The availability of high quality data on the distribution and abundance of British birds at the national scale means that this fauna is the basis for a growing body of macroecological study. Nevertheless. questions remain about how representative of wider patterns the distributions and abundances of birds in Britain may be. Here, we use data on the British. European and global breeding distributions of British birds to show that species that are widespread in Britain also tend to be widespread across larger regions. These results hold for both residents and migrants separately, and when controlling for the phylogenetic related ness of species. Species with wide latitudinal spans in Europe also tend to have large British ranges, with the largest British ranges exhibited by species inhabiting mid-latitudes in Europe. These results demonstrate that the distributions of birds within Britain are not simply idiosyacratic. but do reflect aspects of their broader distributions.