List of birds of Ireland

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Atlantic Puffins nest in colonies around the coast.
Northern Lapwing,the national bird of Ireland.

This is a list of the bird species recorded in Ireland. The avifauna of Ireland includes a total of 466 species, of which 2 have been introduced by humans, 255 are rare or accidental, and one occurs as both an introduced species and an accidental. Thirteen species are globally threatened.One is extinct.

Ireland has a relatively low diversity of breeding birds due to its isolation. Several species such as Tawny Owl, Eurasian Nuthatch and Willow Tit which breed in Great Britain have not been recorded. However, there are large colonies of seabirds including important populations of European Storm Petrel, Northern Gannet and Roseate Tern. Other notable breeding birds include Corn Crake and Red-billed Chough. There are no endemic species but there are endemic subspecies of White-throated Dipper, Coal Tit and Eurasian Jay.

Large numbers of wildfowl and waders winter in Ireland, attracted by the mild climate. About half the world population of Greenland White-fronted Goose spends the winter. During autumn, many migrating seabirds can be seen off the coasts including several species of skuas, shearwaters and petrels. Ireland's westerly position means that North American birds are regularly recorded in autumn.

This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families, and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) largely follow the conventions of Clements's 5th edition although some names more commonly used by Irish birdwatchers are taken from the Irish Rare Birds Committee (IRBC) list. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflect the Clements taxonomy, as do the species counts found in each family account. Introduced and *accidental species are included in the total counts for Ireland. The total includes three examples of birds that have been accepted onto the official list without being identified to species: frigatebird sp., Fea's or Zino's Petrel and Black or White-tailed Wheatear.

The total does not include species placed in Category D of the Irish list. These are species where there is doubt as to whether they have occurred in a wild state (Category D1), they have arrived by human assistance such as on board a ship (D2), they have only been recorded dead on the tideline (D3), or they are feral species whose populations may not be self-sustaining (D4).

The following tags have been used to highlight certain relevant categories, but not all species fall into one of these categories. Those that do not are commonly occurring, native species.

  • (A) Accidental A species that rarely or accidentally occurs in Ireland.
  • (I) Introduced A species introduced to Ireland as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions.
  • (E)Extirpated(a.k.a.extinct)A species which no longer exists in Ireland.

Table of contents

Non-passerines: Divers . Grebes . Albatrosses . Shearwaters and petrels . Storm petrels . Boobies and gannets . Cormorants . Frigatebirds . Bitterns, herons and egrets . Storks . Ibises and spoonbills . Flamingos . Ducks, geese and swans . Osprey . Hawks, kites and eagles . Falcons . Grouse . Pheasants and partridges . Cranes . Rails, crakes, gallinules, and coots . Bustards . Oystercatchers . Avocets and stilts . Thick-knees . Pratincoles and coursers . Plovers and lapwings . Sandpipers and allies . Skuas . Gulls . Terns . Auks . Sandgrouse . Pigeons and doves . Cuckoos . Barn owls . Typical owls . Nightjars . Swifts . Kingfishers . Bee-eaters . Typical rollers . Hoopoes . Woodpeckers and allies .

Passerines: Tyrant flycatchers Larks . Swallows and martins . Wagtails and pipits . Kinglets . Waxwings . Dippers . Wrens . Mockingbirds and thrashers . Accentors . Thrushes and allies . Cisticolas and allies . Old World warblers . Old World flycatchers . Parrotbills . Long-tailed tits . Tits . Treecreepers . Old World orioles . Shrikes . Crows, jays, ravens and magpies . Starlings . Vireos . New World warblers . Tanagers . Buntings and New World sparrows . Cardinals and allies . Troupials and allies . Finches . Sparrows .

See also       References


Great Northern Diver, a winter visitor to coastal waters.

Order: Gaviiformes. Family: Gaviidae

Divers, also known as loons, are a group of aquatic birds found in many parts of North America and northern Europe. They are the size of a large duck or small goose, which they somewhat resemble in shape when swimming, but they are completely unrelated to these waterfowl. There are about 5 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata
Black-throated Diver Gavia arctica (A)
Great Northern Diver Gavia immer
White-billed Diver Gavia adamsii (A)
Pacific Diver Gavia pacifica (A)


Great Crested Grebes breed on inland lakes.

Order: Podicipediformes. Family: Podicipedidae

Grebes are small to medium-large sized freshwater diving birds. They have lobed toes, and are excellent swimmers and divers. However, they have their feet placed far back on the body, making them quite ungainly on land. There are about 20 species worldwide and 6 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps (A)
Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
Slavonian Grebe Podiceps auritus
Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis (A)


Order: Procellariiformes. Family: Diomedeidae

The albatrosses are among the largest of flying birds, and the great albatrosses from the genus Diomedea have the largest wingspans of any extant birds. There are about 21 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophris (A)

Shearwaters and petrels[edit]

Fulmars first bred in 1911 but are now widespread.

Order: Procellariiformes. Family: Procellariidae

The procellariids are the main group of medium-sized 'true petrels', characterised by united nostrils with a medium septum, and a long outer functional primary. There are about 75 species worldwide. 8 species have been identified in Ireland and there are also records of either Fea's Petrel or Zino's Petrel which have not been conclusively assigned to either species.

