Bull and Cow Rocks

Year of compilation: 2000

Site description
Two uninhabited rocky islets and surrounding waters, 6 km west of the Beara peninsula in south-west County Cork. There is a lighthouse on Bull Rock which is owned by Commissioners of Irish Lights. Cow Rock is publicly-owned.

Key biodiversity
This site supports important breeding seabird colonies. Additional seabirds breeding in nationally important numbers include Phalacrocorax carbo (50 pairs, 1987), Rissa tridactyla (590 pairs, 1987) and Uria aalge (2,000 pairs, 1987).

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Fishing in surrounding waters may deplete the prey stock of seabirds, with implications for their breeding success. Isolation protects these islands from most threats. The site is a proposed Special Protection Area (Bull and Cow Rocks, 336 ha).

Protected areas
National High International NoneIBA overlaps with Refuge for Fauna (Bull; area not known). IBA overlaps with Refuge for Fauna (Cow; area not known).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Bull and Cow Rocks. Downloaded from on 01/04/2023.