The Lagan Environment

The Lagan Canal is a wildlife haven that is home to a wide variety of plants, insects, birds and mammals. Lagan Valley Regional Park lies along the River Lagan stretching for 17.6 km and offers a variety of opportunities to explore and learn about our countryside, heritage and wildlife. The upper section of the canal from Moira to Craigavon also boasts an abundance of flower and fauna to enrich the towpath and river banks.

Wildlife Found Along The Lagan

The wild mallard is one of the most commonly spotted birds on the Lagan canal. The mallard has been domesticated for more than 2000 years and is now extremely widespread in the UK. The resilient ducks can make their home in any wetland habitat. This is largely due to the mallard’s ability to adapt to almost any diet.

Coots can be found in large numbers along the canal.  Most people are familiar with this round-bodied black-feathered bird.  The coot occupies similar habitats to it’s smaller cousin, the moorhen. 
The sociable birds usually live in flocks and feed together, although coots can be very territorial and will aggressively chase off any unwanted intruders.

The moorhen can be found wherever there is water. In looks they are very similar to the coot.  Moorhens will defend their territory from any intruders. They have a very distinct call and can often be seen with young, hiding among the sedges and rushes at the water’s edge. 

The swan is another popular figure on the Lagan.  Mute swans are the most familiar to us in the U.K. and are the largest and heaviest of the birds.  They are white in colour and have a deep orange beak marked with black at each end.

Natures most accomplished fisherman, the grey heron is known for it’s motionless stance at the water’s edge.  Heron’s are adaptable birds and will feed in any water be it fresh, salt, clear or muddy, so long as it will yield a catch.  The grey heron is the only member of the heron family to be found in Britain.

The kingfisher is usually glimpsed as a sudden flash of glistening blue. This colourful bird is a splendid sight but even dedicated bird-spotters can fail to catch sight of this active predator at rest.  Kingfishers travel at lightening speeds , catch several fish per day, raise up to 3 broods every season and fiercely defend their territory at all times.

Tree Sparrow
The tree sparrow has a chestnut brown head, and white cheeks and collar with a contrasting black cheek-spot. Male and female have the same markings. They are 14cm in size. Juvenile birds are similar in appearance to the adults but are duller in colour and have dark rather than white cheeks. They still have the warm red-brown head. They are shyer than house sparrows in the UK and are more of a country bird, usually living on farmland, hedgerows, orchards and waterways. Chicks are born between mid-April and August and are fed on insects caught from ponds, streams and loughs.

Dragonflies are brightly coloured creatures with long and thick bodies with 4 broad wings and 2 large eyes. The dragonfly spends most of it’s life as larvae, spending 1-3 years underwater.  Flying adults have a relatively short life span.  In the U.K. adults rarely live for more than a few weeks. 

Lakes, rivers and rocky or coastal areas are the otter’s natural habitats and they can also be spotted hunting their prey in quiet stretches of the canal.  However otters are timid and not often observed by humans.

The red fox is an intelligent and adaptable species that can be found by fast-flowing rivers. However, the gradual loss of their natural woodland territory has forced the fox further into our urban environments.  You are unlikely to see or hear a fox as they are nocturnal by nature, very quiet, very careful and extremely adept hunters and scavengers.

























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