Common name Binomial Status
Northern Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis
Fea's Petrel Pterodroma feae (A)
Zino's Petrel Pterodroma madeira (A)
Bermuda Petrel Pterodroma cahow (A)
Bulwer's Petrel Bulweria bulwerii (A)
Cory's Shearwater Calonectris diomedea
Great Shearwater Puffinus gravis
Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus
Balearic Shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus
Macaronesian Shearwater Puffinus baroli (A)

Storm petrels[edit]

European Storm Petrel, Ireland has the world's largest breeding population.

Order: Procellariiformes. Family: Hydrobatidae

The storm petrels are relatives of the petrels, and are the smallest of sea-birds. They feed on planktonic crustaceans and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. The flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like. There are about 21 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Wilson's Storm Petrel Oceanites oceanicus (A)
European Storm Petrel Hydrobates pelagicus
Band-rumped Storm Petrel Oceanodroma castro (A)
Leach's Storm Petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa
Swinhoe's Storm Petrel Oceanodroma monorhis (A)

Boobies and gannets[edit]

Order: Pelecaniformes. Family: Sulidae

The sulids comprise the gannets and boobies. Both groups comprise medium-to-large coastal sea-birds that plunge-dive for fish. There are about 9 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Northern Gannet Morus bassanus


Shags, common around the coast.

Order: Pelecaniformes. Family: Phalacrocoracidae

The Phalacrocoracidae is a family of medium-to-large coastal, fish-eating sea-birds that includes cormorants and shags. Plumage colouration varies with the majority having mainly dark plumage, some species being black and white, and a few being colourful. There are about 38 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus (A)
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
European Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis


Order: Pelecaniformes. Family: Fregatidae

Frigatebirds are large sea-birds usually found over tropical oceans. They are large, black-and-white or completely black, with long wings and deeply forked tails. The males have inflatable coloured throat pouches. They do not swim or walk, and cannot take off from a flat surface. Having the largest wingspan-to-body-weight ratio of any bird, they are essentially aerial, able to stay aloft for more than a week. There are 5 species worldwide and there have been several records of unidentified frigatebirds in Ireland.

Bitterns, herons and egrets[edit]

Little Egret, first bred in 1997 and is increasingly common.

Order: Ciconiiformes. Family: Ardeidae

The family Ardeidae contains the bitterns, herons and egrets. Herons and egrets are medium to large sized wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more wary. Unlike other long-necked birds suck as storks, ibises and spoonbills, members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted. There are about 61 species worldwide and 11 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea (A)
Great Egret Ardea alba (A)
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides (A)
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis (A)
Green Heron Butorides virescens (A)
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea (A)
Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax (A)
American Bittern Botaurus lentiginosus (A)
Great Bittern Botaurus stellaris (A)
Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus (A)


Order: Ciconiiformes. Family: Ciconiidae

Storks are large, long-legged, long-necked, wading birds with long, stout bills. Storks are mute; bill-clattering is an important mode of stork communication at the nest. Their nests can be large and may be reused for many years. Many species are migratory. There are about 19 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Black Stork Ciconia nigra (A)
White Stork Ciconia ciconia (A)

Ibises and spoonbills[edit]

Eurasian Spoonbill, a rare visitor.

Order: Ciconiiformes. Family: Threskiornithidae

The Threskiornithidae is a family of large terrestrial and wading birds which includes the ibises and spoonbills. They have long, broad wings with 11 primary and about 20 secondary feathers. They are strong fliers and despite their size and weight, very capable soarers. There are about 36 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus (A)
Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia (A)


Order: Phoenicopteriformes. Family: Phoenicopteridae

Flamingos are gregarious wading birds, usually 3 to 5 feet high, found in both the Western and Eastern Hemispheres. They are more numerous in the latter. Flamingos filter-feed on shellfish and algae. Their oddly shaped beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they consume, and are uniquely used upside-down. There are about 6 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Ireland, though the possibility of escapes has meant that the species is only on Category D of the Irish list.

Common name Binomial Status
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus (Cat. D1)

Ducks, geese and swans[edit]

Mute Swans on Lough Leane.
Barnacle Goose, a winter visitor from Greenland.
Mallard, a very common resident.
Eiders, common on northern coasts.

Order: Anseriformes. Family: Anatidae

The family Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These are birds that are modified for an aquatic existence with webbed feet, flattened bills and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to an oily coating. There are about 131 species worldwide and 49 species which occur in Ireland plus two in Category D.

Common name Binomial Status
Mute Swan Cygnus olor
Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus
Bewick's Swan Cygnus columbianus
Bean Goose Anser fabalis
Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus
Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons
Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus (A)
Greylag Goose Anser anser
Snow Goose Chen caerulescens (A)
Brent Goose Branta bernicla
Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis
Canada Goose Branta canadensis (A, I)
Cackling Goose Branta hutchinsii (A)
Red-breasted Goose Branta ruficollis (Cat. D1)
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea (A)
Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna
Mandarin Duck Aix galericulata (I)
Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope
American Wigeon Anas americana (A)
Gadwall Anas strepera
Baikal Teal Anas formosa (Cat. D1)
Green-winged Teal Anas carolinensis (A)
Common Teal Anas crecca
Falcated Teal Anas falcata (A)
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
American Black Duck Anas rubripes (A)
Northern Pintail Anas acuta
Garganey Anas querquedula
Blue-winged Teal Anas discors (A)
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina (A)
Common Pochard Aythya ferina
Redhead Aythya americana (A)
Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris (A)
Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca (A)
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
Greater Scaup Aythya marila
Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis (A)
Common Eider Somateria mollissima
King Eider Somateria spectabilis (A)
Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis
Common Scoter Melanitta nigra
Surf Scoter Melanitta perspicillata (A)
Velvet Scoter Melanitta fusca
Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula
Barrow's Goldeneye Bucephala islandica (A)
Bufflehead Bucephala albeola (A)
Smew Mergellus albellus
Hooded Merganser Lophodytes cucullatus (A)
Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator
Goosander Mergus merganser
Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis (I)


