about.
  2. Describe an animal or a bird in your country.
  3. Describe a beautiful creature you know about.
  4. Describe a distinguishable animal you know about.
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