Corncrake & Hen Harrier

Information on the special birds of Mayo.

This section provides information on two special birds who have found suitable habitats in Mayo.

Skip to : Corncrake Hen Harrier

Corncrake (Crex crex)

Original information with thanks to Tim Gordon (October 2008).

The elusive Corncrake can be heard, although only rarely seen, calling from late April until early August, especially from mid-May to early July.

Calling is most often at night (between midnight and 3 am), although also occurs during the day. Sometimes, one may be seen breaking cover or perched on a rise to call.  They fly low and fast over a meadow, their legs trailing or outstretched just before disappearing on landing in the long grass.

Other bird calls can sometimes be mistaken as Corncrake, so If you think you have heard a Corncrake but are not sure, you may like to check out the following bird calls:

Sedge Warbler

Grasshopper Warbler



There are two places you are likely to hear them in Mayo:

The first is on the Mullet Peninsula, especially Carne Hill (near Erris FC soccer pitch), around Termoncarragh Lake (beside the graveyard and over the hill towards the ruin of Glebe House, where BWI own several meadows) and at the southern tip in and around the villages of Falmore and Surgeview.

The second place you are likely to hear them is in the southwest Mayo coastal area, west of Louisburgh, near Roonagh Quay (at the road junction near the post office at Aghany and at the Accony crossroads, 1km east of Aghany). Park near the pier and walk back up the road 100-200 metres.

If you hear a Corncrake, please report it. The sooner you report it, the sooner this vulnerable species can be protected. To report a Corncrake, please provide details of the time, date and exact location (OSI ref if possible) to the Corncrake LIFE Project, on (085) 8784648 or email

In 2021, at least 185 calling males were recorded throughout Ireland, essentially in Mayo, Connemara and Donegal.

Final Update – 2016

Total of 60 calling males in Mayo & Connemara:

Mullet Peninsula = 33

Connemara Islands = 17

SW Mayo including Inishturk = 4

Achill Island = 1

Connemara Mainland = 2

North Mayo Mainland = 3

Final Update – 2015

Total of 55 calling males in Mayo & Connemara:

Mullet Peninsula = 34

Connemara Isles = 13

SW Mayo including Inishturk = 8

Achill Island = 0

Connemara Mainland = 0

North Mayo Mainland = 0

Final Update for 2014

Total of 72 calling males in Mayo & Connemara:

Mullet Peninsula = 37

Connemara Isles = 25

SW Mayo incl Turk = 5

Achill Island = 1

Connemara Mainland = 3

North Mayo Mainland = 1

Final Update – July 2013

Total of 60 calling males in Mayo & Connemara:

N Mayo = 28

SW Mayo = 5

Connemara = 27

In 2011, 27 calling (male) Corncrakes were found in Mayo – 25 on the Mullet and 2 in SWMayo. Nationally there were 135 calling males.

2012 Corncrake Updates

2011 Corncrake Updates

2010 – Corncrake Updates

2009 – Corncrake Updates


Hen Harriers (Circus cyaneus)

Report by Barry O’Donoghue, NPWS

This report, from 2009, is 4 pages long and includes photographs. It is available in PDF (first file below) and Word (second file).