Order: Falconiformes. Family: Pandionidae

The Pandionidae family contains only one species, the Osprey. The Osprey is a medium large raptor which is a specialist fish-eater with a worldwide distribution.

Common name Binomial Status
Osprey Pandion haliaetus

Hawks, kites and eagles[edit]

Hen Harrier, a rare breeding bird.
Eurasian Buzzard, increasing and spreading.

Order: Falconiformes. Family: Accipitridae

Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey and include hawks, eagles, kites, harriers and Old World vultures. These birds have powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons, and keen eyesight. There are about 233 species worldwide and 16 species which occur in Ireland plus one in Category D.

Common name Binomial Status
European Honey-buzzard Pernis apivorus (A)
Red Kite Milvus milvus
Black Kite Milvus migrans (A)
White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla (A, being reintroduced)
Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus (A)
Eurasian Griffon Gyps fulvus (A)
Western Marsh-Harrier Circus aeruginosus
Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus
Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus (A)
Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus (A)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis (A)
Eurasian Buzzard Buteo buteo
Rough-legged Buzzard Buteo lagopus (A)
Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga (A)
Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos (A, being reintroduced)
Booted Eagle Aquila pennatus (Cat. D1)


Eurasian Kestrel, a common resident.

Order: Falconiformes. Family: Falconidae

Falconidae is a family of diurnal birds of prey. They differ from hawks, eagles, and kites in that they kill with their beaks instead of their feet. There are about 62 species worldwide and 7 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni (A)
Eurasian Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus (A)
Merlin Falco columbarius
Eurasian Hobby Falco subbuteo (A)
Gyrfalcon Falco rusticolus (A)
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus


Red Grouse, scarce resident of moors and bogs.

Order: Galliformes. Family: Tetraonidae

Grouse are game birds, similar to quails and partridge. There are about 18 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Ireland, including one former native species which is now extinct.

Common name Binomial Status
Red Grouse Lagopus lagopus
Eurasian Capercaillie Tetrao urogallus (E)

Pheasants and partridges[edit]

The Grey Partridge has seriously declined and is now very rare.

Order: Galliformes. Family: Phasianidae

The Phasianidae are a family of terrestrial birds which consists of quails, partridges, snowcocks, francolins, spurfowls, tragopans, monals, pheasants, peafowls and jungle fowls. In general, they are plump (although they may vary in size) and have broad, relatively short wings. There are about 156 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Ireland plus one in category D.

Common name Binomial Status
Red-legged Partridge Alectoris rufa (Cat. D4)
Grey Partridge Perdix perdix
Common Quail Coturnix coturnix
Ring-necked Pheasant Phasianus colchicus (I)


Order: Gruiformes. Family: Gruidae

Cranes are large, long-legged and long-necked birds. Unlike the similar-looking but unrelated herons, cranes fly with necks outstretched, not pulled back. Most have elaborate and noisy courting displays or "dances". There are about 15 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis (A)
Common Crane Grus grus (A)

Rails, crakes, gallinules, and coots[edit]

Corncrake, now a rare summer visitor but formerly very common.

Order: Gruiformes. Family: Rallidae

Rallidae is a large family of small to medium-sized birds which includes the rails, crakes, coots, and gallinules. Typically they inhabit dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, swamps, or rivers. In general they are shy and secretive birds, difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs, and have long toes which are well adapted to soft, uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and be weak fliers. There are about 143 species worldwide and 9 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Water Rail Rallus aquaticus
Corn Crake Crex crex
Little Crake Porzana parva (A)
Baillon's Crake Porzana pusilla (A)
Spotted Crake Porzana porzana (A)
Sora Porzana carolina (A)
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Eurasian Coot Fulica atra
American Coot Fulica americana (A)
American Purple Gallinule Porphyrio martinicus (Cat:D3)


Order: Gruiformes. Family: Otididae

Bustards are large terrestrial birds mainly associated with dry open country and steppes in the Old World. They are omnivorous and nest on the ground. They walk steadily on strong legs and big toes, pecking for food as they go. They have long broad wings with "fingered" wingtips, and striking patterns in flight. Many have interesting mating displays. There are about 26 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Great Bustard Otis tarda (A)
Little Bustard Tetrax tetrax (A)


Eurasian Oystercatcher, common around the coast.

