Identifying Common Irish Birds

Have you ever looked out your kitchen window and wondered what’s living in your garden?

Here we are delighted to introduce you to some of Ireland’s most popular garden inhabitants! Proceed with caution though – you’ll soon find that bird watching can be a little bit addictive!

What does a Blackbird look like?

Male blackbirds have all black feathers and easily identifiable bright yellow bill. Females are much browner, with speckles on the upper breast.

What do they eat?

Blackbirds love worms so mealworms are a great treat, but they also eat berries, apples, seeds and high energy foods like peanuts and fat. They will happily come to your bird table so choose foods like mealworms, peanuts, mixed seed and fat ball treats.

Where do they nest?

If you would like Blackbirds to nest in your garden, they like trees and hedgerows, but will also nest in large open fronted nest boxes.

Petmania Blackbird Male

What does a Blue Tit look like?

Blue tits have a distinctive bright blue crown, nape collar, wings and tail with a yellow underside. Their cheeks are white, but have dark blue line around the eyes. These cheerful fellows have a short bill and stubby legs.

What do they eat?

Blue tits like small insects, seeds and will be a frequent visitor to your bird table or peanut feeder.

Where do they nest?

These birds like small unusual nesting sites like tree or wall cavities so smaller nesting boxes are perfect for them.

What does a Chaffinch look like?

Both male and female chaffinches have long tails with large white markings on their otherwise black wings. While the female is greyer with warm grey underside, the male is a colourful pinkish orange breast, face and underside which darkens in the winter.

What do they eat?

While they eat mainly seeds and split grains they will feed small insects to their young. Frequent visitors to your bird table and seed feeder.

Where do they nest?

The chaffinch will create a nest of moss and dried grass which you will find at the end of a branch!

What does a Coal Tit look like?

The coal tit has a distinctive pattern on its head white cheeks with a black crown, bib and side, with the nape of the neck having a long white patch. Their back, tail and wings are grey with hint of green, and small white marks on their wings. They have a small pointed bill and short legs with a brownish underside.

What do they eat?

They like insects, seeds and nuts- you will often notice them prising peanuts from your feeders and flying away with them to store them for later!

Where do they nest?

Coal tits will nest in cavities in a tree or wall but will also happily set up home in a nestbox in your garden.

Petmania Coal Tit

What does a Collared Dove look like?

These pale grey birds have a dark outer wing feather and a narrow black, white edged collar across the side of their necks.

What do they eat?

These birds eat mainly cereal grains, seeds and the fruits of herbs and grasses, although they will sometimes eat insects.

Where do they nest?

These birds will build a flimsy nest of twigs in dense foliage.

Petmania Collared Dove

What does a Dunnock look like?

About the same size as a robin, the Dunnock is dark brown with bold black streaking and a bluish-grey head and neck. Its bill is thin and pointed and its legs are an orangeish brown colour.

What do they eat?

Dunnocks dine on small insects but will be attracted to your bird tables by seeds and fatty offerings such as suet treats and fat balls.

Where do they nest?

These little birds will be found in nests of moss and dead grass in hedgerows and bushes.

Petmania Dunnock 1

What does a Goldfinch look like?

The Goldfinch has eye-catching black and yellow wings and a scarlet red face with black and white markings around the face. Their tails are black with white spots and the rump white. Often seen in large flocks.

What do they eat?

These colourful birds enjoy seeds, split grains and some insects. They will also use a peanut feeder and will become a common visitor to your garden.

Where do they nest?

Goldfinches will nest in concealed spots high up in the bushes in a dead grass and small twigs.

Petmania Goldfinch 1

What does a Great Tit look like?

The Great Tit will has a noticeable black head with big white patches on its cheeks. They have a bright yellow breast with a black band that runs downs its centre and its back and wings will be coloured with yellow-green feathers.

What do they eat?

These cheerful birds enjoy seeds, split grains and some insects. They will also use a peanut feeder and will become a common visitor to your garden.

Where do they nest?

Like its cousin the Coal Tit, the Great Tit will nest in cavities in a tree or wall but will also happily set up home in a nestbox in your garden.

Petmania Great Tit

What does a House Sparrow look like?

House sparrows are recognizable by their large head and bill, dark brown back and heavy dark grey streaking underside. The male has chocolate brown nape, grey crown and large black bib, while the female has a plainer colouring with with a buff stripe extending back from eye. They can often be seen in large flocks.

What do they eat?

The House Sparrow will dine on seeds, split grain, buds and some insects, especially when feeding young. They will visit your peanut feeder and take food from your bird table.

Where do they nest?

House Sparrow nests will be found in the cavities of buildings, such as under eaves or in holes formed by missing brickwork. They will happily use nestboxes in your garden.

Petmania House Sparrow2

What does a Robin look like?

Possibly Ireland’s most recognizable bird, the robin has a bright orange-red breast and facial area that make it unmistakable. Its upper-parts are greyish brown while its belly and lower breast are greyish white.

What do they eat?

Robins will eat insects and some fruits, including apples. They will be a frequent visitor to your bird table and will happily dine on seeds, peanuts and suet treats.

Where do they nest?

Robins nests are usually well-concealed in a bank, ivy or in a tree or wall cavity. They will happily use open-fronted nestboxes and will sometimes nest in usual places such as inside your garden shed.

Petmania Robin

What does a Song Thrush look like?

The familiar Song Thrush has plain brown upper-parts and buffish-white underside, with prominent arrow-shaped black spots in lines down the breast and flanks. Their legs are pale pinkish-grey and they will often be seen hopping around your garden in search of worms.

What do they eat?

The Song Thrush will eat mainly insects, with earthworms and snails a particular favourite. They will also eat berries and other fruit.

Where do they nest?

These cheerful birds will be found at home in trees, bushes, ivy, brambles and sometimes conifers.

Petmania Song Thrush 1

What does a Siskin look like?

A small member of the finch family, the Siskin has a fine, pointed bill and deeply forked tail, which is easily visible in flight. The male will be bright yellow with a white belly and yellowy-green back, while the female has more muted colours and shows more streaks.

What do they eat?

A lover of nuts and seeds, the Siskin will visit your peanut feeders, especially in the winter months.

Where do they nest?

The Siskin’s nest will be found high in a coniferous tree on the fork of a branch.

Petmania Siskin 1

What does a Starling look like?

As they get older, the Starling will change from a greyish hue to a darker brown colour. In summer their feathers will be glossy with a green and purple sheen. Their bill is yellow. They will often be seen in large flocks, especially in the winter months.

What do they eat?

The Starling will eat lots of different food including invertebrates, fruits, cereals and seeds.

Where do they nest?

Starlings will find a nesting spot in holes or crevices in buildings and trees.

What does a Wren look like?

The Wren is one of our smallest birds, with a small round body and a tiny yet distinctive cocked tail are distinctive. Their upper-parts are a red-brown colour while their underside will be paler, sometimes grey.

What do they eat?

The wren will eat small insects and their larvae.

Where do they nest?

Home for the Wren is in spherical ball of moss with a small entrance in the side – positioned in dense cover such as ivy or tangled vegetation to disguise their nest.

Petmania Wren 2
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