Birds

 

The Park provides a variety of habitats for at least 100 different species of bird, both resident and migratory (See checklist). Blanket bog and heathland make up the greater part of this area. Deciduous woodlands, coniferous plantations, cliffs, scree slopes, lakes and rivers also provide important habitats for birds.

Ireland's position as an island on the western edge of Europe results in a temperate damp environment that rarely experiences extreme weather conditions. This attracts many migratory species including waterfowl seeking refuge from the freezing conditions of northern Europe and the Arctic, and summer migrants from Africa that come here to breed. Irelands isolation also means that there are fewer resident species than in Britain or mainland Europe.

Management

Surveying and monitoring of birds is an integral part of Park management to determine the numbers and species of bird present at particular times of the year. The Irish Wetland Bird Survey (IWeBS) is carried out throughout the country by Rangers and volunteers on specific dates. Park staff monitor the Blessington Lakes, which are outside of the Park, but are an important stopover for winter migrants.

Goosander nest boxes have been erected on the shores of the Upper Lake in Glendalough. Species using them to date have also included Coal Tits and Red Squirrels.

 

The Wicklow heathlands are an important habitat for the threatened Red Grouse. This species requires long old heather for cover and nesting as well as young heather on which to feed. An area of heath near Djouce Mt. is being managed to create diversity in heather cover to boost the population. This is being achieved at present through the cutting of plots of heather on a rotational basis. Controlled burning of plots is planned in the future.

Bird watchers are invited to inform us of any interesting observations. Contact us.

Habitats

The principal bird habitats within the Park are upland heath and bog, cliffs and rocky areas, and also the woodlands.

Upland Heath and Bog

The remoteness of the open hill is often a rewarding place to seek out birdlife. The Skylark and Meadow Pipits are two of the most conspicuous birds of the mountains.

Waders like Snipe, Curlew and Golden Plover can be found feeding in the waterlogged areas like Liffey Head Bog. The Red Grouse, a subspecies of the European Willow Grouse, breeds successfully in the drier heathland areas of the Wicklow Mountains.

Danger is always present within the animal kingdom. Birds and small animals such as mice, frogs and lizards must be wary of predators. The Merlin hunts on the open hillside. Before the reforestation of Ireland with commercial conifer plantations became prevalent in the 1960s, this small falcon nested on the ground. Recently tree-nesting has become increasingly common. Despite this, there has been some decline in numbers as hunting grounds have been afforested. Kestrels and Hen Harriers are also present on the boglands of the Park. A summer visitor, the charming Wheatear patrols the hillsides. It boldly perches on rocks and bushes making it an easy bird to watch. The white flash on its rump and tail feathers is a distinguishing feature. It feeds primarily on invertebrates, but can often be seen flying sporadically between Fraughan bushes in late summer to take advantage of the tasty fraughan berries.

Other birds found on the open hill include the resident Stonechat, the Snow Bunting(a winter visitor from Scandinavia), the Whinchat (a summer visitor from southern Europe and northern Africa).

Cliff and Rocky Areas

The scree slopes of Glendalough and the steep cliffs throughout the Wicklow Mountains offer suitable nesting sites for Raven, Peregrine Falcon and Ring Ouzel.

The Raven scavenges to a large extent on the carcasses of dead animals and so nests in February to coincide with the highest period of winter mortality.

The survival of the Peregrine Falcon is one of the great success stories in the Wicklow Mountains. The use of pesticides in the 1950s and 1960s severely affected the breeding success of this bird of prey. A reduction in their use in recent years has led to a recovery in the population. The Glendalough Valley is home to at least one pair, their piercing screeches draw attention to themselves as they soar in the sky. The Peregrine hunts by knocking its prey from the air at incredible speeds of up to 250mph (400 kph). The impact from the talons can kill prey instantly.

The Ring Ouzel is a scarce summer visitor and rarely seen. A member of the thrush family, it resembles the Blackbird in appearance apart from a band of white on its chest and a pale patch on its wings. It is a secretive bird often flitting amongst rocky outcrops. It has been recorded at Turlough Hill and on the scree slopes of Glendalough valley.

