Location | Cork City
The Lough is a wildfowl preserve, particularly for swans, it has been a protected area since 1881 as a Public Wildlife Refuge and is one of Ireland’s oldest protected areas. It is a shallow spring-fed freshwater lake with an average depth of one metre.
The Lough hosts a wide variety of wildlife. It is an important habitat for a large bird population some of which are migratory.
The island functions as a refuge, roosting and breeding area for the numerous birds that call the Lough home. On autumn and winter nights they are joined by thousands of other birds which come from far and wide to take advantage of the safety of the island as a night time roost site.
Meet The Wildlife!
Swans are close relatives with geese and ducks. They live for approximately 20-30 years and are the largest members of the Waterfowl family.
The type of Swan that can be found at The Lough is called a Mute Swan, which is the elegant bird of Russian ballets and European fairy tales
A male swan is called a Cob, and a female swan is called a Pen. A baby swan is called a Cygnet.
Did You Know: A Swan has up to 25,000 feathers and can fly up to 95 Km/h!
Click below to hear what a Swan Call sounds like.
Male and female Mallard Ducks look very different most males have a green head of feathers where females are typically brown.
Male Mallards don't quack they produce two tone calls so if you hear a Quack its likely to be a female.
A male Mallard is called a Drake, and a female Mallard is called a Hen. A baby Mallard is called a Duckling.
Did you Know: When mallards migrate they fly up to 90 Km/h and at an average altitude of 10,000ft!
Click below to hear what a Mallard Ducks Call sounds like.
Introducing the Pochard Duck - one of the most fascinating waterfowl species around. These diving ducks are known for their unique characteristics, including their striking plumage and their ability to disappear underwater for long periods of time. Learn more about these amazing creatures and their calls here.
The Shoveler Duck is known for its distinctive long, broad bill, which it uses to filter water and mud for food. They are social birds and love to flock together in small groups.
The Muscovy Duck is a unique bird with a rich history. Originating in Central and South America, this duck is known for its distinct coloured beak and black plumage.
This is a rare bird to spot at the Lough so if you see it itll be special. Hear is call below.
The Tufted Duck is a striking water bird, with a distinguishing tuft of feathers on its head giving it a unique appearance. These birds are typically found diving for food in freshwater lakes and ponds throughout Eurasia and North America.
Hear its calling sound below.
The Peking Duck is a domesticated breed that has been selectively bred from the wild Pekin Duck. This ancestor, with its unmistakable appearance and versatile nature, has a rich history that spans centuries. Whether exploring the wilderness or admiring their domestic counterparts, these ducks are a true wonder of the natural world.
Hear its call below.
The Little egret is a small and elegant member of the heron family, living up to 22 years, the Little Egret can lay up to 3-5 eggs.
While hunting in the water, Little egrets may spread one or both of their wings to shade the water and to have a better view of the prey.
Little Egrets can be found all over the world from Australia through to Europe. Because the Little Egret is very strong and the bird is able to cover long distances during migrations, in Winter this bird will migrate to North Africa, but find its way back to Ireland in the Spring and Summer months.
Click below to hear what a Little Egret Call sounds like.
The Cattle Egret is a native African and southern Spanish species, this species prefer warmer climates so it would not be often that you will spot this bird.
The chances are you will see this bird on its migratory path following the warmer climates.
Like most birds Cattle Egrets feed by day and sleep by night.
Although it is common to find this bird in wetlands the preferred habitat is in fields with mammals such as Cows and horses, giving rise to the name 'Cattle Egret'.
Click below to hear what a Cattle Egret Call sounds like.
The Starling can live up to 23 years and is a very common bird to spot in Ireland.
Although native to Europe, Starlings migrate as far as Nepal! In the Autumn and Winter months you will see Starlings gather in flocks which can be very noisy. In Denmark Starling Flocks can get up to 1,000,000 in size!
Like most birds they like to eat insects. They are fast and can fly up to 80 km/h. When migrating Starlings can travel up to 1500 Km!
Starlings are known to mimic the cries of other birds which can be heard in their flock songs.
Click below to hear what a Starling Call sounds like.
The Western Jackdaw belongs to the Crow Family. Most of its feathers is a shiny black with a Dark Purple or Blue crown.
This bird can live up to 20 years and can be traced from North Western Africa through to the Middle East when not at home at The Lough.
A western Jackdaw lays between 4-5 eggs at a time and when hatched these babies are called 'Chicks'.
Did You Know: Western jackdaws are intelligent birds and can be trained to imitate human speech!
Click below to hear what a Western Jackdaw Call sounds like.
A Magpie is often known as a bird attracted to shiny things, and they are! They can live up to 22 years and can be found anywhere from Ireland to Japan.
Magpies are omnivorous birds. They eat young birds and eggs, small mammals, insects, acorns, grain, and other vegetable substances.
Did you know: The magpie is believed not only to be among the most intelligent of birds but among the most intelligent of all animals and are able to recognise themselves in the mirror which makes them one of only a few species to possess this capability.
Click below to hear what a Magpie Call sounds like.
The Common wood pigeon is a large member of the dove and pigeon family and can live up to 17 years.
The Pigeon can lay up to 2 eggs when hatched, the baby Pigeons are called 'Squabs'. Unlike most birds, both sexes of pigeons produce "milk" to feed their chicks.
The body feathers of pigeons have very dense, fluffy bases, are attached loosely into the skin, and drop out easily. This adaptation possibly serves as a predator avoidance mechanism as large numbers of feathers fall out in the attacker's mouth if the pigeon is snatched, helping the bird to escape.
Click below to hear what a Pigeon Call sounds like.