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Location United Kingdom, Northern Ireland
Central coordinates 5o 26.64' West  54o 27.20' North
IBA criteria A4i, B1i, C3, C6
Area 1,403 ha
Altitude 0 - 30m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Site description This site covers a section of the flat, east-facing shoreline of the Irish Sea, and contains rocky outcrops, a number of islands and long sandy beaches. The site is important for wintering waders and geese, wintering and breeding Phalacrocorax carbo and breeding terns. Most 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 winter  2001-2006  681 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Eurasian Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria winter  2001-2006  1,260 individuals  good  C6  Least Concern 
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres winter  2001-2006  1,073 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

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

Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Branta bernicla Brent Goose 245 681 individuals 100 favourable
Pluvialis apricaria Eurasian Golden Plover 1690 1260 individuals 75 near favourable
Charadrius hiaticula Common Ringed Plover 545 255 individuals 47 unfavourable
Arenaria interpres Ruddy Turnstone 1240 1073 individuals 87 near 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(50-90%) covered (including the most critical parts for important bird species)  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  Very little or no conservation action taking place  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Outer Ards Area of Special Scientific Interest 1,116 protected area overlaps with site 1,093  
Strangford Lough Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty 0 protected area overlaps with site 278  
Strangford Lough Marine Nature Reserve 16,489 protected area overlaps with site 141  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Sand dunes and beaches  -
Sea Open Sea  -
Coastline Rock stacks and islets; Sea cliffs and rocky shores  -

Land use

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

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Outer Ards. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016

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