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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   

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  


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 on 22/10/2014

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