Bill Oddie is to leave Springwatch, the BBC has confirmed.

The veteran ornithologist has decided to ‘take a breather’ and won’t take part in the next series in May.

Bill, 67, has presented the show with Kate Humble for the last four years, and the new series will begin with a one-hour special showcasing his favourite moments.

“I’m really going to miss working with Kate and the team, but after an amazing four years of really intense work it feels like the right time to take a breather and recharge my batteries,” he said.

No date has been set for Bill’s return, but it’s understood he’ll also miss this year’s Autumnwatch.

The BBC said Bill remained an important part of the wildlife broadcasting team and would continue to work on other shows, including Bill Oddie’s Top Ten.

Neil Nightingale, head of the BBC natural history unit, praised Bill’s ‘inimitable style, in-depth expertise and unflinching dedication’ and said he ‘remains an important member of the Springwatch family’.

It’s not clear who, if anyone, will replace Bill.

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