Database release:

For Special Protection Areas (SPA),
Proposed Sites for Community Importance (pSCI),
Sites of Community Importance (SCI) and
for Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)



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1.1 Type


1.2 Site code


1.3 Site name

Lough Corrib SPA

1.4 First Compilation date


1.5 Update date


1.6 Respondent:

Name/Organisation:National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

1.7 Site indication and designation / classification dates

Date site classified as SPA:1996-11
National legal reference of SPA designation No information provided


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2.1 Site-centre location [decimal degrees]:


2.2 Area [ha]


2.3 Marine area [%]


2.4 Sitelength [km] (optional):

No information provided

2.5 Administrative region code and name

NUTS level 2 code Region Name
IE01Border, Midland and Western

2.6 Biogeographical Region(s)

Atlantic (0.00 %)


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3.1 Habitat types present on the site and assessment for them

No habitat types are reported for the site

3.2 Species referred to in Article 4 of Directive 2009/147/EC and listed in Annex II of Directive 92/43/EEC and site evaluation for them

Species Population in the site Site assessment
G Code Scientific Name S NP T Size Unit Cat. D.qual. A|B|C|D A|B|C
      MinMax  Pop.Con.Iso.Glo.
BA056Anas clypeata    90  90   
BA052Anas crecca    77  77   
BA050Anas penelope    528  528   
BA053Anas platyrhynchos    155  155   
BA051Anas strepera    48  48   
BA395Anser albifrons flavirostris    62  62   
BA059Aythya ferina    10182  10182   
BA061Aythya fuligula    5521  5521   
BA067Bucephala clangula    74  74   
BA038Cygnus cygnus    35  35   
BA125Fulica atra    14473  14473   
BA182Larus canus    181  181   
BA182Larus canus    48  48   
BA183Larus fuscus    51  51   
BA179Larus ridibundus    856  856   
BA179Larus ridibundus    197  197   
BA065Melanitta nigra    35  40   
BA160Numenius arquata    114  114   
BA017Phalacrocorax carbo    36  36   
BA140Pluvialis apricaria    1727  1727   
BA193Sterna hirundo    37  37   
BA194Sterna paradisaea    60  60   
BA142Vanellus vanellus    2424  2424   
  • Group: A = Amphibians, B = Birds, F = Fish, I = Invertebrates, M = Mammals, P = Plants, R = Reptiles
  • S: in case that the data on species are sensitive and therefore have to be blocked for any public access enter: yes
  • NP: in case that a species is no longer present in the site enter: x (optional)
  • Type: p = permanent, r = reproducing, c = concentration, w = wintering (for plant and non-migratory species use permanent)
  • Unit: i = individuals, p = pairs or other units according to the Standard list of population units and codes in accordance with Article 12 and 17 reporting (see reference portal)
  • Abundance categories (Cat.): C = common, R = rare, V = very rare, P = present - to fill if data are deficient (DD) or in addition to population size information
  • Data quality: G = 'Good' (e.g. based on surveys); M = 'Moderate' (e.g. based on partial data with some extrapolation); P = 'Poor' (e.g. rough estimation); VP = 'Very poor' (use this category only, if not even a rough estimation of the population size can be made, in this case the fields for population size can remain empty, but the field "Abundance categories" has to be filled in)

3.3 Other important species of flora and fauna (optional)


Population in the site


Group CODE Scientific Name S NP Size Unit Cat. Species Annex Other categories
     MinMax C|R|V|PIVVABCD
Cygnus olor    182  182             
Larus argentatus                     
Larus marinus    16  16             
  • Group: A = Amphibians, B = Birds, F = Fish, Fu = Fungi, I = Invertebrates, L = Lichens, M = Mammals, P = Plants, R = Reptiles
  • CODE: for Birds, Annex IV and V species the code as provided in the reference portal should be used in addition to the scientific name
  • S: in case that the data on species are sensitive and therefore have to be blocked for any public access enter: yes
  • NP: in case that a species is no longer present in the site enter: x (optional)
  • Unit: i = individuals, p = pairs or other units according to the standard list of population units and codes in accordance with Article 12 and 17 reporting, (see reference portal)
  • Cat.: Abundance categories: C = common, R = rare, V = very rare, P = present
  • Motivation categories: IV, V: Annex Species (Habitats Directive), A: National Red List data; B: Endemics; C: International Conventions; D: other reasons


