Strangford Lough

Site overview: This site is situated on the east coast of Northern Ireland, and is a large shallow sea lough comprising a wide variety of marine and intertidal habitats. There are two different protected areas here, a Special Protection Area and a Special Area of Conservation. Both are designated to protect different habitats and animals found here. This area regularly supports over 20,000 waterfowl birds over the winter months, these include the internationally important species light-bellied brent geese, knot and redshank. Nationally important species include the bar-tailed godwit, black-tailed godwit, coot, curlew, dunlin, eider, gadwall, great-crested grebe, greylag goose, greenshank, goldeneye, golden plover, grey plover, lapwing, mallard, mute swan, oystercatcher, pintail, red-breasted merganser, ringed plover, shelduck, shoveler, teal, turnstone and wigeon.

Designation Status
Last Updated
6 June 2017
MPA Type
Special Protection Area
MPA Purpose
areas of the most important habitat for rare (listed on Annex I to the Directive) and migratory birds within the European Union


54° 27' 56" North,
5° 36' 21" West

Surface Area

155.69 km2
(60.11 mi.2 )

Iconic features protected by this site


  • Marine areas, Sea inlets
  • Tidal rivers, Estuaries, Mud flats, Sand flats, Lagoons (including saltwork basins)
  • Salt marshes, Salt pastures, Salt steppes


  • Waterfowl assemblage


  • Common tern (Sterna hirundo) (Annex I (species))
  • Common redshank (Tringa totanus) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea) (Annex I (species))
  • Sandwich tern (Sterna sandvicensis) (Annex I (species))
  • Light-bellied brent goose (Branta bernicla hrota [Canada/Ireland]) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Red knot (Calidris canutus) (Regularly occurring migratory species)