Geese, Swans & Ducks

Brant Goose (Branta bernicla)

Brant Goose (Pale-bellied) (Branta bernicla) . Photo: Seán Ronayne

Brant Goose is a common migratory species in Ireland, spending the winter months grazing along rocky shorelines or even urban grassy zones.

This species is often quite vocal, particularly when in groups, or in flight. It actively calls on nocturnal migration, and typically gives the same calls as those given during the day, which are best described as a guttural, gargling sound.

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor). Photo: Seán Ronayne

Mute Swan is Ireland’s largest bird and one of three wild species of swan to be found in the country. Black Swan also occurs but is an introduced non-native. Whooper and Bewick’s Swans can be found here in the winter, although the latter has become increasingly rare. Whooper Swan also breeds in very small numbers in the north of the country.

Despite the suggestion of the name, Mute Swan is in fact quite a vocal species with a number of vocalisations in its repertoire. Right now, we need to gather more recordings of this species, however we do have one vocalisation and it is one which is typically given by immatures of the species.

Recorded at Cuskinny Nature Reserve, in Cobh Co. Cork, the following audio contains sounds from an immature first-winter, which is still accompanying its parents. These birds regularly approach close, as they have become habituated to being fed by local residents. In this case, the 1st-W bird approached and uttered a soft “whuee – whuee -whuee – whuee” – a characteristic sound given by immatures of this species. In the same recording, it is also possible to hear some guttural sounding calls from the adults. These sound a little bit as if someone is blowing air to the roof of their mouth to dislodge something which has become trapped.

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

Male Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos). Photo: Seán Ronayne

Mallard is one of the most widespread, familiar birds in the world and so are its vocalisations. Did you know that males and females have different calls?

The characteristic series of quacks, often with a series of 5-10 notes, starts off with an emphasis on the first few notes, with the preceding notes losing momentum until they dissipate to nothing. This vocalisation is only given by females. Males give a raspy-sounding, much less conspicuous singular or series of “ra-ehp, ra-ehp, ra-ehp” calls:

This species account requires more recordings and will be updated as soon as possible.

Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)

Male (foreground) and female Eurasian Teal. Photo: Seán Ronayne

Eurasian Teal is Ireland’s smallest duck. It is a resident species, which is further supplemented by northern migrants in the winter. Like many duck species, males and females sound different.

Males have a soft melancholic “peep” which they utter frequently:

Females of the species quack, like a female Mallard, but higher in pitch:

Audio not yet attained – coming soon.