Ireland's Biodiversity Awareness Campaign


Species of the Month

Below is a list of our previous 'Species of the Month'

Common Yew Tree
Witches' Butter
Hen Harrier
Eurasian Otter
Harbour Porpoise
Butterfiles of Ireland
Barn Owl



Corncrake Traonach


May  Corncrake Traonach (Crexcrex)

The corncrake has a sandy brown plumage and stands at about 25-27cm. They eat a mixture of vegetation (weed and grasses seeds) and insects, including slugs and earthworms. They like to live in tall grasses, like in meadows and long grass pastureland and not as their name suggests in corn fields. The long grass or tall weeds are used as a nesting area due to the good coverage.

It is now rare to see a corncrake in our country side but in many parts of the country side the kerrx-kerrx call that the male makes to attract the female can be heard throughout the day and night.
They are only found in select areas around the country such as the Shannon Callows, western parts of Mayo and northern Donegal.

The Corncrake is a summer (May to September) visitor that flies over 10,000 km from South East Africa, to nest and breed in Ireland. It is a globally threatened bird and in Ireland is listed as an Endangered Species in Annex 1 of the Birds of Conservation Concern in Ireland list (BoCCI).
Poor farming practices and changes in traditionally methods have contributed to the steep decline of this bird in Ireland. Through initiatives such as the REPS scheme of which the Corncrake Project is run. It offers the Corncrake Grant Scheme as compensation for employing corncrake friendly farming techniques, such as leaving tall grass areas during the April to August period to provide nesting areas and cutting fields in a spiral from the centre out to give them a chance to escape without having to leave the cover of the tall grass.

For more information on the Corncrake see the  Birdwatch information sheet

©2007 Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government