Lough Mask

Year of compilation: 2000

Site description
Located in County Mayo, Lough Mask is situated south of Lough Carra (site 049), which drains into it, and north of Lough Corrib (site 056), into which it drains. It is one of the deepest lakes in the country and is calcareous. It is fed by the Owenbrin river which deposits large amounts of sandy sediment at its entrance forming an extensive delta.

Key biodiversity
The site was designated as a Special Protection Area on the basis of its migratory waterfowl populations, with Aythya fuligula occurring in numbers of national importance (684 birds, 1996). There are also nationally important colonies of breeding gulls, with Larus fuscus (722 birds, 1993), L. canus (742 birds, 1993) and L. ridibundus (2,650 birds, 1993). It is also a probable breeding site for the nationally scarce Melanitta nigra.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Nutrient pollution may threaten the lake, due to intensification of agriculture on surrounding farmland. The site lies within a proposed candidate Special Area for Conservation (Lough Carra/Mask complex; area not known).

Protected areas
National High International HighIBA overlaps with Wildfowl Sanctuary (Lough Mask; area not known). 8,529 ha of IBA covered by Special Protection Area (Lough Mask, 8,529 ha).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lough Mask. Downloaded from on 08/08/2022.