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Haematopodidae

The oystercatchers are large and noisy plover-like birds, with strong bills used for smashing or prising open molluscs. There are about 11 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus

Avocets and stilts[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Recurvirostridae

Recurvirostridae is a family of large wading birds, which includes the avocets and the stilts. The avocets have long legs and long up-curved bills. The stilts have extremely long legs and long, thin, straight bills. There are about 9 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus (A)
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta (A)


Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Burhinidae

The thick-knees are a group of largely tropical waders in the family Burhinidae. They are found worldwide within the tropical zone, with some species also breeding in temperate Europe and Australia. They are medium to large waders with strong black or yellow black bills, large yellow eyes and cryptic plumage. Despite being classed as waders, most species have a preference for arid or semi-arid habitats. There are about 9 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Stone Curlew Burhinus oedicnemus (A)

Pratincoles and coursers[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Glareolidae

Glareolidae is a family of wading birds comprising the pratincoles, which have short legs, long pointed wings and long forked tails, and the coursers, which have long legs, short wings and long, pointed bills which curve downwards. There are about 17 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Cream-colored Courser Cursorius cursor (A)
Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola (A)
Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni (A)

Plovers and lapwings[edit]

Northern Lapwing, common in winter but less so in summer.

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Charadriidae

The family Charadriidae includes the plovers, dotterels, and lapwings. They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings. They are found in open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water, although there are some exceptions. There are about 66 species worldwide and 12 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius (A)
Pacific Golden-Plover Pluvialis fulva (A)
American Golden-Plover Pluvialis dominica (A)
European Golden-Plover Pluvialis apricaria
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola
Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus (A)
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius (A)
Killdeer Charadrius vociferus (A)
Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus (A)
Eurasian Dotterel Charadrius morinellus (A)

Sandpipers and allies[edit]

Eurasian Curlew, widespread breeder with larger numbers in winter.
Turnstone, common on rocky coasts.
Pectoral Sandpiper, a frequent vagrant from North America.
Red-necked Phalarope, a former breeding species.

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Scolopacidae

The Scolopacidae are a large diverse family of small to medium sized shorebirds including the sandpipers, curlews, godwits, shanks, tattlers, woodcocks, snipes, dowitchers and phalaropes. The majority of species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Variation in length of legs and bills enable different species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food. There are about 89 species worldwide and 50 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Eurasian Woodcock Scolopax rusticola
Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus
Great Snipe Gallinago media (A)
Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago
Wilson's Snipe Gallinago delicata (A)
Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus (A)
Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus (A)
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica
Eskimo Curlew Numenius borealis (A)
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata
Upland Sandpiper Bartramia longicauda (A)
Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus
Common Redshank Tringa totanus
Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis (A)
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca (A)
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes (A)
Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria (A)
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus (A)
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularia (A)
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris (A)
Red Knot Calidris canutus
Sanderling Calidris alba
Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla (A)
Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri (A)
Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis (A)
Little Stint Calidris minuta
Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii (A)
Long-toed Stint Calidris subminuta (A)
Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla (A)
White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis (A)
Baird's Sandpiper Calidris bairdii (A)
Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminata (A)
Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea
Dunlin Calidris alpina
Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima
Stilt Sandpiper Calidris himantopus (A)
Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus (A)
Buff-breasted Sandpiper Tryngites subruficollis (A)
Ruff Philomachus pugnax
Wilson's Phalarope Phalaropus tricolor (A)
Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus (A, formerly bred)
Grey Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius


Great Skua, a passage migrant around the coast.

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Stercorariidae

The family Stercorariidae are, in general, medium to large birds, typically with grey or brown plumage, often with white markings on the wings. They nest on the ground in temperate and arctic regions and are long-distance migrants. There are about 7 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Great Skua Stercorarius skua
Pomarine Skua Stercorarius pomarinus
Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus
Long-tailed Skua Stercorarius longicaudus


Herring Gull, very common resident.

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Laridae

Laridae is a family of medium to large birds seabirds and includes gulls and kittiwakes. They are typically grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet. There are about 55 species worldwide and 21 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Common Gull Larus canus
Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus
Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus
Iceland Gull Larus glaucoides
Thayer's Gull Larus thayeri (A)
Herring Gull Larus argentatus
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus
Yellow-legged Gull Larus michahellis
American Herring Gull Larus smithsonianus (A)
Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans (A)
Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
Bonaparte's Gull Larus philadelphia (A)
Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus
Laughing Gull Larus atricilla (A)
Franklin's Gull Larus pipixcan (A)
Slaty-backed Gull Larus schistisagus (A)
Little Gull Larus minutus
Ivory Gull Pagophila eburnea (A)
Ross's Gull Rhodostethia rosea (A)
Sabine's Gull Xema sabini
Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla


Roseate Tern, a scarce summer visitor.

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Sternidae

Terns are a group of generally general medium to large sea-birds typically with grey or white plumage, often with black markings on the head. Most terns hunt fish by diving but some pick insects off the surface of fresh water. Terns are generally long-lived birds, with several species now known to live in excess of 25 to 30 years. There are about 44 species worldwide and 14 species which occur in Ireland plus two Category D species.

Common name Binomial Status
Gull-billed Tern Sterna nilotica (A)
Caspian Tern Sterna caspia (A)
Elegant Tern Sterna elegans (A)
Lesser Crested Tern Sterna bengalensis (A)
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis
Royal Tern Sterna maxima (Cat. D3)
Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii
Common Tern Sterna hirundo
Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea
Forster's Tern Sterna forsteri (A)
Little Tern Sterna albifrons
Bridled Tern Sterna anaethetus (Cat. D3)
Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata (A)
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus (A)
White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus (A)
Black Tern Chlidonias niger


Black Guillemot, found along rocky coasts and around harbours and piers.

