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POSTED BY February 14, 2022

Ireland is a great bird watching destination. The geographically isolated location of the Emerald Island creates unique habitats for various bird species. Due to the coastal areas, these naturally include many sea and wading birds, migratory birds and year-round residents. For a long time, watching birds was sometimes considered a weird pastime of medieval men in khaki shorts, but the hobby is not only gaining new popularity, but also a certain hip touch. So in this post, we investigate birdwatching in Ireland and introduce seven of the most beautiful bird species in Ireland.

1. Puffin

Puffin. Photo: flickr_Harald Deischinger. To license.

This enchanting bird with its characteristic, semicircular beak is very popular with ornithologists as well as travelers to Ireland.

You can see them from March to September along the west coast of Ireland. For example at the Cliffs of Moher, on the Burren Way, the Aran Islands or Rathlin Island located just off the Antrim Coast.

2. Greenland White-fronted Geese

Greenland White-fronted Goose. Photo: wikimedia_Ryanx7.  To license.

Every October, thousands of Greenland White-fronted Geese arrive on the Irish mainland to hibernate in the Wexford Wildfowl Reserve. White-fronted geese cover 6,000 kilometers a year. In order to survive the long flight, they feed themselves a considerable amount of fat beforehand. Even their organs shrink over time to make room for the body’s own storage facilities.

Almost half of all Greenland White-fronted Geese spend the winter in Wexford.

3. White-tailed Eagles

White-tailed eagles were reintroduced to Ireland after 100 years.  Photo: wikimedia_Yathin S Krishnappa. To license .

White-tailed eagles died out in Ireland 100 years ago, but an ambitious initiative is trying to reintroduce the majestic bird of prey. Between 2007 and 2011, one hundred young sea eagles from Norway were released in Killarney National Park part of the famous Kerry Way.

Integration in Ireland was an exciting and at times dramatic endeavor. To this day, new white-tailed eagle chicks have hatched under the careful observation of local rangers and ornithologists. You can catch a glimpse of the feathered predators in various places. For example, Glengarrif Harbor on the Beara Way, from the specially built high seat in Mountshannon, or in the Killarney National Park.

4. Razorbill

The Giants’ Causeway is also a bird watching paradise. Many shorebirds find places to nest and breed in the cliffs and rock formations. Among them is the razorbill. Characteristic of the razorbill are its black and white plumage and its upright gait. It feeds on small fish that it dives for in the salty Atlantic.

5. Cormorant

Cormorant. Photo: flickr_a.froese. To license .

The cormorant is one of the most common types of birds in Ireland. The “water raven” has recovered from the massive decline in the 20th century. In 2010, they were even voted Bird of the Year. It is found near the coast in the south and west of Ireland. For example in Connemara and on the Dingle Way.

6. Ringed Plover

A pretty wader: the ringed plover. Photo: wikimedia_Arnoldius. To license.

The ringed plover can be recognized by its two-tone beak, black collar and striped head. Ringed plovers are waders that are found in an extensive area from Canada to North Africa. In the west and south of Europe, the cute bird hibernates on coasts without vegetation. In Ireland it can be found near the Burren in Ballyvaughan, County Clare, among other places.

7. Rose Tern

In Ireland, patient ornithologists can see rare birds in front of their binoculars. Corn crake, chough, rose tern are among the birds whose numbers are declining elsewhere. They find valuable habitats in Ireland.

Above all, a colony of rose terns in Wexford and Rockabill Island, near Dublin, enchants the bird conservationists from Birdwatch Ireland and passionate ornithologists alike.

We hope that you enjoyed this guide to Birdwatching in Ireland: 7 beautiful bird species. If you’re interested in getting on in the countryside to do some birdwatching, check out our Ireland walking tours.