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Species Profiles

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.

Emperor Moth (Saturnia pavonia)

Emperor Moth (Saturnia pavonia)

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….

Raven (Corvus corax)

Raven by Andrew Malcolm

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….

Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix)

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….

Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)

Hawthorn (Crataegus monygna) blossom in spring

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….

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

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….

Ireland’s Wildlife: Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)

Fieldfare -- a common winter visitor to Ireland

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….

Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

An adult male chaffinch in winter

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….

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)

Peregrine Falcon by Neil O'Reilly via Flickr

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….


Bombus terrestris

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….

Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera)

Bee Orchid, The Warren, Rosscarbery

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….

Common Stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus)

Common Stinkhorn

The common stinkhorn is fungus that you’ll almost certainly smell before you see. Its common name is derived from the rather obnoxious odor emitted by the phallic-shaped fruiting body. Unlike most other fungi, which rely on wind for spore dispersal, the stinkhorn’s spores hitch a ride with insects — specifically….

Freshwater Pearl Mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera)

Ireland’s Wildlife: Freshwater Pearl Mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera)

The freshwater pearl mussel is a bivalve mollusc that lives in clean, fast flowing rivers and streams. It is one of the longest lived invertebrates in the world, and with a lifespan of up to 130 years is Ireland’s longest living animal. Like all bivalve molluscs the freshwater pearl mussel….