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4.1 General site character

Habitat class % Cover

Total Habitat Cover


Other Site Characteristics

Lough Corrib is the largest lake in the Republic of Ireland. The lake can be divided into two parts: a relatively shallow basin, underlain by Carboniferous limestone, in the south and a larger, deeper basin, underlain by more acidic granite, schists, shales and sandstones, to the north. The main inflowing rivers are the Black, Clare, Dooghta, Cregg, Owenriff and the channel from Lough Mask. The main outflowing river is the Corrib, which reaches the sea at Galway City. Lough Corrib is classified as a mesotrophic system and overall water quality is considered to be satisfactory. The shallow, lime-rich waters of the southern basin of the lake support one of the most extensive beds of charophytes (Chara spp.) in Ireland, which occur mixed with submerged pondweeds (Potamogeton spp.). Large areas of reedswamp vegetation, dominated by varying mixtures of Phragmites australis and Scirpus lacustris, occur around the margins of the lake. Reedswamp usually grades into species-rich marsh vegetation. Of particular note are the extensive beds of Cladium mariscus that have developed over the marly peat deposits in sheltered bays. The lake has numerous islands, from rocky islets to larger islands with grassland or woodland. The surrounding lands are mostly pastoral farmland, to the south and east, and bog and heath, to the west and north. Lough Corrib is an internationally renowned salmonid fishery.

4.2 Quality and importance

The site is of international importance for wintering Aythya ferina but also qualifies for international importance because it regularly supports well in excess of 20,000 waterfowl. It is one of the top five sites in the country for wintering waterfowl. Of particular importance is that it is the most important site in the country for Aythya ferina, Aythya fuligula and Fulica atra supporting 21%, 46% and 13% of the respective national totals. It also has nationally important populations of wintering Cygnus olor, Anas strepera, Anas clypeata, Pluvialis apricaria and Vanellus vanellus. The lake is a traditional site for Anser albifrons flavirostris. Small numbers of Cygnus cygnus winter. Lough Corrib is a traditional breeding site for gulls and terns. There are nationally important colonies of Sterna hirundo and Sterna paradisaea, as well as Larus ridibundus and Larus canus. Considerable higher numbers of gulls bred in the 1970s and 1980s. Whilst only colonised in the 1970s/80s by nesting Melanitta nigra, Lough Corrib now supports approximately half of the national population of this rare duck, which is a Red Data Book species. The population has been stable since the mid 1990s. Lough Corrib supports a range of species listed on Annex II of the E.U. Habitats Directive, including Lutra lutra, Salmo salar and Najas flexilis.

4.3 Threats, pressures and activities with impacts on the site

The most important impacts and activities with high effect on the site

Negative Impacts
RankThreats and pressures [code]Pollution (optional) [code]inside/outside [i|o|b]
Positive Impacts
RankActivities, management [code]Pollution (optional) [code]inside/outside [i|o|b]

Rank: H = high, M = medium, L = low
Pollution: N = Nitrogen input, P = Phosphor/Phosphate input, A = Acid input/acidification,
T = toxic inorganic chemicals, O = toxic organic chemicals, X = Mixed pollutions
i = inside, o = outside, b = both

