Although a comparatively high number of bird species have been recorded in Ireland, with over 450 species currently on the Irish list, our island biogeography means we have considerably fewer breeding birds than our nearest neighbours. Many birds are migratory and many are rare or unusual in Ireland, despite the fact that they are common residents across the Irish Sea in Britain.
The fact that Ireland has been an isolated Island for over 8,000 years means that several species, widespread in Britain and elsewhere in Europe, that do not move great distances are absent examples include: Tawny Owl, Willow Tit, Marsh Tit, Nuthatch and most woodpecker species. In addition, Ireland’s mild weather means resident birds have an advantage over visitors in terms of early breeding and choice of best habitats. Ireland has fewer habitat types than Britain and continental Europe, with fewer deciduous woodlands, Scots pine forests, heaths and high mountain ranges.