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Alcidae

Alcids are superficially similar to penguins due to their black-and-white colours, their upright posture and some of their habits, however they are not related to the penguins bnd differ in being able to fly. Auks live on the open sea, only deliberately coming ashore to nest. There are about 24 species worldwide and 7 species which occur in Ireland including one species now globally extinct.

Common name Binomial Status
Little Auk Alle alle (A)
Guillemot Uria aalge
Brunnich's Guillemot Uria lomvia (A)
Razorbill Alca torda
Great Auk Pinguinus impennis (E)
Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle
Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica


Order: Pterocliformes. Family: Pteroclidae

Sandgrouse have small, pigeon like heads and necks, but sturdy compact bodies. They have long pointed wings and sometimes tails and a fast direct flight. Flocks fly to watering holes at dawn and dusk. Their legs are feathered down to the toes. There are about 16 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Pallas's Sandgrouse Syrrhaptes paradoxus (A)

Pigeons and doves[edit]

Eurasian Collared Dove, first recorded in 1959 and now common.
Rock Dove,usually lives on cliffs near the Atlantic Ocean.

Order: Columbiformes. Family: Columbidae

Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere. There are about 308 species worldwide and 6 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Rock Pigeon Columba livia
Stock Dove Columba oenas
Common Wood Pigeon Columba palumbus
European Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur
Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
Mourning Dove Zeanaida macroura (A)


Common Cuckoo, a declining summer visitor.

Order: Cuculiformes. Family: Cuculidae

The family Cuculidae includes cuckoos, roadrunners and anis. These birds are of variable size with slender bodies, long tails and strong legs. Unlike the cuckoo species of the Old World, North American cuckoos are not brood parasites. There are about 138 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Great Spotted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius (A)
Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
Black-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus erythropthalmus (A)
Yellow-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus americanus (A)

Barn owls[edit]

Order: Strigiformes. Family: Tytonidae

Barn owls are medium to large sized owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons. There are about 16 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Barn Owl Tyto alba

Typical owls[edit]

Long-eared Owl, a difficult-to-see resident.

Order: Strigiformes. Family: Strigidae

Typical owls are small to large solitary nocturnal birds of prey. They have large forward-facing eyes and ears, a hawk-like beak, and a conspicuous circle of feathers around each eye called a facial disk. There are about 195 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
European Scops-Owl Otus scops (A)
Snowy Owl Bubo scandiacus (A)
Little Owl Athene noctua (A)
Long-eared Owl Asio otus
Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus
Tawny Owl Strix aluco (D)


Order: Caprimulgiformes. Family: Caprimulgidae

Nightjars are medium-sized nocturnal birds with long wings, short legs and very short bills that usually nest on the ground. Most have small feet, of little use for walking, and long pointed wings. Their soft plumage is camouflaged to resemble bark or leaves. There are about 86 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Common Nighthawk Chordeiles minor (A)
Eurasian Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus


Common Swift, a summer visitor.

Order: Apodiformes. Family: Apodidae

Swifts are small aerial birds, spending the majority of their lives flying. These birds have very short legs and never settle voluntarily on the ground, perching instead only on vertical surfaces. Many swifts have long swept-back wings that resemble a crescent or a boomerang. There are about 98 species worldwide and 6 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
White-throated Needletail Hirundapus caudacutus (A)
Chimney Swift Chaetura pelagica (A)
Alpine Swift Tachymarptis melba (A)
Common Swift Apus apus
Pallid Swift Apus pallidus (A)
Little Swift Apus affinis (A)


Common Kingfisher, seen beside rivers and lakes.

Order: Coraciiformes. Family: Alcedinidae

Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long, pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails. There are about 93 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
Belted Kingfisher Ceryle alcyon (A)


Order: Coraciiformes. Family: Meropidae

The bee-eaters are a group of near passerine birds in the family Meropidae. Most species are found in Africa but others occur in southern Europe, Madagascar, Australia and New Guinea. They are characterised by richly coloured plumage, slender bodies and usually elongated central tail feathers. All are colorful and have long downturned bills and pointed wings, which give them a swallow-like appearance when seen from afar. There are about 26 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
European Bee-eater Merops apiaster (A)

Typical rollers[edit]

Order: Coraciiformes. Family: Coraciidae

Rollers resemble crows in size and build, but are more closely related to the kingfishers and bee-eaters. They share the colourful appearance of those groups with blues and browns predominating. The two inner front toes are connected, but the outer toe is not. There are about 12 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
European Roller Coracias garrulus (A)


Order: Coraciiformes. Family: Upupidae

Hoopoes have black, white and orangey-pink colouring with a large erectile crest on their head. There are about 2 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Hoopoe Upupa epops

Woodpeckers and allies[edit]

Great Spotted Woodpecker, an occasional visitor which may have bred recently.

Order: Piciformes. Family: Picidae

Woodpeckers are small to medium-sized birds with chisel-like beaks, short legs, stiff tails and long tongues used for capturing insects. Some species have feet with two toes pointing forward, and two backward, while several species have only three toes. Many woodpeckers have the habit of tapping noisily on tree trunks with their beaks. There are about 218 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in Ireland plus one in Category D.

