The adult emperor moth is a truly spectacular insect. On the wing in April and May, the male of this large, day-flying moth species is a particularly striking sight, and can easily be mistaken for a butterfly due to its bright colours. It is a fairly widespread species, one that favours open scrub habitat on heath land, moorland, fens, along field margins and hedgerows, … [Read more...] about Emperor Moth (Saturnia pavonia)
Species profiles | Ireland's Wildlife
Want to find out more about Ireland's wildlife species? Check out our ever growing collection of species profiles for Ireland's birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, plants, fungi and invertebrates.
These species profiles were originally written by Calvin Jones for the weekly back-page feature in Ireland's favourite family magazine, Ireland's Own.
Seen close up the raven is a truly magnificent bird. The largest member of the crow family, it is the biggest passerine (perching) bird in Europe, and occurs all over Ireland.Size is the raven's most distinguishing feature. At 54 to 68 cm long, with a wingspan doubling that, it dwarfs any other black bird found in Ireland. Its glossy plumage is entirely black. It has long … [Read more...] about Raven (Corvus corax)
The hooded crow, grey crow or “hoodie” as it's sometimes called, is almost identical to the closely related carrion crow (Corvus corone) except for its distinctive grey and black plumage. The two birds are so similar in fact that until recently they were considered to be different races of the same species, but now hooded crows have been formally acknowledged as a species in … [Read more...] about Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix)
Hawthorn, also known as the whitethorn and the May tree, is one of our most common native trees, and one that is steeped in legend and folklore. It grows quickly for the first fifteen years or so of its life, and it’s thorny, gnarled branches make an ideal barrier to livestock – a characteristic that led to its widespread use as a hedging plant for centuries. Larger specimens … [Read more...] about Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
With a flash of black and red wings the red admiral adds a splash of welcome colour to our gardens and woodland from late-spring to mid-autumn. This striking butterfly is a migratory species that makes its way up from the Mediterranean, moving north as the weather warms.Resident populations in North Africa and southern Europe breed early in the year. Then, as the weather … [Read more...] about Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
The fieldfare is a large, attractive thrush that is a widespread and abundant winter visitor to these shores. Most of the birds that overwinter here originate in Scandinavia and the number of birds and the time of their arrival varies from year to year depending on the severity of the winter and the state of the berry crop in their homeland. In milder years or if the berry crop … [Read more...] about Ireland’s Wildlife: Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)
They say familiarity breeds contempt... and, in the case of the chaffinch that's probably true. The male chaffinch in its full breeding regalia is one of our most colourful and striking birds. If it wasn't for the fact that we see them so often we'd marvel at these colourful little finches.The chaffinch is found all over Ireland in woodlands, parks, gardens, fields, scrub … [Read more...] about Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)
The peregrine falcon is undoubtedly one of Ireland’s most impressive birds. A large, powerful falcon it is considered by many to be the ultimate bird-of-prey, diving in a spectacular, vertical stoop to strike its quarry – other birds – in mid air. The peregrine is thought to reach speeds of up to 180 mph as it plummets earthward, though it usually levels off slightly and slows … [Read more...] about Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)
The slow, lazy buzz of the bumblebee is a fundamental part of the Irish summer. These fat, furry, ponderous bees trundle from flower to flower, collecting pollen and nectar to support their growing colony. They liven up the summer garden, and provide an invaluable pollination service to the plants they visit.We have 18 species of bumblebee in Ireland, all of which have … [Read more...] about Bumblebees
The bee orchid has to be one of our most exquisite wildflowers. At first glance its exotic looks may make it seem like an interloper from far flung shores -- but this is a native Irish plant through and through.In Ireland bee orchids tend to flower during June and July. They occur mainly on dry, sandy, calcareous soil -- particularly on or around dunes and limestone … [Read more...] about Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera)