Where to Watch

Species List

Events

Reporting Sightings and the Cork Bird Report

Past Rare and Scarce

Links

Contact Us

Home

Vultures, Eagles, Kites Harriers and Buzzards et al Accipitridae (16)

(Banner Photo: Hen Harrier (above) by Michael John O'Mahony abd Black Kite (belwo) by Mark Carmody)

Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus
Rare passage migrant.
Two county records up to the end of 2013.

2000 Cape Clear, a juvenile on the 25th and 26th September.
1972 Cape Clear, One on the 23rd August.

Distribution: a widespread summer visitor to Europe, which constitutes >75% of its global breeding range. Breeds in small numbers in the UK. (Birdlife International)

Black Kite Milvus migrans
Rare passage migrant.
Four county records up to the end of 2013.

2012 Galley Head, one on the 1st May.
2011 Cobh, 7th April.
1991 Midleton, one on the 20th April.
1980 Garryvoe/Ballycotton area, one from the 20th April to the 30th May.

Distribution: The black kite is found through most of Africa, Europe and Asia (except for the Sahara, central China and the extreme north) and in parts of Indonesia, New Guinea and Australia. (Birdlife International)

Red Kite Milvus milvus
Rare migrant.
Possibly bred in the 18th century.

11 records involving 12 birds up to 2001 since the first county record at Ballycotton on the 9th November 1968..

2001 Ladysbridge, one on the 23rd September.
1998 Ballycotton, a male and female from the 25th January to the end of February. (ex scottish reintroduction scheme)
1997 Cape Clear Island, one on the 14th October. (ex scottish reintroduction scheme)
1993 Saleen, one on 12th December.
1992 Cape Clear Island, one on the 22nd September.
1991 Lisgoold, a juvenile form the 22nd to the 23rd November. (ex scottish reintroduction scheme)
1991 Garretstown, one on the 29th September.
1991 Cape Clear Island, one on the 19th April.
1975 Cape Clear Island, an adult from the 23rd to the 27th October.
1971 Cape Clear Island, a female on the 6th November.
1968 Ballycotton, one on the 9th November.

Distribution: endemic to the Western Palearctic, with the European population of 19,000-23,000 pairs encompassing 95% of its global breeding range1,17. It breeds from Spain and Portugal east through central Europe to Ukraine, north to southern Sweden, Latvia and the UK (890 pairs20), and south to southern Italy. Populations winter within the western breeding range, and formerly in isolated patches south and east to eastern Turkey. Its status as a breeding and wintering species in North Africa is now uncertain. A reintroduction programme is underway in Ireland, based in Wicklow and those birds have coloured wing tags. (Birdlife International)

White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla
Bred in the 18th and early-mid 19th Century (Ussher & Warren:129). All recent records relate to current Irish reintroduction programme.

Distribution: The species has its strongholds in Norway and Russia (which together hold >55% of the European population4, and important populations in south-west Greenland (to Denmark), Sweden, Poland and Germany. Smaller numbers breed in Iceland, United Kingdom, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, the former Yugoslav states, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Moldova, Greece, Turkey, Iran, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Mongolia, mainland China, and Japan. It formerly bred in Algeria and may still do so in Iraq. A reintroduction programme is underway in Ireland, based in Kerry and those birds have coloured wing tags. (Birdlife International)

Eurasian Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus
Rare vagrant.
One county record up to the end of 2013.

1843 Near Cork Harbour, immature, caught, spring, now at Trinity College, Dublin. Yarrell, 1845. This is the first Irish Record.

Distribution: a widespread but patchily distributed resident in southern Europe, which accounts for less than half of its global range. (Birdlife International)

Eurasian Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus
Former resident, recorded breeding in the county in the 19th century (Ussher & Warren:xxvi), now a very scarce annual passage migrant, mostly in spring and summer. Increasingly regular in summer, raising hopes that the species may breed in the future.

40 county records involving 38 birds up to the end of 1993 when the species was removed from the IRBC rarities list.

Analysis of these records show the following:

Birds were seen at the following locaitons: Ballycotton, Ballymacoda, Cape Clear Island. Cuskinny (Cobh), Garretstown, Inchydoney, Kilcolman NNR, Lough Beg, Sherkin Island, Tragumna, Unionhall, Youghal.

All records involved single birds and where age was give almost all were immature/female.

Birds were seen between April and November with May being the best month.

Distribution:a widespread breeder across much of Europe, which accounts for less than half of its global breeding range. (Birdlife Internatinoal)

Hen Harrier Circus cyaneus
Very scarce breeding species in the north of the county.
Regular in autumn and winter on the coast. Some evidence of passage migration in the autumn, though this may refer to local movements. Summer Distribution Winter Distribution

Montagu’s Harrier Circus pygargus
Rare spring migrant. Bred once.
Nine county records up to the end of 2013.

2012 Adult male, Mitchelstown, 14th May.
2011 Old Head of Kinsale, 2nd calender year bird, 7th May.
2006 Dursey Island, one 2nd Calendar year male on the 13th May.
2000 Dursey Island, a male on the 10th May.
1984 Ballycotton, a male on the 28th April.
1981 Cape Clear Island, a ringtail on the 24th October.
1973 Cape Clear Island, an immature on the 19th August.
1969 Cape Clear Island, an immature on the 1st November.
1957 Montagu's Harrier, two successful bred in the county (Hutchinson:87).

Distribution: a widespread but patchy breeding distribution in Europe, which constitutes >50% of its global breeding range. (Birdlife International)

Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus
Rare vagrant.
Three county records up to the end of 2013

2011 Power Head, juvenile female, 7th to 29th November.
2011 Power Head/Ballycotton, juvenile from 29th October to 16th November.
2011 Ballyvergan Marsh, Youghal, an immature bird at 22nd/23rd April. The first Irish record.

Distribution: Distribution and population Circus macrourus breeds primarily in the steppes of Asiatic Russia, Kazakhstan and north-west China. Small populations breed in Azerbaijan, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine. A minority winter in south-east and central Europe, north Africa and the Middle East but most migrate to the Afrotropics. (Birdlife International)

Goshawk Accipter gentilis
Former resident; Occasional records may refer to dispersive movements within the country, or occasional vagrancy. Status in the north Cork area uncertain, but there are some indications that the species may be breeding in very small numbers.

20 county records involving 21 birds up to the end of 2013.

2012 Adult female, The Gearagh, 15th November.
2009 Carrigaline, a pair on the 5th May.
2001 The Gearagh, a juvenile from the 6th to the 8th September.
1996 Dursey Island, a second-year female on the 3rd November.
1999 Galley Head, a female on the 27th August.
1993 Kilcolman NNR, an adult female from the 4th to the 11th February.
1992 Cape Clear Island, a male on the 19th September.
1991 near Mallow, an adult female on the 25th May.
1990 Cobh, an immature on the 24th October.
1990 Dursey Island, an adult male on the 26th September.
1988 Cape Clear Island, one on the 12th October.
1983 Cape Clear Island, one on the 31st October.
1979 Ballycotton, one on the 15th September.
1978 Inchydoney, one on the 29 th September.
1978 Crookhaven, one on the 1st October.
1978 Dungourney, one on the 29th January.
1976 Rostellan, an immature from the 7th to the 14th November.
1973 Brown Island (Cork Harbour), one on the 26th September.
1955 Rosscarbery, one on the 29th April.

In 1974 a Goshawk of the American race Accipiter g. atricapillus was seen on Cape Clear Island on the 5th October

Distribution: a widespread resident across most of Europe, which accounts for less than half of its global range. (Birdlife International)

Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
Breeding species. Seemingly common throughout the county. Summer Distribution Winter Distribution

Buzzard Buteo buteo
Previously rare, this species is slowly continuing its recolonisation of the county since it became extinct as a breeding species due to human persecution by the end of the 19th century and is now an uncommon though regular sight.

Summer Distribution 1981-84 Summer Distribution 2008-11 Winter Distribution

Only 13 county records up to 1993 when the species was removed from the IRBC rarities list. Since then sightings gradually increased and breeding was first proven in 2004. There was a mimimum of 78 pairs breeding in the county in 2011-2012 (Nagle et al, Irish Birds Vol. 10 No.1, 2014)

Rough-legged Buzzard Buteo lagopus lagopus
Rare Vagrant.
Three county records up to the end of 2013.

1980 Cape Clear Island, one on the 16th October.
1963 Cape Clear Island, one on the 13th October.
1906 Mitchelstown, one obtained (shot) on the 18th November.(Kennedy, Ruttledge & Scroope:103)

Distribution: a widespread breeder in Fennoscandia and northern Russia, with Europe accounting for less than a quarter of its global breeding range.(Birdlife International)

Great Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga
Rare vagrant.
One county record up to the end of 2013.

1845 Near Youghal, two of the nominate race, both shot in January after being present for several weeks, one immature now at National Museum, Dublin. R. Dairs, jun., Annals & Magazine of Natural History 16: 351. This is the first Irish record.

Distribution: occupies a fragmented range, breeding in Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Belarus, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, mainland China and Mongolia. Passage or wintering birds occur in small numbers over a vast area, including central and eastern Europe, north and east Africa, the Middle East, the Arabian peninsula, the Indian subcontinent and south and South-East Asia. Wintering birds have also been reported in Hong Kong (China). (Birdlife international)

Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos chrysaetos
Recorded in the 19th century (Ussher & Warren:129),

Recent reports of Golden Eagle from north Cork probably relate to juvenile.

Distribution: a widespread but discontinuous distribution across much of Europe, which accounts for less than a quarter of its global breeding range. A reintroduction programme is underway in Ireland, based in Donegal and those birds have coloured wing tags. (Birdlife International)

Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Scarce passage migrant, mostly in spring and autumn.

40 county records involving 38 individuals up to the end of 1999 when the species was removed from the IRBC rarities list. The first county records was of one (shot) on the 14th October 1848 at Lakelands. (Ussher & Warren:150)

Analysis of the records up to 1999 show the following:

Birds have been seen at the following locations: Araglen River (near Fermoy), Ballycotton, Ballymacoda, Bandon Park, Bantry
Blackwater (above Mallow), Bride river, Cape Clear Island, Carrigaline, Castlemartyr, Courtmacsharry Bay/Kilbrittain Creek, Courtmacsharry/Clonakilty, Dursey Island, Fota, Illen Estuary, Inchigeelagh, Inchydoney, Inchydoney/Kilkerran Lake
Kinsale Marsh, Knockadoon Head, Lakeland's, Lissagriffin, Lough Beg, Lough Hyne, Macroom, Marathon Gas Platform (off Cork Harbour), Midleton, Mourne Abbey, Old Dromore, Rosscarbery, Rostellan, Seven Heads, Sheep's Head, The Gearagh
Timoleague.

All records were of single birds. and birds have been seen all months except January, February, July and December.

Distribution: a widespread summer visitor to much of northern Europe (occurring only patchily farther south), which accounts for less than a quarter of its global breeding range. Breeds in the UK.(Birdlife International)