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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.

Ivy (Hedera helix)

Ivy is common climbing shrub found throughout Ireland, its attractive green foliage carpeting the façade of old buildings, stone walls and trees. Many climbing plants support themselves by entwining themselves around the supporting structure, but Ivy is different. It attaches itself to the substrate directly using short, sucker-like aerial “roots”….

European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

Melanistic "black" rabbits occur quite regularly in some populations

Originally from south-west Europe and north-west Africa, Rabbits were introduced into Ireland by the Normans way back in the 12th century AD. They were kept in enclosed warrens and were used as a source of sport for Norman noblemen as well as exploited as a source of both meat and….

Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus)

Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus) in Ireland

The blue tit is one of Ireland’s smallest and most attractive birds. Its distinctive cobalt crown, blue and yellow plumage, white cheek patches and black eye-stripe are unmistakable as it hops acrobatically from branch to branch in search of insect larvae, or hangs upside down at the garden peanut feeder…..

Bottlenose Dolphin (Tursiops truncates)

Bottlenose Dolphins in Killiney Bay, Co. Dublin by Robert Kelly via the Ireland's Wildlife Flickr Group

Of the 24 species of whales and dolphins found in Irish waters perhaps the best known is the familiar bottlenose dolphin made famous in the ‘60s television show, Flipper. Almost all of the dolphin stars of film and television over the years, and the captive performing dolphins in theme parks….

Atlantic Cod (Gadus Morhua)

Atlantic Cod (Gadus morhua)

The once plentiful cod is becoming worryingly scarce throughout its north Atlantic range. For decades it has been the most sought after commercial fish species of European fishing fleets, and stocks are now in serious decline. Experts in the field of fisheries biology agree that crashes in cod populations caused….

Common Field Grasshopper (Chorthippus brunneus)

Field Grasshopper (Brian Eversham, National Biodiversity Data Centre)

The chirping of grasshoppers is a familiar sound from Irish meadows and roadside verges during the summer months. Undoubtedly contributing its song to this chorus is the Common Field Grasshopper, which is one of our most common and widespread grasshopper species. It is found throughout Ireland, although it does becomes….

Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes)

The wren is a small bird with a big personality. Considering its small size it has an incredibly loud voice; the familiar song, prolonged and full of complex chirrs, rattles, trills and whistles, is delivered with a gusto that belies the bird’s diminutive stature. Ongoing national surveys conducted by Birdwatch….

Bird’s-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)

The birds-foot-trefoil is a common flowering plant that has, over the years, amassed a host of common names; names like “lady’s shoes and stockings”, “crow-toes”, “lady’s slipper”, “bacon and eggs”, and “God-Almighty’s thumb and finger”. In all it has been attributed more than 70 different names, most of them related….

Zebra Spider (Salticus scenicus)

Although often overlooked because of its small size the zebra spider’s attractive black and white livery and its lively antics mean that it’s quite easy to spot if you look for it. The species is common throughout Ireland and can be found patrolling the walls of houses and gardens on….

Pine Marten (Martes martes)

The secretive and elusive pine marten was once found throughout Ireland, but a combination of habitat destruction, hunting for their skins and persecution by gamekeepers during the early part of the 20th century meant that by the 1950’s few martens survived. These days pine martens are protected and their fortunes….

Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos)

The song thrush is a familiar thrush species, and one of Ireland’s finest songsters. A key player in the acclaimed “Dawn Chorus”, this attractive speckled thrush is a familiar sight in many Irish gardens, and according to Birdwatch Ireland’s annual Garden Bird Survey features regularly as one of our top….

Otter (Lutra lutra)

The otter -- Lutra lutra -- has its European stronghold in Ireland

Ireland is considered to have the healthiest otter population in Europe. Surveys show that otters are present in more than ninety percent of our inland waterways and coastal waters. The species, already extinct over much of its former range, is listed as “vulnerable to extinction” by the IUCN (International Union….