Owenduff River catchment and Nephin Beg

Year of compilation: 2000

Site description
A large area of relatively intact blanket bog in north-west County Mayo, bounded by Bangor to the north, Mullranny in the south-west and Lough Feeagh to the east. The site is one of the best examples of an Atlantic blanket-bog system in Europe and supports a diversity of other habitats, including upland grassland, mountainous terrain, lakes and rivers. Sheep graze the area.

Key biodiversity
This site was designated as a Special Protection Area based on its high number of wintering Anser albifrons flavirostris (146 birds, 1994), together with breeding Pluvialis apricaria, both of which are Annex I species under the EC Birds Directive.

A 2002 survey of breeding Falco peregrinus found 2 pairs within the site, and another pair in the vicinity of the site.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The severity of overgrazing by sheep within this site is the subject of a legal action against Ireland by the European Commission. It is believed to have contributed to a decline in wintering Anser albifrons flavirostris and breeding Pluvialis apricaria. Other pressures on this site are wildfowling (causing disturbance to geese) and peat extraction. The IBA lies within a proposed candidate Special Area for Conservation (Owenduff/Nephin Complex; area not known).

Protected areas
National None International High1,382 ha of IBA covered by Ramsar Site (Owenduff catchment, 1,382 ha). 25,622 ha of IBA covered by Special Protection Area (Owenduff/Nephin Complex, 25,622 ha).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Owenduff River catchment and Nephin Beg. Downloaded from on 21/03/2023.