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Lough Neagh Special Protection Area

Last updated: 24 March 2010

Area: 41,188 hectares

Grid Reference: J 030700

Date Classified: 01/04/99

aerial picture of Lough Neagh in winter

Situated in the centre of Northern Ireland, Lough Neagh is the largest lake in the British Isles.
The Special Protection Area includes three eutrophic water bodies, Lough Neagh and two related loughs, Lough Beg and Portmore Lough, together with surrounding swamp, fen, wet grassland and swampy woodland.

The boundary of the proposed Special Protection Area follows the boundaries of the Lough Neagh ASSI, Lough Beg ASSI and Portmore Lough ASSI.

The site also forms part of another site which is listed as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention Site map (.PDF 1.21Mb)Opens in New window.


Picture of Bewick's SwanUnder Article 4.1 of EC Directive 79/409, it further qualifies by regularly supporting internationally important numbers of wintering Bewick's and whooper swans and also under Article 4.1 by regularly supporting nationally important numbers of breeding common tern.

Finally, under Article 4.2 of the Directive it qualifies as a wetland of international importance by regularly supporting over 20,000 of a variety of  species of waterfowl in winter.

Pochard, tufted duck, goldeneye, little grebe, great crested grebe, cormorant, mute swan, greylag goose, shelduck, wigeon, gadwall, teal, mallard, shoveler, scaup, and coot Citation document (.PDF 50.13Kb)Opens in New window.

Lough Neagh is also notable for supporting an important assemblage of breeding birds, some species which occur in nationally important numbers - great-crested grebe, gadwall, pochard, tufted duck, snipe , redshank common gull , lesser black-backed gull and black-headed gull.

Other important breeding wetland species include shelduck, teal, shoveler, lapwing and curlew.

For the most recent water bird species informationOpens in New window and also seabird speciesOpens in New window.