A group of marine islands situated approximately 5.5 km off the west County Galway coast. Inishbofin, the largest island, is inhabited year-round by approximately 250 people. Two-thirds of this island is commonage and the main habitat-type is heathland, the other third is used for agriculture, mainly sheep-grazing, with small areas of meadow. Sheer cliffs and two very large stacks are present at its western end. Inishark is situated less that 1 km south-west of Inishbofin, and has been uninhabited since 1960. Its main habitat-types are heathland with rough pasture. The much smaller Davillaun Island lies 2 km east of Inishbofin, it is uninhabited. The IBA has been expanded to encompass Inishark and Davillaun, which were not included within this site in the previous pan-European inventory (Grimmett and Jones 1989).
Breeding Puffinus puffinus and wintering Branta leucopsis occur on both Inishark and Inishbofin, the latter species occurring also on Davillaun. Other seabirds breeding in numbers of national importance are Fulmarus glacialis (824 pairs, 1990) and Hydrobates pelagicus (>30 pairs, 1965). Inishbofin was formerly a stronghold of the globally threatened Crex crex, but breeding numbers are now small (3 calling males, 1998), though still of national importance. Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax breed in low numbers on the two main islands.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
With changes in farm practice on both islands, mainly the replacement of meadow with sheep-grazing pasture, there has been a stark decline in breeding numbers of Crex crex and a total disappearance of breeding Miliaria calandra. To try to reverse this trend, farming practices that favour Crex crex are being encouraged through a grant scheme. Other threats to Inishbofin in particular include peat-cutting and drainage.