email a friend
printable version
Location United Kingdom, Northern Ireland
Central coordinates 7o 7.56' West  55o 2.87' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2, C2, C3, C4, C6
Area 5,182 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds



Site description A large shallow estuary comprising extensive mudflats, shell ridges, mussel-beds, low-lying reclaimed farmland and limited areas of saltwater marsh. This is a cross-border IBA, with a minority of the site falling within the Republic of Ireland (IBA 004). The stated area of 21,803 ha refers to the whole site (on both sides of the border) but other data given here (habitats, land-uses, threats and birds) are specific to the UK side. The IBA is internationally important for wintering wildfowl and waders. Branta bernicla are from the Canadian/Greenland breeding population of the hrota subspecies.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Brent Goose Branta bernicla passage  2001-2006  2,210 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Brent Goose Branta bernicla winter  2001-2006  1,018 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus passage  2001-2006  846 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C2  Least Concern 
Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus winter  2001-2006  774 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C2  Least Concern 
Eurasian Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria passage  2001-2006  3,565 individuals  good  C6  Least Concern 
Eurasian Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria winter  2001-2006  5,630 individuals  good  C6  Least Concern 
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica passage  2001-2006  254 individuals  good  C6  Least Concern 
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica winter  2001-2006  1,644 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, B2, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata winter  2001-2006  2,119 individuals  good  B2  Near Threatened 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  2001-2006  27,411 individuals  good  A4iii, C4   
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  2001-2006  32,347 individuals  good  A4iii, C4   

IBA Monitoring

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

Agricultural expansion and intensification annual & perennial non-timber crops - agro-industry farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Agricultural expansion and intensification 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
Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species hunting & collecting terrestrial animals - intentional use (species being assessed is the target) happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution domestic & urban waste water - sewage happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution industrial & military effluents - type unknown/unrecorded happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Branta bernicla Brent Goose 3820 1018 individuals 27 very unfavourable
Cygnus cygnus Whooper Swan 785 774 individuals 99 favourable
Cygnus columbianus Tundra Swan 97 15 individuals 16 very unfavourable
Pluvialis apricaria Eurasian Golden Plover 2100 3565 individuals 100 favourable
Pluvialis apricaria Eurasian Golden Plover 5050 5630 individuals 100 favourable
Limosa lapponica Bar-tailed Godwit 2150 1644 individuals 77 near favourable
Limosa lapponica Bar-tailed Godwit 495 254 individuals 52 unfavourable
Numenius arquata Eurasian Curlew 1980 2119 individuals 100 favourable
Species group - waterbirds A4iii 35938 32347 individuals 91 favourable

Most of site (50-90%) covered (including the most critical parts for important bird species)  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Lough Foyle Area of Special Scientific Interest 2,006 protected area contained by site 2,006  
Lough Foyle Birds Directive 2,204 protected area contained by site 2,204  
Lough Foyle RSPB Reserve 929 protected area overlaps with site 884  
Lough Foyle Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 2,204 protected area contained by site 2,204  
Magilligan Area of Special Scientific Interest 1,058 protected area contained by site 1,069  
North Derry Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty 0 protected area overlaps with site 2,001  
River Foyle and Tributaries Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI) 0 protected area overlaps with site 285  
Roe Estuary National Nature Reserve 362 protected area contained by site 362  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Mud flats and sand flats; Rivers and streams; Salt marshes; Shingle or stony beaches; Tidal rivers and enclosed tidal waters; Water fringe vegetation  -
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land; Highly improved re-seeded landscapes  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
fisheries/aquaculture -
military -
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -
urban/industrial/transport -

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lough Foyle and River Foyle. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/12/2014

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife