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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.

Brimstone Butterfly (Gonepteryx rhamni)

The stunning Brimstone butterfly

The butter-yellow wings of the male brimstone are a true herald of spring, and are credited by some as the inspiration behind the word “butterfly”. These pretty yellow butterflies are quite common, especially around open woodland, and are often the first butterflies to be seen in spring. Brimstones emerge from….

Harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena)

harbour porpoise

Reaching a maximum length of around 1.9 metres, the diminutive harbour porpoise (also known as the common porpoise) is Ireland’s smallest cetacean species and our only species of porpoise. Found right around the Irish coastline, it is one of the most widely distributed cetaceans (whales and dolphins) in the northern hemisphere…..

Dunnock (Prunella modularis)


The dunnock is a small brown bird that is a common, if rather shy visitor to many Irish gardens. Still referred to by many by its old name of hedge sparrow, the dunnock isn’t actually related to the sparrows at all. It is the only Irish representative of the accentor….

Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris)

Red squirrel in autumn

The red squirrel is Ireland’s only native squirrel, and perhaps the cutest member of the rodent family. This endearing little tree-dweller, with its characteristic bushy tail and ear-tufts, thrived in the large forests of Scots pine that were common in Ireland after the last ice age. In time these Scots….

Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)

Lapwings in flight

The lapwing, also called the green plover and the peewit, is a common resident and winter visitor on coastal mudflats and mixed farmland all over Ireland. Despite this attractive wader’s common and widespread status, alarmingly populations have declined by more than 50% in 25 years. The species is red-listed on….

Goldcrest (Regulus regulus)

Goldcrest, Ireland's smallest bird

The diminutive goldcrest is not only Ireland’s smallest bird, but also Europe’s – a title it shares with its close relative the firecrest. It is widespread and found throughout the country, and often visits gardens, especially during winter months. Despite it’s restless, flitting behaviour and distinctive markings this bird’s tiny….

Red Deer (Cervus elaphus)

Red Deer Stag Vivian Wynne Philips

In late September and early October the signature roar of red deer stags (males) echoes around the woods and mountains of Killarney National Park in Co. Kerry, signalling the start of the autumn rut. Our only native deer, the red deer was once common throughout the country, but a combination….

Atlantic Herring (Clupea harengus)

Atlantic Herring

The Atlantic herring forms some of the most spectacular schools of any fish species. These enormous aggregations can consist of billions of fish, and extend for literally miles in all directions. Atlantic herring occur throughout the north Atlantic ocean, from the Bay of Biscay northward to Iceland and southern Greenland…..

Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

Sparrowhawk portrait Ireland's Wildlife

Fast and agile, the sparrowhawk is a supremely capable aerial predator. This fierce-looking bird is one of our most common and widespread raptors, and is found throughout the country. However its shy and secretive nature means that it often goes undetected. Sparrowhawks are medium-sized birds, with a body length of….

Common Daisy (Bellis perennis)

Common Daisy (Bellis perennis) by Nuuuuuuuuuuul via Flickr

From early spring to late autumn the common daisy, with its pretty white-petalled flower heads and golden-eye waves cheerily at us from garden lawns, parks, meadows and pastures. Although classed as a weed, this ubiquitous little wild flower holds very broad appeal – a legacy perhaps of its associations with….

Grey Seal (Halichoerus grypus)

Grey Seal by Leon van der Noll

When it was made the world’s first officially protected species in 1914 the future looked bleak for the grey seal. The turnaround since then represents perhaps the most successful conservation story in history, and offers hope that efforts to save many of our endangered species may not be in vain…..

Long Tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus)

Long Tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus)

Few birds in Ireland are as endearing as the long tailed tit. The acrobatic antics of this small, fluffy bird with its extraordinarily long tail are a joy to behold as it flits from tree to tree. It occasionally frequents gardens, usually in small family groups, and sometimes visits peanut….