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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.

Grey Gurnard (Eutrigla gurnardus)

The grey gurnard is a fish of the north east Atlantic, and is found as far south as Morocco and into the Mediterranean. It is relatively common around Ireland, and of the three species of gurnard found in our waters is the most likely to be encountered near the coast…..

Common Frog (Rana temporaria)

Of the three species of amphibian found in Ireland the common frog is by far the most familiar. Most people think of frogs as aquatic creatures, but in fact they spend most of their lives on land, only returning to the water in order to breed. Adult frogs are from….

European Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Ask a cross-section of the population to name their favourite bird and chances are a high proportion will say the robin. These endearing little birds that feature so prominently at Christmas time have become ubiquitous in our parks and gardens. They are perhaps the one species of bird that practically….

Holly (Ilex aquifolium)

The bright red berries and waxy green leaves of the holly tree are a familiar sight in our winter hedgerows. An attractive combination, the contrast between the deep lustrous green of the foliage and the bright scarlet berries has led to holly being used as a Christmas decoration for many….

Blackbird (Turdus merula)

The blackbird is a ubiquitous bird of Irish parks and gardens, and is a common sight everywhere from the heart of our largest cities to the remotest rural setting. Originally a woodland bird the blackbird now exploits the wide variety of habitats presented to it by people. The species does….

Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)

Humpback whales are regular visitors to Ireland’s south and east coasts. These magnificent whales begin to appear around early September each year, and spend several months in the area before moving on to their winter breeding grounds. They are also occasionally sighted elsewhere around the Irish coast. Adult humpbacks are….

Barn Owl (Tyto alba)

The barn owl will be familiar to many as the signature bird of RTE’s flagship Friday night programme, “The Late Late Show”. This is undoubtedly one of Ireland’s most striking birds, but unfortunately the Barn Owl’s ghostly silhouette and its characteristic rasping shriek are becoming increasingly scarce in Ireland. Adult….

European Eel (Anguilla anguilla)

The European eel is an amazing creature. Found in the rivers of the North Atlantic, Baltic and Mediterranean Seas, it has a fascinating life-cycle that involves an incredible two-way migration across the Atlantic ocean. Eel eggs hatch in the depths of the Sargasso Sea in the western Atlantic. Tiny, transparent,….

Common Octopus (Octopus vulgaris)

The common octopus is an extraordinary creature. It’s a molluscs – a relative of the slugs and snails you find in your garden, and along with the cuttlefish, squid and nautilus, belongs to a group of marine molluscs known as cephalopods. Literally translated the name means “head-footed”, and the bizarre-looking….

Common Earwig (Forficula auricularia)

Earwigs really don’t deserve their bad reputation. The name earwig is derived from the old English ‘earwicga’ which means ‘ear beetle’. These harmless little insects are plagued by the perpetuation of an age-old superstition that earwigs crawl into the human ears at night and burrow into the brain to lay….

Coal Tit (Periparus ater)

The coal tit is one of the “usual suspects”, commonly seen at practically every peanut feeder in Ireland. Over the winter this tiny bird, one of our smallest, is a regular visitor to garden birdtables and feeders. It has a particular penchant for peanuts, and should the opportunity present itself….

Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar)

Watching Atlantic salmon leaping into and clearing a raging torrent of water as they travel upriver to spawn must be one of the most inspiring sights in nature. This magnificent fish has been recorded leaping more than 3 metres (10 feet) into the air to negotiate waterfalls, weirs and other….