Cuilcagh Mountain RAMSAR

Protected area type: Ramsar Sites
Feature type: 
  • Habitat
  • Fermanagh
Council: Fermanagh and Omagh
Guidance and literature: Cuilcagh Mountain RAMSAR

Cuilcagh Mountain is situated in Fermanagh in the west of Northern Ireland along the international border with the Irish Republic. It is one of the largest expanses of blanket bog in Northern Ireland formed on a relatively high elevation upland landscape. It is bounded by limestone grassland to the north and montane habitats to the south. The extensive blanket bog, which covers most of the site exhibits the full range of characteristic vegetation and structural features associated with this type of habitat.

The site qualifies under criterion 1a of the Ramsar Convention by being a particularly good representative example of blanket bog. The blanket bog exhibits a wide range of characteristic vegetation and structural features, with locally well developed pool, hummock and lawn features, acid flushes and bog bursts. The bog vegetation is locally characterised by luxuriant Sphagnum mosses but over most of the site dwarf-shrubs and graminoid species dominate, with the strong oceanic influence indicated by the constancy and the frequency of the moss Campylopus atrovirens and the liverwort Pleurozia purpurea.

Cuilcagh also qualifies under criterion 2a of the Ramsar Convention by supporting an appreciable assemblage of rare, vulnerable or endangered species. It is a notable area for its bird populations which include the golden plover and merlin, both Irish Red Data Book species. The bog is also occasionally used for feeding by Greenland white-fronted geese.

This site also supports some notable species of aquatic invertebrates. These include several alpine species such as the water beetle Dytiscus lapponicus and the water boatman Glaenocorisa propinqua. Higher plants include dwarf willow, starry saxifrage, stiff sedge, green spleenwort, Tunbridge filmy fern, Alpine clubmoss and stagshorn clubmoss. Bryophytes include the mosses Dicranodontium asperulum and Dicranum scottianum, and the liverworts Herbertus aduncus ssp. hutchinsiae, Bazzania tricrenata, Anastrepta orcadensis, Marsupela sphacelata and Gymnomitrion crenulatum.

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