Common name Binomial Status
Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla (A)
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Sphyrapicus varius (A)
Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major
Northern Flicker Colaptes auratus (Cat.D2)
European Green Woodpecker Picus viridis (A)

Tyrant flycatchers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Tyrannidae

Common name Binomial Status
Eastern Kingbird Tyrannus tyrannus (A)


Eurasian Skylark, a common resident.

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Alaudidae

Larks are small terrestrial birds with often extravagant songs and display flights. Most larks are fairly dull in appearance. Their food is insects and seeds. There are about 91 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Greater Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla (A)
Wood Lark Lullula arborea (A)
Eurasian Skylark Alauda arvensis
Shore Lark Eremophila alpestris (A)

Swallows and martins[edit]

Barn Swallow, a very common summer visitor.

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Hirundinidae

The Hirundinidae family is a group of passerines characterized by their adaptation to aerial feeding. Their adaptations include a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings and short bills with wide gape. The feet are designed for perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base. There are about 75 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in Ireland plus one in Category D.

Common name Binomial Status
Purple Martin Progne subis (Cat. D1)
Sand Martin Riparia riparia
American Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonota (A)
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis daurica (A)
Common House Martin Delichon urbicum

Wagtails and pipits[edit]

Pied Wagtail, a common and widespread resident.

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Motacillidae

The Motacillidae are a family of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They include the wagtails, longclaws and pipits. They are slender, ground feeding insectivores of open country. There are about 54 species worldwide and 14 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba
Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola (A)
Western Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava
Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
Richard's Pipit Anthus richardi (A)
Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris (A)
Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis
Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni (A)
Pechora Pipit Anthus gustavi (A)
Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis
Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus (A)
Rock Pipit Anthus petrosus
Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta (A)
Buff-bellied Pipit Anthus rubescens (A)


Goldcrest, Ireland's smallest bird.

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Regulidae

The kinglets or crests are a small group of birds often included in the Old World warblers, but frequently given family status because they also resemble the titmice. There are about 7 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Goldcrest Regulus regulus
Common Firecrest Regulus ignicapillus
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus calendula (A)


Order: Passeriformes. Family: Bombycillidae

The waxwings are a group of passerine birds characterized by soft silky plumage and unique red tips to some of the wing feathers. In the Bohemian and Cedar Waxwings, these tips look like sealing wax, and give the group its name. These are arboreal birds of northern forests. They live on insects in summer and berries in winter. There are 3 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Bohemian Waxwing Bombycilla garrulus
Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum (A)


Irish White-throated Dipper, found along fast-flowing streams and rivers.

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Cinclidae

Dippers are a group of perching birds whose habitat includes aquatic environments in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. They are named for their bobbing or dipping movements. There are 5 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Irish White-throated Dipper Cinclus cinclus hibernicus


Winter Wren, "hunting the wren" is an old tradition in Ireland.

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Troglodytidae

The wrens are mainly small and inconspicuous except for their loud songs. These birds have short wings and a thin down-turned bill. Several species often hold their tails upright. All are insectivorous. There are about 80 species worldwide (of which all but one are New World species) and 1 species which occurs in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Winter Wren Troglodytes troglodytes

Mockingbirds and thrashers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Mimidae

The mimids are a family of passerine birds that includes thrashers, mockingbirds, tremblers, and the New World catbirds. These birds are notable for their vocalizations, especially their ability to mimic a wide variety of birds and other sounds heard outdoors. Their colouring tends towards dull greys and browns . There are about 35 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Grey Catbird Dumetella carolinensis (A)


Dunnock, a very common resident.

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Prunellidae

The accentors are in the only bird family, Prunellidae, which is completely endemic to the Palearctic. They are small, fairly drab species superficially similar to sparrows. There are 13 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Dunnock Prunella modularis

Thrushes and allies[edit]

Ring Ouzel, a rare summer visitor to high mountains.

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Turdidae

The thrushes are a group of passerine birds that occur mainly in the Old World. They are plump, soft plumaged, small to medium-sized insectivores or sometimes omnivores, often feeding on the ground. Many have attractive songs. There are about 176 species worldwide and 13 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Common Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis (A)
Siberian Thrush Zoothera sibirica (A)
White's Thrush Zoothera dauma (A)
Grey-cheeked Thrush Catharus minimus (A)
Swainson's Thrush Catharus ustulatus (A)
Hermit Thrush Catharus guttatus (A)
Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus
Eurasian Blackbird Turdus merula
Fieldfare Turdus pilaris
Redwing Turdus iliacus
Song Thrush Turdus philomelos
Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus
American Robin Turdus migratorius (A)

Cisticolas and allies[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Cisticolidae

The Cisticolidae are warblers found mainly in warmer southern regions of the Old World. They are generally very small birds of drab brown or grey appearance found in open country such as grassland or scrub. There are about 111 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis (A)

Old World warblers[edit]

Sedge Warbler, a common summer visitor in wetland areas.
Willow Warbler, a very common summer visitor.

