Birds that may be seen in County Mayo during the various months of the year.

Some birds are special to County Mayo, for example
  • Chough can be seen in coastal areas pecking in the Machair and nesting in ruined castles. Look out for them on the Mullet Peninsula, around Clew Bay and on Achill Island.
  • Twite can usually be seen on the Mullet Peninsula near Termoncarragh or Erris Head.
  • Barnacle Geese fly daily from the Inishkea Islands to the Mullet Peninsula each winter.
  • Corncrake can usually be heard on the Mullet Peninsula, or near Roonagh Quay, west of Louisburgh.

Birds to Look Out For During the Year

Month Birds you should see this month, include:
January Gulls: Black-headed, Common, Herring, Lesser Blacked-backed, Great -black Backed, with the more unusual gulls including Glaucous Gull and Iceland Gull.
Waders: Purple Sandpiper can be often found with Turnstone.
Unusual Ducks to look out for include: Ring-necked Duck, Green-winged Teal, Smew, Goosander, Slavonian Grebe, aka Horned Grebe, (Broadhaven Bays).
Twite near Termoncarragh (Mullet Peninsula).
On the bird table look out for over-wintering Blackcap.

February Winter birds remain around the County, e.g. ducks, geese, Whooper Swans.
Flooded turloughs (e.g. East of Ballinrobe) may contain large numbers of swans, waders and ducks.
Unusual winter gulls continue to be seen.
Ravens can be heard calling.
Rooks begin buidling nests in high trees.

March Start of the arrival of Spring Migrants, look out for the first Wheatear, Blackcaps and Sand Martins.
A Snowy Owl has been seen this month over the past years in Blacksod on the Mullet.
Still to be seen: Gulls such as Iceland Gull; Whooper Swans and Barnacle Geese, Greylag Geese and Brent Geese.
Song Thrush.
Rodding of Woodcock at night time.
Rafts of Great Norther Diver, Slavonian grebe may be seen at Blacksod Bay, on the Mullet.

April More spring migrants arrive, e.g. Sandwich Tern, Chiffchaff, Willow warbler, Swallow, Grasshopper warbler
A few early Corncrake arrive late in the month competing with the noisy Cuckoos, which usually arrive mid month.
Late April arrivals usually include House Martin, Swift and Whitethroat.
Note the departure of Whooper Swan from lakes and Light-bellied Brent from shores.
Rafts of divers off shore - Great Northern Diver, Red-throated Diver.
Unusual Waders: Long-billed Dowitcher.

May The main arrival of the Corncrake occurs this month in many areas of Mayo, espcially on the Mullet and near Roonagh Quay, west of Louisburgh.
Other spring migrants arrive early this month, Sedge Warbler and Spotted Flyatcher.
Twite at Erris Head, on the Mullet.
Whimbrel can be heard and seen on passage migration at most coastal sites as they head north, along with at the great lakes (Lough Mask, Conn etc.).
The dawn chorus get into full swing - take an early morning stroll in any of the woodlands, e.g. Brackloon near Westport, Tournakeady, Drummin near Pontoon.

June Corncrakes can be heard calling at night in their various breeding sites in the county.
Snipe can also be heard drumming.
Woodlands provide good bird song including the various summer - visiting warblers.
Crossbills can often be found.
Ringed-billed Gull may be seen on the lakes, e.g. Lough Mask.


July Corncrake may still be heard early this month.
Unusual gulls could include sightings of Ring-billed and Mediterranean Gulls.
Barn Owls hunting at night.
Large numbers of Storm and Leach's Petrel off-shore.
Terns can be seen fishing in lakes and along the shore.
Ospreys may also be seen fishing in large lakes, e.g. Lough Conn and Cullin.
Pomarine Skuas can be seen off the headlands.

August Start of the passage of migrants. Visit one of the headlands to see this incredible sight as hundreds (or thousands) of birds pass by the coast of Co Mayo.
Petrels (Storm, Leach's, Wilson's, Fea's-Type), Max, Cory's and Great Shearwaters, Sabine Gull, Pomarine Skua.
Later in the month - American waders may be seen: Sandpipers (Pectoral, Semipalmated, Buff-Breased). American Golden Plover, Long-billed Dowitcher.
Pied Flycatcher

September The continuation of the autumn Passage of Migration - best viewed form Kilcummin Head, Downpatrick Head, Erris Head and Annagh Head.
Look out for Shearwaters (Manx, Sooty, Great, Cory's, Balaeric, Little), Leach's Petrels, Skuas (Long-tailed and Arctic), Grey Phalarope, Sabine's Gulls.
In Late September: Grey Phalarope (a Red-Phalarope in winter plumage).
Unusual sandpipers: Baird's Semipalmated, White-rumped, Pectoral.
Waders: Long-Billed Dowitcher, Lesser Yellowlegs, Little Stint, Curlew, Sandpiper.
Snowy Owl has been seen in the autumn near Blacksod on the Mullet Peninsula for several years
Marsh Harriers, Osprey may be spotted.
The arrival of wintering birds, such as ducks and geese, begins late in the month, unusual geese include Cackling / Canada and Snow Bunting.


October Passage migration continues early in the month - look for Leach's Petrel and Grey Phalarope.
Build up of Whooper Swans continues, along with increasing numbers of ducks and geese.
Siskins begin to visit the bird feeders.
American Waders may be seen. Look for Pectoral, Baird's, Buff-breasted Sandpipers.
Other unusual waders include: Little Stint, American Golden Plover, Ruff may also be seen on the coast
along with American Wigeon.
Scarce birds that have be seen on the Mullet Peninsula this month include Yellow-browed Warbler, Arctic Redpoll, Blyth's Reed Warbler, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Firecrest, Lapland Bunting, Snow Bunnting and Red-eyed Vireo.
There is usually a build up of Common Scoter in Broadhaven Bay.
Gulls include Glaucous and Iceland.
Winter Thrushes (Redwing, Fieldfare), can be heard overhead as they arrive.
Most  of the Swallows will have now departed.

November Keep an eye on the turloughs throughout the county as they can produce suprising numbers of swans, ducks and waders.
Look out for Whooper Swan, Golden Plover, Greylag Geese, American Plover among the flocks of wintering wildfowl and waders.
Waxwing flocks may visit gardens where they eat the berries of the cotoneaster.
Gull numbers increase around the coast, including the white winged Glaucous and Iceland Gulls.
Ring-necked Duck in lakes such as Carrowmore and Lough Doogan can be seen.
Build up of the wintering thrushes, Redwing and Fieldfare and they move in groups searching for food.

December Brambling may be mixed in with flocks of Chaffinches.
Unusual ducks such as Ring-necked, can be seen on various lakes, such as Carrowmore Lake near Bangor, and Lough Doogan near Newport, along with other dabbling and diving ducks.
Slavonian Grebe in Blacksod Bay on the Mullet Peninsula.
Lapland Bunting skulking near the coast.
Iceland Gull, the smaller of the white winged gulls, can turn up anywhere.
Red-breasted Merganser, a diving sea duck, can be seen just off shore.