Bird Watching

The Cliffs of Moher are home to one of the major colonies of cliff nesting seabirds in Ireland. The area was designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA) for Birds under the EU Birds Directive in 1986 and as a Refuge for Fauna in 1988. Included within the designated site are the cliffs, the cliff-top maritime grassland and heath, and a 200 metre zone of open water, directly in front of the cliffs to protect part of the birds’ feeding area. The designation covers 200 hectares and highlights the area’s importance for wildlife. Details of the SPA including a map can be downloaded here.

The Cliffs of Moher is ideal for bird watching, it is home to Ireland’s largest mainland seabird nesting colony, with 20 species of nesting birds, including 9 species of breeding seabirds, and up to 30,000 breeding pairs.

Seabirds such as Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills, Choughs and Kittiwakes can be seen here. Puffins; the clown of the sea, which nest on Goat Island, a grassy island viewable from the south Viewing Platform to the left. The Puffins arrive from the mid Atlantic in April and return there at the end of July. The best time to see them is early morning, as they go out to sea fishing in the afternoon. The Guillemots and Razorbills can be seen on the flat stone at the foot of the Brandán Mór sea stack. Fulmars nest on the ledges nearer the top of the cliffs, Kittiwakes on the ledges of the stack and the Cliff edge. A pair of Peregrine Falcons, the fastest creature on the planet, nest below the tower and can be seen protecting their territory. A pair of Choughs, a rare species known as the Celtic Crow, nests below the sandstone ledge and are frequent visitors to the viewing areas. We also have a lot of cheeky crows that try and pull litter out of the bins so make sure you place your rubbish well down so they don’t get at it.

Bring a pair of binoculars with you on your visit to the Cliffs for a spot of bird watching, or ask a Ranger stationed along the Cliff edge. Bird identification cards are available in the Visitor Centre.

To see more about some of the birds you might see when you are here please view Birds page.

The Cliffs of Moher is delighted to hold the first Seabirds Festival which takes place 9th- 14th May 2015.r

Come and enjoy a family friendly series of activities and events celebrating our feathery friends at the Cliffs of Moher including the delicate Kittiwake, the dapper Guillemot, soaring Fulmars, the sharp beaked Razorbill and everyone’s favourite the comical Puffin with his colourful beak and eccentric walk.

Speak to BirdWatch Ireland Experts, learn new skills, enjoy Seabird Musical Sessions in the neighbouring village of Doolin, plus lots of daily bird themed fun and games. It promises to be salty spectacle of seabird shenanigans!

Due to the popularity of the Cliffs of Moher as a tourist attraction the visitor centre and site can become crowded during the peak times of the day 11am – 4pm, during the months May to September, and at weekends school and bank holidays at other times.  The visitor centre has extended opening hours from March to October and it is advisable that if you are travelling to the Cliffs by car or public transport that you do so outside of these times for your maximum comfort and enjoyment of your visit. The Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre is open until 9pm in July and August.  See Visitor centre Opening Hours for the details for other months.