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Sylviidae

The family Sylviidae is a group of small insectivorous passerine birds. The Sylviidae mainly occur as breeding species, as the common name implies, in Europe, Asia and, to a lesser extent Africa. Most are of generally undistinguished appearance, but many have distinctive songs. There are about 291 species worldwide and 35 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Cetti's Warbler Cettia cetti (A)
Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia
Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler Locustella certhiola (A)
Savi's Warbler Locustella luscinioides (A)
Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola (A)
Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
Paddyfield Warbler Acrocephalus agricola (A)
Blyth's Reed Warbler Acrocephalus dumetorum (A)
Eurasian Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus
Marsh Warbler Acrocephalus palustris (A)
Great Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus (A)
Booted Warbler Hippolais caligata (A)
Sykes's Warbler Hippolais rama (A)
Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida (A)
Melodious Warbler Hippolais polyglotta (A)
Icterine Warbler Hippolais icterina (A)
Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
Western Bonelli's Warbler Phylloscopus bonelli (A)
Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix
Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus (A)
Radde's Warbler Phylloscopus schwarzi (A)
Pallas's Warbler Phylloscopus proregulus (A)
Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus
Hume's Warbler Phylloscopus humei (A)
Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis (A)
Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides (A)
Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
Garden Warbler Sylvia borin
Greater Whitethroat Sylvia communis
Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca
Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria (A)
Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans (A)
Sardinian Warbler Sylvia melanocephala (A)
Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata (A)

Old World flycatchers and chats[edit]

Spotted Flycatcher, one of the last summer visitors to arrive.
European Robin, a common and familiar resident.

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Muscicapidae

Old World flycatchers and chats are a large group of small passerine birds native to the Old World. They are mainly small arboreal insectivores. The appearance of these birds is very varied, but they mostly have weak songs and harsh calls. There about 274 species worldwide and 18 species which occur in Ireland including a record of a bird accepted as either Black Wheatear or White-tailed Wheatear.

Common name Binomial Status
Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata
Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca
Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis (A)
Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva (A)
European Robin Erithacus rubecula
Thrush Nightingale Luscinia luscinia (A)
Common Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos (A)
Bluethroat Luscinia svecica (A)
Rufous-tailed Scrub-Robin Cercotrichas galactotes (A)
Red-flanked Bluetail Tarsiger cyanurus (A)
Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros
Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
Whinchat Saxicola rubetra
European Stonechat Saxicola rubicola
White-tailed Wheatear Oenanthe leucopyga
Black Wheatear Oenanthe leucura (A)
Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka (A)
Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica (A)
Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti (A)
Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina (A)


Order: Passeriformes. Family: Paradoxornithidae

The parrotbills are a group of birds native to East and Southeast Asia, though feral populations are known from elsewhere. They are generally small, long-tailed birds which inhabit reedbeds and similar habitats. There are about 20 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Bearded Reedling Panurus biarmicus (A)

Long-tailed tits[edit]

Long-tailed Tit, a common resident.

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Aegithalidae

Long-tailed tits are a group of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They make woven bag nests in trees. Most eat a mixed diet that includes insects. There are about 9 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus


Coal Tit, common in woods and gardens.

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Paridae

The Paridae are mainly small stocky woodland species with short stout bills. Some have crests. They are adaptable birds, with a mixed diet including seeds and insects. There are about 59 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Marsh Tit Poecile palustris (A)
Coal Tit Periparus ater
Great Tit Parus major
Eurasian Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus


Eurasian Treecreeper, an inconspicuous resident.

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Certhiidae

Treecreepers are small woodland birds, brown above and white below. They have thin pointed down-curved bills, which they use to extricate insects from bark. They have stiff tail feathers, like woodpeckers, which they use to support themselves on vertical trees. There are about 6 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Eurasian Treecreeper Certhia familiaris

Old World orioles[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Oriolidae

The Old World Orioles are colourful passerine birds. They are not related to the New World orioles. There are about 29 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Eurasian Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus (A)


Red-backed Shrike, a rare passage migrant.

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Laniidae

Shrikes are passerine birds known for their habit of catching other birds and small animals and impaling the uneaten portions of their bodies on thorns. A typical shrike's beak is hooked, like a bird of prey. There are about 31 species worldwide and 6 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio
Isabelline Shrike Lanius isabellinus (A)
Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus (A)
Northern Shrike Lanius excubitor
Lesser Gray Shrike Lanius minor (A)
Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator (A)

Crows, jays, ravens and magpies[edit]

Hooded Crow, a common resident in many habitats.

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Corvidae

The Corvidae family includes crows, ravens, jackdaws, jays, choughs, magpies, treepies, nutcrackers, and ground jays. Corvids are above average in size for the bird order Passeriformes. Some of the larger species show high levels of learning behavior. There are about 120 species worldwide and 8 species which occur in Ireland plus one in Category D.

Common name Binomial Status
Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius
Eurasian Magpie Pica pica
Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax
Eurasian Jackdaw Corvus monedula
House Crow Corvus splendens (Cat.D2)
Rook Corvus frugilegus
Carrion Crow Corvus corone
Common Raven Corvus corax
Hooded Crow Corvus cornix


European Starling, a common breeding bird with more arriving in winter.

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Sturnidae

Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds. Their flight is strong and direct, and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country. They eat insects and fruit. Plumage is typically dark with a metallic sheen. There are about 125 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Rosy Starling Pastor roseus (A)
European Starling Sturnus vulgaris


Order: Passeriformes. Family: Vireonidae

The vireos are a group of small to medium sized passerine birds restricted to the New World. They are typically greenish in colour and resemble wood warblers apart from their heavier bills. There are about 52 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Philadelphia Vireo Vireo philadelphicus (A)
Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus (A)

New World warblers[edit]

Blue-winged Warbler, one on Cape Clear Island in 2000 was the first European record of this North American bird.

