Biodiversity/ Nature in Cork

Abstracts from Nature in the City, A Guide to Biodiversity in Cork City

VIEW the document here: Nature in the City

Did You Know?


·         Biodiversity is short for biological diversity. Biodiversity is the variety of living things on earth, from the smallest insect insect to the largest mammal and tree

·         Biodiversity is the basis of all life on earth, including human existence; it is our life support system. Ecosystems regulate climatic processes, breakdown waste, recycle nutrients, filter and purify water, buffer against flooding, maintain soil fertility, purify air and provide natural resources such as wood, textiles and of course food.

·         All agriculture and marine and freshwater resources depend fundamentally on biodiversity.


Cork Biodiversity:

·         Cork supports a wide range of plants and animals. Some are common species, some rare, some legally protected and some are seen as pests. The green spaces of the city provide havens for species more usually found in rural situations whilst the structures of the city, the walls and buildings, provide homes to specialist species, which specialise in living in cities.

·         Cities do however offer habitats to some plant species that are rare or absent in rural areas in the form of hard surfaces such as walls, and specialist species of this habitat find a home in the city.

View Kieran’s A Summer Stroll at the Lee Fields, Cork:

Some Species:

·         Six of Ireland’s ten species of bat occur in Cork City. Brown long-eared bats are also associated with trees and are found in more extensive ‘green’ areas such as cemeteries parks and large gardens.

·         Otters are quite common along the river lee through the city and people have been lucky enough to see them swimming in the river. The shoreline from Blackrock around Mahon to the Douglas Estuary also provides excellent otter habitat

·         Hedgehogs are present in larger gardens and parks, and can be quite common in suburban areas preferring places with both undergrowth in which to shelter and open areas rich in earthworms, slugs, snails, beetles and other invertebrates on which to feed.

·         In a typical year more than 100 species of bird will be seen in Cork City. Of these approximately 40 breed regularly in the city. The remainder are mainly passage migrants seen in spring and autumn including the thousands of waders that can be seen on the outskirts of the city at the Douglas Estuary and Lough Mahon.

·         Of the most spectacular birds that nests in Cork City is the Peregrine. This large and magnificent falcon has used a few sites in the city to nest and can be seen regularly in the skies above the city.

·         A number of fish species can be found in the River Lee within Cork City. Atlantic salmon, a species protected under the EU Habitats Directive, pass through, adults heading upstream to spawn, juveniles heading downstream to the open sea.

View Kieran’s Spring Aspirations, Japanese Gardens, Ballinlough, Cork:


Some Important Biodiversity Sites:

·         Fragments of marshland persist at the city’s margins, for example along the Lee Road to the west of the city and at Douglas Estuary, where coastal habitats are also found.

·         The Lough is an oval spring-fed limestone lake of six hectares lying in a shallow depression. Until the 1930s, the island consisted of unstable swampy land dominated by great reedmace. Commonly but inaccurately known as “bulrush”. The lough supports important winter populations of ducks, particularly shoeveler.

·         The Atlantic Pond is a breeding site for grey herons and these magnificent birds can be viewed easily from the Marina Road where it passes the pond. The Pond is also home to other waterbirds and mallard, Little Grebe and Little Egret. In the winter Tufted Duck, Pochard and many species of gull can also be seen.

·         Fitzgerald’s Park includes alot of mature coniferous trees, which are favoured by Coal Tits and Goldcrests, Moorhens and Mallards can be seen on the small ornamental pond and the park’s beautifully maintained flower beds play host to bees, hover flies, butterflies and other insects.

READ more here: Natural Heritage & Biodiversity – Cork City Council