Inishkea Islands

Country/territory: Ireland

IBA criteria met: B1i, C2, C6 (2009)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 592 ha

BirdWatch Ireland
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) Threat (pressure) Condition (state) Action (response)
2009 very high near favourable low
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (baseline)
Two large islands and surrounding rocks, 4 km west of the Mullet peninsula in County Mayo. The northern island is dominated by machair and has a small lake. The southern island is machair-covered in the northern part, with a heath-covered hill and ridge dominating to the south. The islands have been uninhabited since 1932, but there is still grazing of cattle and sheep.

Key biodiversity
This is the most important wintering site for Branta leucopsis in Ireland (birds also use sites 042 and 044). Other wintering birds of national importance (no more recent data) include Pluvialis apricaria (1,500, 1987), Calidris alba (200, 1987), Calidris maritima (175, 1987) and Arenaria interpres (400, 1987). After an absence from the islands since the 1960s, Crex crex have returned to breed (2 birds, 1998). The islands comprise one of the top sites in Ireland for shorebirds breeding on machair, e.g. Haematopus ostralegus, Vanellus vanellus and Calidris alpina.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Inishkea Islands. Downloaded from on 30/05/2023.