Phalacrocorax carbo

The Cormorant is a large, long-necked diving bird, often incorrectly called a 'diver'. It feeds by plunging from the water surface and catching fish, which it swallows on the surface. It is well known for its habit of stretching out its wings to dry while standing at its roost.

The plumage is glossy black and in summer the adult has white patches on the face and flanks. The immature birds are much browner than the adults and are pale on the entire underparts. Cormorants nest in colonies on rocky coastal islands and headlands and also in trees alongside some inland lakes.

Mute Swan
Cygnus olor
Eala bhalbh

The Mute Swan needs little description, its beauty having captivated man for centuries. The puffed-out back feathers and gracefully curved neck are well-known features of this bird. The bill is orange and has a black knob at the base. In flight the wings make a tuneful 'wheezing' sound but, as its name suggests, it is more or less vocally silent.

The nest is a massive affair, often in an inaccessible spot in a reedbed or along a river. The cygnets are greyish and have an endearing appearance. The adults are less 'innocent', with aggressive tendencies, sometimes feeding on young birds as well as their more staple diet of aquatic plants.

Great-crested Grebe
Podiceps cristatus
Foitheach mór

The Great-crested Grebe both breeds and winters in Ireland. The breeding habitat is usually in a lake and the majority spend the winter on estuaries or other inshore waters at the coast.

A medium-sized bird with a long neck, this grebe has a strikingly beautiful summer plumage. Both male and female have unusual and elaborate head plumage used in nuptial display. In winter the plumage is dark grey above, white below, on the front of the neck, face and above the eye - a 'ghostly' looking bird. In the rather laboured flight the wings show clear white patches.