Names such as Lough Ouler ('Iolar' is the Irish for eagle) and Eagles Crag above Lower Lough Bray, remind us that the magnificent White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla once soared over the Wicklow mountains. Persecution led to its extinction in Ireland by the end of the 19th century. It was recorded nesting in Lough Bray up until the 1830s. The Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos experienced similar persecution, but now is being reintroduced from Scotland to Glenveagh National Park in Donegal, and maybe will return to nest in Wicklow in the near future. To learn more about the project see www.goldeneagle.ie.

Oakwoods

The oakwoods of Glendalough are full of garden birds such as Chaffinch, Blue Tit and Blackbird. The woodlands are also host to less common woodland specialists such as the Jay, which is a colourful member of the crow family. Two important visitors each summer to the oakwoods, which are rare in Ireland, are Redstart and Wood Warbler. These birds can be difficult to spot in a woodland, so it useful to learn their calls.

Blue Tit on Larch twig.  Copyright Gerry Cummins

Bird Checklist

Species

Irish

Latin

Grebes

Little Grebe

Spágaire Tonn

Tachybaptus ruficollis

Great Crested Grebe

Foitheach Mór

Podiceps cristatus

Cormorants

Cormorant

Broigheall

Phalcrocorax carbo

Herons

Grey Heron

Corr Réisc

Ardrea cinerea

Swans

Mute Swan

Eala Bhalbh

Cygnus olor

Whooper Swan

Eala Ghlórach

Cygnus cygnus

Geese

Greylag Goose

Gé Ghlas

Anser anser

Dabbling Ducks

Wigeon

Lacha Rua

Anas penelope

Teal

Praslacha

Anas crecca

Mallard

Mallard

Anas platyrhynchos

Shoveler

Spadalach

Anas clypeta

Diving Ducks

Tufted Duck

Lacha Bhadánach

Aythya fuligula

Goldeneye

Órshúileach

Bucephala clangula

Goosander

Síolta Mhór

Mergus merganser

Birds of Prey

Osprey

Coirneach

Pandion haliateus

Red Kite

Clamhán Ceirteach/Cúr Rua

Milvus milvus

Hen Harrier

Cromán na gCearc

Cirus cyaneus

Sparrowhawk

Spioróg

Accipiter nisus

Buzzard

Clamhán

Buteo buteo

Kestrel

Pocaire Gaoithe

Falco tinnunculus

Merlin

Meirliún

Falco columbarius

Peregrine Falcon

Fabhcún Gorm

Falco peregrinus

Grouse

Red Grouse

Cearc Fhraoigh

Lagopus lagopus

Partridges and Pheasants

Red-legged Partridge

Patraisc Chosdearg

Alectoris rufa

Grey Partridge

Patraisc

Perdix perdix

Pheasant

Piasún

Phasianus colchicus

Rails and Coots

Water Rail

Ralóg Uisce

Rallus aquaticus

Moorhen

Cearc Uisce

Gallinula chloropus

Coot

Cearc Cheannann

Fulica atra

Plovers and Lapwings

Golden Plover

Feadóg Bhuí

Pluvialis apricaria

Lapwing

Pilibín

Vanellus vanellus

Sandpipers, Curlews and Snipes

Snipe

Naoscach

Gallinago gallinago

Woodcock

Creabhar

Scolopax rusticola

Curlew

Crotach

Numenius arquata

Redshank

Cosdeargán

Tringa totanus

Common Sandpiper

Gobadán

Actitis hypoleucos

Gulls

Black-headed Gull

Sléibhín

Larus ridibundus

Common Gull

Faoileán Bán

Larus canus

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Droimneach Beag

Larus fuscus

Herring Gull

Faoileán Scadán

Larus argentatus

Pigeons and Doves

Feral Pigeon

Fiacholm

Columba livia (domest.)

