IN ANIMALS ON 21ST APR 2020

Birds of the Lake at Fota Wildlife Park

Mallard Duck

One of the most widespread of the species of duck in Ireland, the Mallard duck is often seen on the banks and in the waters of the lake at Fota Wildlife Park. The males, known as drakes, are beautifully coloured with striking green head, yellow bill and a white ring around the neck. The females are patterned brown with a dark stripe across the eye and whitish tail sides. Mallard ducklings can swim and feed for themselves as soon as they hatch although they stay near the female for protection.

They are omnivorous, so they eat plant materials such as seeds as well as molluscs and crustaceans.

Mallards occur in most of the wetland habitats in Ireland and they nest on ground hidden by vegetation.

Greylag Goose

One of the largest in size of the geese, this gregarious species over-winters in Ireland (and Scotland) from Iceland however many feral geese live in Ireland year-round. They are recognised by their dark-grey plumage, pink legs and feet and pink and orange on their bills.
Their diet is mostly herbivorous and feed on rushes, cereal stubble and in grasslands.

These birds are known to occur at seven main locations in Ireland with flock size often exceeding 3,000 individuals. They occur in mostly coastal sites and are often found by lakes, estuaries and reservoirs where they nest in pairs in the long rushes and vegetation – however the prevalence of arable farming has meant they are now often seen grazing in fields in winter.

Barnacle Goose

With distinct black and white plumage this medium-sized goose is a visitor to our shores from Greenland, overwintering in Ireland between October and April.
It feeds mostly on grasses and sedges on the tundra or in coastal pastures.
It breeds in Greenland, Siberia and in Arctic semi-desert tundra – with nests built high on rocky outcrops near wetlands such as lakes, rivers, marshes to evade predators. In Ireland, the population is mostly concentrated along the Northwest and West coastline.

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