4.4 Ownership (optional)

No information provided

4.5 Documentation (optional)

Colhoun, K. (2001). I-WeBS Report 1998-99. BirdWatch Ireland, Dublin. Creme, G.A., Walsh, P.M., O'Callaghan, M. and Kelly, T.C. (1997). The changing status of the lesser black-backed gull Larus fuscus in Ireland. Biology and Environment, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 97B: 149-156. Fox, A.D., Norriss, D.W., Stroud, D.A. and Wilson, H.J. (1994). Greenland White-fronted Geese in Ireland and Britain 1982/83 - 1993/94. Greenland White-fronted Goose Study research report no. 8. Greenland White-fronted Goose Study, Wales and National Parks and Wildlife Service, Dublin. Gittings, T. and Delany, S. (1996). A pre-breeding census of Common Scoters in Ireland in 1995. Irish Birds 5: 413-422. Hannon, C. (1997). The 1995 All-Ireland Tern Survey. BirdWatch Ireland Conservation Report No. 97/1. Hannon, C., Berrow, S.D. and Newton S.F. (1997). The status and distribution of breeding Sandwich Sterna sandvicensis, Roseate S. dougallii, Common S. hirundo, Arctic S. paradisaea and Little Terns S. albifrons in Ireland in 1995. Irish Birds 6: 1-22.Hunt, J., Derwin, J., Coveney, J. and Newton, S. (2000). Republic of Ireland. Pp. 365-416 in Heath, M.F. and Evans, M.I.(eds). Important Bird Areas in Europe: Priority Sites for Conservation 1: Northern Europe. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International (BirdLife Conservation Series No. 8). Irish Wetland Birds Survey (I-WeBS) Database, 1994/95-2000/01. BirdWatch Ireland, Dublin. Lloyd, C. (1982). Inventory of Seabird Breeding Colonies in Republic of Ireland. Unpublished report, Forest and Wildlife Service, Dublin.Lloyd, C., Tasker, M.L. and Partridge, K. (1991). The Status of Seabirds in Britain and Ireland. Poyser, London. McGarrigle, M.L., Bowman, J.J., Clabby, K.J., Lucey, J., Cunningham, P., MacCarthaigh, M., Keegan, M., Cantrell, B., Lehane, M., Clenaghan, C. and Toner, P.F. (2002). Water Quality in Ireland 1998-2000. Environmental Protection Agency, Wexford. Merne, O.J. (1989). Important bird areas in the Republic of Ireland. In: Grimmett, R.F.A. and Jones, T.A. (eds). Important Bird Areas in Europe. ICBP Technical Publication No. 9. Cambridge. Mitchell, P.I., Newton, S., Ratcliffe, N. and Dunn, T. (2004). Seabird 2000: The Status of Breeding Seabirds in Britain and Ireland. Poyser, London. Ruttledge, R.F. (1987). The breeding distribution of the Common Scoter in Ireland. Irish Birds 3: 417-426. Ruttledge, R.F. and Ogilvie, M.A. (1979). The past and current status of the Greenland White-fronted Goose in Ireland and Britain. Irish Birds 1: 293-363. Sheppard, R. (1993). Ireland's Wetland Wealth. IWC, Dublin. Tierney, T.D., Dunne, J. and Callanan, T. (2000). The Common Scoter Melanitta nigra nigra breeding in Ireland, range expansion or site relocation Irish Birds 6: 447-452. Whilde, A. (1978). A survey of gulls breeding inland in the west of Ireland in 1977 and 1978 and a review of the inland breeding habit in Ireland and Britain. Irish Birds 1: 134-160. Whilde, A. (1985). The All Ireland Tern Survey 1984. Unpublished report for the Irish Wildbird Conservancy, Dublin.Whilde, A. (1990). The 1990 spring movement of Common Gulls and Black-headed Gulls at Lough Corrib, Co. Galway. Irish Birds 4: 227-229. Whilde, A., Cotton, D.C.F. and Sheppard, J.R. (1993). A repeat survey of gulls breeding inland in Counties Donegal, Sligo, Mayo and Galway, with recent counts from Leitrim and Fermanagh. Irish Birds 5: 67-72.


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5.1 Designation types at national and regional level (optional):

Code Cover [%]

5.2 Relation of the described site with other sites (optional):

Designated at national or regional level:

Type code Site name Type Cover [%]
Lough Corrib=100.00
IE11Lough Corrib=100.00

Designated at international level:

Type Site name Type Cover [%]
Other Lough Corrib=100.00

5.3 Site designation (optional)

No information provided


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6.1 Body(ies) responsible for the site management:

No information provided

6.2 Management Plan(s):

An actual management plan does exist:

No, but in preparation

6.3 Conservation measures (optional)

No information provided



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