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Parulidae

The New World warblers are a group of small, often colourful, passerine birds restricted to the New World. Most are arboreal, but some are terrestrial. Most members of this family are insectivores. There are about 119 species worldwide and 11 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Blue-winged Warbler Vermivora pinus (A)
Northern Parula Parula americana (A)
Yellow Warbler Dendroica petechia (A)
Yellow-rumped Warbler Dendroica coronata (A)
Blackpoll Warbler Dendroica striata (A)
Black-and-white Warbler Mniotilta varia (A)
American Redstart Setophaga ruticilla (A)
Ovenbird Seiurus aurocapilla (A)
Northern Waterthrush Seiurus noveboracensis (A)
Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas (A)
Canada Warbler Wilsonia canadensis (A)


Order: Passeriformes. Family: Thraupidae

The tanagers are a large group of small to medium-sized passerine birds restricted to the New World, mainly in the tropics. Many species are brightly coloured. They are seed eaters, but their preference tends towards fruit and nectar. Most have short, rounded wings. There are about 256 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Scarlet Tanager Piranga olivacea (A)

Buntings and New World sparrows[edit]

Yellowhammer, a declining resident.
Snow Bunting, small numbers occur in autumn and winter.

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Emberizidae

The emberizids are a large family of passerine birds. They are seed-eating birds with a distinctively shaped bill. In Europe, most species are named as buntings. In North America, most of the species in this family are known as sparrows, but these birds are not closely related to the Old World sparrows which are in the family Passeridae. Many emberizid species have distinctive head patterns. There are species 275 worldwide and 16 species which occur in Ireland plus one in Category D.

Common name Binomial Status
Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella
Pine Bunting Emberiza leucocephalos (A)
Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus (A)
Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana (A)
Little Bunting Emberiza pusilla (A)
Rustic Bunting Emberiza rustica (A)
Yellow-breasted Bunting Emberiza aureola (A)
Black-headed Bunting Emberiza melanocephala (A)
Red-headed Bunting Emberiza bruniceps (Cat.D1)
Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus
Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra (A, formerly bred)
Fox Sparrow Passerella iliaca (A)
White-crowned Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys (A)
White-throated Sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis (A)
Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis (A)
Lapland Bunting Calcarius lapponicus
Snow Bunting Plectrophenax nivalis

Cardinals and allies[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Cardinalidae

The cardinals are a family of passerine birds that are robust, seed-eating birds, with strong bills. They are typically associated with open woodland. The sexes usually have distinct plumages. There are about 43 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Rose-breasted Grosbeak Pheucticus ludovicianus (A)
Indigo Bunting Passerina cyanea (A)

Troupials and allies[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Icteridae

The icterids are a group of small to medium, often colourful, passerine birds restricted to the New World and include the grackles, New World blackbirds, and New World orioles. Most species have black as the predominant plumage colour, often enlivened by yellow, orange or red. There are about 98 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
Bobolink Dolichonyx oryzivorus (A)
Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula (A)


Chaffinch, a very common resident.

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Fringillidae

Finches are seed-eating passerine birds, that are small to moderately large and have a strong beak, usually conical and in some species very large. All have 12 tail feathers and 9 primaries. These birds have a bouncing flight with alternating bouts of flapping and gliding on closed wings, and most sing well. There are about 137 species worldwide and 15 species which occur in Ireland plus one in Category D.

Common name Binomial Status
Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
Brambling Fringilla montifringilla
Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus (A)
Crossbill Loxia curvirostra
Two-barred Crossbill Loxia leucoptera (A)
European Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
Common Redpoll Carduelis flammea
Arctic Redpoll Carduelis hornemanni (A)
Eurasian Siskin Carduelis spinus
European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
American Goldfinch Carduelis tristis (Cat. D1)
Twite Carduelis flavirostris
Eurasian Linnet Carduelis cannabina
European Serin Serinus serinus (A)
Eurasian Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula
Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustes (A)


House Sparrow, common around human habitation.

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Passeridae

Sparrows are small passerine birds. In general, sparrows tend to be small, plump, brown or grey birds with short tails and short powerful beaks. Sparrows are seed-eaters, and they also consume small insects. There are about 35 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Ireland.

Common name Binomial Status
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus

See also[edit]


  • Clements, James F. (2000). Birds of the World: a Checklist. Cornell University Press. p. 880. ISBN 0-934797-16-1. 
  • Dempsey, Eric & Michael O'Clery (1995) Pocket Guide to the Common Birds of Ireland, Gill & Macmillan Ltd, Dublin.
  • Dempsey, Eric & Michael O'Clery (2007) Finding Birds in Ireland: the complete guide, Gill & Macmillan Ltd, Dublin.
  • Irish Rare Birds Committee (2007) The Irish List. Accessed 6 April 2009.
  • Irish Rare Birds Committee (2009) Irish Rare Bird Report 2007. Accessed 31 October 2009.
  • Lepage, Denis. "Checklist of birds of Ireland". Bird Checklists of the World. Avibase. Retrieved 26 April 2007. 

External links[edit]