Birdlife in Newbridge

Birdlife in Newbridge & Beyond

Newbridge is a haven for wild birds, many species can be observed in the Liffey Linear Park, along the hedgerows as you approach the town, or indeed in the nearby Curragh Plains, Pollardstown Fen or Roseberry / Moulds Bog.

Common bird species observed are:

Barn Owl Scréachóg Reilige:
Somewhat scarce, rarely seen during the day most active late at night. Feeds on small mammals resident in ruined buildings.

Blackbird / Londubh:
Probably the most common visitor to your garden, and one of the birds easily distinguishable in the dawn chorus. A member of the wider thrush family, the male is black, whereas the female is brown in colour;

Blue Tit / Meantán gorm:
With its crown coloured blue, and surrounded by a halo of white, and it’s under parts bright yellow, the Blue Tit is a most colourful bird. They thrive in woodland, hedgerows, and can be often seen in gardens. They thrive on caterpillars and such insects;

Chaffinch / Bricín beatha:
One of the most commonly seen birds in Ireland, populating hedgerows and woodlands. The male has a brownish / pinkish breast, blue / grey head, whereas the hen is olive green;

Cuckoo / Cuach:
Probably the bird most recognised for its “coo-coo” call, the Cuckoo arrives in late April from Africa, the cuckoo is still quite commonly seen (or heard) during the summer months;

Dipper / Gabha dubh:
The dipper frequently perches on some of the lower rocks in rivers, and “dips” into the water from time to time upturning stones to feed on the insects found there. The dipper is predominantly black and brown in colour, and has a white throat;

Goldfinch/ Lasair choille:
A common garden bird, brightly-coloured finch feeds mostly on seeds.

Greenfinch / Glasán darach:
The Greenfinch is commonly seen in parks or domestic gardens, and will feed at bird tables where they are provided. The male is olive green and yellowish green in colour, whilst the hen is greyer and less yellow than the male;

Grey Heron / Corr éisc:
Also known as the Crane the Grey Heron is a regular feature along the Liffey Linear Park in Newbridge. Standing patiently waiting to catch a fish, the heron is unmistakeable with its long narrow legs, grey and white body, long neck and long yellow bill;

Grey Wagtail / Glasóg liath:
The wagtail / grey wagtail has a grey or dark upper body, however the under parts are bright yellow during the summer, with the exception of the throat which is black. They generally nest in the vicinity of bridges;

Hooded Crow / Feannóg:
The Hooded Crow is easily distinguishable from other crows as it has a significant amount of grey plumage on its upper and lower body. They are scavengers generally feeding on carrion, bird’s eggs;

House Martin / Gabhlán binne:
Rarely seen on the ground, the house martin is a common sight around urban areas feeding on insects;

House Sparrow / Geal bhán binne:
The House Sparrow is also fairly widespread, nesting in bird boxes, and takes over other nests by evicting swallows and house martins from their nests. Males have a grey crown, chestnut coloured nape and a black throat, and females are predominantly brown with streaks across their back. The Sparrow can become very tame;

Jackdaw / Cág:
Feeding mainly on insects, Jackdaws, part of the Crow family, are quite gregarious and often form into small flocks. They nest in chimney pots, and in holes in trees;

Kingfisher / Cruidín:
A regular sight in the Liffey Linear Park, this brightly coloured bird can be glimpsed while flying at speed very low along the top of the river. If you are lucky you might spot it on an overhanging branch just as it dives into the water in search of small fish;

Magpie / Snag breac:
The Magpie is probably one of the most recognisable birds, with its contrasting black and white plumage, and its ever so long tail. They are also noisy birds, and are commonly seen in an urban environment;

Mallard / Mallard:
One of Irelands most widespread duck species, mallards are seen at some times during the breeding season every year;

Peregrine Falcon / Fabhcún gorm:
Widely seen this bird of prey feeds mainly on birds caught in the air.

Raven / Fiach dubh:
A member of the extended Crow family, commences breeding by late February, and can become very aggressive if approached;

Robin / Spideog:
The Robin is probably one of the easiest recognised birds, inhabiting as it does many domestic gardens, hedgerows and woodlands. The Robin is olive brown, white and has a bright orange forehead, throat and breast. Robins are very territorial, and they exist on a diet of earthworms, beetles and insects. They nest towards the bottom of hedgerows, and have a melodious song;

Rook / Préachán dubh:
The Rook coloured black, with a grey coloured bill, generally make their nests high in trees such as elms and Scots pine. The rookery, usually consisting of 40 pairs is a highly sociable area, with the loud calls of the birds very much in evidence;

Sand Martin / Gabhlán gainmhe:
Smaller than the house martin, during the summer months the sand martin can often be seen feeding on insects and flies generally in small groups flying low over the water;

Snipe / Naoscach:
Snipe like marshy areas such as Pollardstown Fen. Predominately brown in colour with a speckled breast;

Song Thrush / Smólach ceoil:
The thrush or song thrush is brown backed, with a distinctive spotted chest. When on the ground it feeds on earthworms or snails, and its song is loud and easily recognisable;

Starling / Druid:
The Starling is widespread throughout the county, nesting in roofs, wall crevices, or in holes in tree trunks. They are noisy birds with the adults having a speckled appearance with purple, green, blue and black plumage;

Swallow / Fáinleog:
With its long tails streaming behind, the Swallow is easily recognisable from the ground as it flies in a swooping motion, and is inclined to nest around buildings. They survive on airborne insects suck as horseflies and bluebottles. The arrival of the Swallow usually signifies the arrival of spring;

Swans / Eala:
The Mute Swan / Eala bhalbh and the Whooper Swan / Eala ghlórach. While swans are predominately white, the whooper swan has an orange coloured bill with a black base, with a large “knob” on its forehead. The whooper swan has a yellow bill with a black tip, and is without the distinctive “knob” evident on the Mute Swan;

Teal / Praslacha:
Pollardstown Fen has considerable numbers of Teal, a small duck preferring small moor-land / boggy areas to breed;

Woodpigeon / Colm coille:
More commonly gathered near areas where cereal crops are planted, the woodpigeon is a fairly common site in the countryside, they feed mostly on cereals, clover etc.

Wren / An Dreoilín:
The Wren is one of Ireland’s smallest wild birds, coloured russet brown, with a stripe over the eye, the Wren is often found in shrubberies, and bushes. The male builds a number of nests annually, and the female will choose which nest she will use for laying eggs;

Further Reading
We have drawn on numerous sources to compile the above information, and for those of you who wish to obtain more comprehensive information and photographs, the following books are excellent reference resources:

The Collins “Guide to Irish Birds” by David Cabot (ISBN 000 220023 6) is an excellent reference to the bird species commonly found in Ireland, and should be available from local bookstores or the County Library.

The Collins “Complete Irish Wildlife” by Paul Sterry (ISBN 000 717629 5) with an introduction by Derek Mooney is also an excellent guide to mammals, birdlife, amphibians, fish, flowers, trees etc. and well worth reading.

The  Birdwatch Ireland Website is an excellent source of information on birds in Ireland.


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