Stock Dove

Colm Gorm

Columba oenas

Woodpigeon

Colm Coille

Columba palumbus

Collared Dove

Fearán Baicdhubh

Streptopelia decaocto

Cuckoos

Cuckoo

Cuach

Cuculus canorus

Owls

Barn Owl

Scréachóg Reilige

Tyto alba

Long-eared Owl

Ceann Cait

Asio otus

Swifts

Swift

Gabhlán Gaoithe

Apus apus

Kingfishers

Kingfisher

Cruidín

Alecedo atthis

Larks

Skylark

Fuiseog

Alauda arvensis

Swallows and Martins

Sand Martin

Gabhlán Gainimh

Riparia riparia

Swallow

Fáinleog

Hirundo rustica

House Martin

Gabhlán Binne

Delichon urbica

Pipits and Wagtails

Meadow Pipit

Riabhóg Mhóna

Alauda cervensis

Grey Wagtail

Glasóg Liath

Motacilla cinerea

Pied Wagtail

Glasóg Shráide

Motacilla alba

Dipper

Gabha Dubh

Cinclus cinclus

Wrens and Dippers

Wren

Dreoilín

Troglodytes troglodytes

Accentors

Dunnock

Donnóg

Prunella modularis

Thrushes

Robin

Spideog

Erithacus rubecula

Redstart

Earrdheargán

Phoenicurus pheonicurus

Whinchat

Caislín Aitinn

Saxicola rubetra

Stonechat

Caislín Cloch

Saxicola torquata

Wheatear

Clochrán

Oenanathe oenanthe

Ring Ouzel

Lon Creige

Turdus torquatus

Blackbird

Lon Dubh

Turdus merula

Fieldfare

Sacán

Turdus pilaris

Song Thrush

Smólach Ceoil

Turdus philomelos

Redwing

Deargán Sneachta

Turdus iliacus

Mistle Thrush

Liatráisc

Turdus viscivorus

Warblers

Grasshopper Warbler

Ceolaire Casarnaí

Locustella naevia

Sedge Warbler

Ceolaire Cíbe

Acrocephalus schoenobaenus

Whitethroat

Gilphíb

Sylvia communis

Garden Warbler

Ceolaire Garraí

Sylvia borin

Blackcap

Caipín Dubh

Sylvia atricapilla

Wood Warbler

Ceolaire Coille

Phylloscopus sibilatrix

Chiffchaff

Tiuf-Teaf

Phylloscopus collybita

Willow Warbler

Ceolaire Sailí

Phylloscopus trochilus

Goldcrest

Cíorbhuí

Regulus regulus

Flycatchers

Spotted Flycatcher

Cuilire Liath

Muscicapa striata

Pied Flycatcher

Cuilire Alabhreac

Ficedula hypoleuca

Tits

Long-tailed Tit

Meantán Earrfhada

Aegithalos caudatus

Coal Tit

Meantán Dubh

Parus ater

Blue Tit

Meantán Gorm

Parus caeruleus

Great Tit

Meantán Mór

Parus major

Treecreepers

Treecreeper

Snag

Certhia familiaris

Crows

Jay

Scréachóg

Garrulus glandarius

Magpie

Snag Breac

Pica pica

Jackdaw

Cág

Corvus monedula

Rook

Rúcach

Corvus frugilegus

Hooded Crow

Feannóg

Corvus cornix

Raven

Fiach Dubh

Corvus corax

Starling

Starling

Druid

Sturnus vulgaris

Sparrows

House Sparrow

Gealbhan Binne

Passer domesticus

Finches

Chaffinch

Rí Rua

Fringilla coelebs

Brambling

Breacán

Fringilla montifringilla

Greenfinch

Glasán Darach

Carduelis chloris

Goldfinch

Lasair Choille

Carduelis carduelis

Siskin

Siscín

Carduelis spinus

Linnet

Gleoiseach

Acanthis cannabine

Redpoll

Deargéadan

Acanthis flammea

Crossbill

Crosghob

Loxia curvirostra

Bullfinch

Corcrán Coille

Pyrrhula pyrrhula

Buntings

Snow Bunting

Gealóg Sneachta

Plectrophenax nivalis

Yellowhammer

Buíóg

Emberiza citrinella

Reed Bunting

Gealóg Ghioclaí

Emberiza schoeniclus

 

 

National Parks & Wildlife Service, 7 Ely Place, Dublin 2. Phone: +353 1 8882000 Fax: +353 1 8883272