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Location United Kingdom, Northern Ireland
Central coordinates 6o 26.74' West  54o 35.07' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2, B3, C2, C3, C4, C6
Area 50,673 ha
Altitude 0 - 20m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds



Site description Shallow water-bodies with associated damp grassland, reedbed (Phragmites), islands, fen and pasture. Lough Neagh is the largest UK freshwater lake, with water-levels subject to erratic, artificial change. The IBA is important for wintering wildfowl and summer assemblages of moulting waterfowl.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus passage  2001-2006  672 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C2  Least Concern 
Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus winter  2001-2006  1,464 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, B3, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Common Pochard Aythya ferina winter  2001-2006  9,621 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Greater Scaup Aythya marila winter  2001-2006  3,920 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, B2, C3  Least Concern 
Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula winter  2001-2006  5,217 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Eurasian Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria winter  2001-2006  5,427 individuals  good  C6  Least Concern 
Common Tern Sterna hirundo breeding  2000  93 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  2001-2006  26,587 individuals  good  A4iii, C4   
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  2001-2006  60,382 individuals  good  A4iii, C4   

IBA Monitoring

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

Agricultural expansion and intensification marine and freshwater aquaculture - industrial aquaculture happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Energy production and mining mining and quarrying happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - small dams 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%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
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 agricultural & forestry effluents - nutrient loads happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution domestic & urban waste water - type unknown/unrecorded happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Cygnus cygnus Whooper Swan 1070 1464 individuals 100 favourable
Cygnus columbianus Tundra Swan 225 7 individuals 4 very unfavourable
Aythya ferina Common Pochard 28900 9621 individuals 34 very unfavourable
Aythya fuligula Tufted Duck 21800 9847 individuals 46 unfavourable
Aythya marila Greater Scaup 3300 3920 individuals 100 favourable
Bucephala clangula Common Goldeneye 11500 5217 individuals 46 unfavourable
Pluvialis apricaria Eurasian Golden Plover 5550 5427 individuals 98 favourable
Sterna hirundo Common Tern 115 93 breeding pairs 81 near favourable
Species group - waterbirds A4iii 100903 60382 individuals 60 unfavourable

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 Neagh Area of Special Scientific Interest 39,495 protected area contained by site 39,777  
Lough Neagh and Lough Beg Birds Directive 41,188 protected area contained by site 41,188  
Lough Neagh and Lough Beg Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 50,166 protected area contained by site 50,166  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Scrub  -
Grassland Humid grasslands; Mesophile grasslands  -
Wetlands (inland) Fens, transition mires and springs; Standing freshwater; Water fringe vegetation  -

Land use

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

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lough Neagh and Lough Beg. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 22/12/2014

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