Protected area type: Special Protection Areas
Feature type: 
  • Species
  • Marine
  • Londonderry
Council: Causeway Coast and Glens
Guidance and literature: Lough Foyle Special Protection Area

Lough Foyle is situated on the north coast of Northern Ireland immediately downstream and extending to the north-east of the city of Londonderry. The site is comprised of a large shallow sea lough which includes the estuaries of the rivers Foyle, Faughan and Roe. The site contains extensive intertidal areas of mudflats and sandflats, saltmarsh and associated brackish ditches.

The Special Protection Area includes the whole of Lough Foyle Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI) and the intertidal area of Magilligan ASSI in Lough Foyle extending south of Magilligan Point. The boundary of the Special Protection Area is entirely coincident with that of the Lough Foyle Ramsar site and it overlaps with Magilligan candidate Special Area of Conservation Site.

The site qualifies under Article 4.1 of EC Directive 79/409 on the Conservation of Wild Birds by regularly supporting, in winter, internationally important numbers of the following 3 species: whooper swan ; light-bellied brent goose and bar-tailed godwit.

The site also qualifies under Article 4.2 of the Directive by supporting over 20,000 migratory waterfowl. This total includes both the internationally important species listed above and the following waterfowl species which are nationally important in an all-Ireland context. Red-throated diver, great crested grebe, mute swan, Bewick's swan, greylag geese, shelduck, teal, mallard, wigeon, eider, red-breasted merganser, oystercatcher, golden plover, grey plover, lapwing, knot, dunlin, curlew, redshank and greenshank. Lough Foyle itself supports a small wintering population of Slavonian grebe. 

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