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Location Ireland, Midlands
Central coordinates 7o 24.00' West  53o 34.00' North
IBA criteria B1i, C3
Area 1,032 ha
Altitude 100 m
Year of IBA assessment 2000

BirdWatch Ireland

Site description Lough Owel is a large calcareous lake located north-west of Mullingar in County Westmeath. It is relatively shallow with a rocky, marl-covered bottom, and a rocky shoreline with patchy vegetation. Marsh and fen areas are present in the south-western and northern corners of the lake, and the surrounding farmland is used by geese Anser. Fishing, especially for trout, is popular at this site.

Key Biodiversity Anser albifrons flavirostris occurs in numbers of international importance; the birds also use Lough Ennell (site 140), Lough Iron-Glen Lough (site 135), Lough Derravaragh (site 138) and Garriskil bog (site 136). Other waterfowl species which winter in numbers of national importance are Anas clypeata (268 birds, 1996), Aythya fuligula (500 birds, 1995), Aythya ferina (500 birds, 1995), Bucephala clangula (195 birds, 1995) and Fulica atra (2,500 birds, 1996).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons winter  1996  408 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Lough Owel Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 1,032 protected area contained by site 1,032  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Fens, transition mires and springs; Standing freshwater; Water fringe vegetation  100%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture 100%

Protection status National None International High1,032 ha of IBA covered by Ramsar Site (Lough Owel, 1,032 ha). 1,032 ha of IBA covered by Special Protection Area (Lough Owel, 1,032 ha).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Lough Owel. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016

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