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Location United Kingdom, Northern Ireland
Central coordinates 5o 50.11' West  54o 40.07' North
IBA criteria A4iii, B1i, C3, C4
Area 6,029 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Site description A sea lough with an area of tidal mudflats reduced in size by development. The outer shores are mainly rocky with a few sandy bays. The IBA is important for wintering waders and wildfowl, with man-made lagoons in the Inner Harbour holding the main wader roost.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Common Redshank Tringa totanus passage  2001-2006  1,835 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Common Redshank Tringa totanus winter  2001-2006  1,655 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  2001-2006  20,090 individuals  good  A4iii, C4   
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  2001-2006  34,814 individuals  good  A4iii, C4   

IBA Monitoring

2007 medium unfavourable medium
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture marine and freshwater aquaculture - industrial aquaculture happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Natural system modifications other ecosystem modifications happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development commercial and industrial development likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Tringa totanus Common Redshank 2030 1835 individuals 91 favourable
Tringa totanus Common Redshank 2020 1655 individuals 82 near favourable
Arenaria interpres Ruddy Turnstone 715 438 individuals 62 unfavourable
Arenaria interpres Ruddy Turnstone 850 408 individuals 48 unfavourable
Species group - waterbirds A4iii 20773 34814 individuals 100 favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  medium 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Belfast Lough Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 432 protected area contained by site 432  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Coastal lagoons; Mud flats and sand flats; Sand dunes and beaches  -
Sea Sea inlets and coastal features  -
Coastline Sea cliffs and rocky shores  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -
urban/industrial/transport -
water management -

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Belfast Lough. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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