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Location Netherlands, Friesland
Central coordinates 4o 59.00' East  53o 17.00' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2, B3, C2, C3, C4, C6
Area 2,740 ha
Altitude 0 - 30m
Year of IBA assessment 2000

Vogelbescherming Nederland

Site description The site is 17 km long and covers 85% of this barrier island in the Wadden Sea, lying between Texel and Terschelling (the village and the main tourist facilities on the east side have been excluded). The western half of the island (Vliehors) is an extensive sandflat (adjacent to the Wadden Sea, site 001). The eastern part consists of an extensive area of both shifting and fixed sand-dunes (the width of which varies from 300 to 1,700 m), forestry plantations, some embanked brackish lagoons (Kroonpolders) and mudflats (Posthuiswad). The western part of the island (Vliehors) is an air-force training area. Other land-uses include scattered houses, recreational facilities, hunting, and groundwater abstraction.

Key Biodiversity The dunes hold a recently-established breeding colony of Platalea leucorodia. The island also has a large number of Somateria mollissima (2,500 nests) and a large breeding colony of Larus argentatus. The mudflats south of the island are an important feeding area for tens of thousands of waterbirds that have high-tide roosts in the polders and on the Vliehors (count data for this sandflat hardly exist).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia breeding  1991  34 breeding pairs  good  B1i, B2, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Circus cyaneus breeding  1991  6 breeding pairs  good  C6  Not Recognised 
Haematopus ostralegus non-breeding  1992  12,608 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Not Recognised 
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica winter  1992  5,320 individuals  good  B1i, B2, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica passage  1992  19,012 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C2  Least Concern 
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata non-breeding  1992  4,460 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Near Threatened 
Red Knot Calidris canutus winter  1992  20,250 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, B2, C3  Least Concern 
Red Knot Calidris canutus passage  1990  16,850 individuals  medium  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Mew Gull Larus canus breeding  1991  608 breeding pairs  good  B2  Least Concern 
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus breeding  1992  905 breeding pairs  medium  B3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  1992  20,000-49,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii, C4   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Duinen Vlieland - NL2003061 Habitats Directive 1,532 protected area overlaps with site 2,545  
Duinen Vlieland - NL3009009 Birds Directive 1,398 protected area contained by site 1,398  
Noordzeekustzone - NL2003062 Habitats Directive 24,838 protected area is adjacent to site 0  
Noordzeekustzone - NL9802001 Birds Directive 123,646 protected area is adjacent to site 0  
Vlieland Nature Conservation Law 1,840 protected area overlaps with site 1,350  
Waddeneilanden,Noordzeekustzone,Breebaart Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 135,000 protected area overlaps with site 0  
Waddenzee - NL1000001 Habitats Directive 259,214 protected area is adjacent to site 0  
Waddenzee - NL9801001 Birds Directive 272,027 protected area is adjacent to site 0  
Waddenzee (Wadden Sea) Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 249,998 protected area overlaps with site 0  
Waddenzee I Natural Monument 125,000 protected area overlaps with site 200  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Standing brackish and salt water  -
Artificial - terrestrial Forestry plantations  6%
Coastline Mud flats & sand flats; Salt marshes  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture 7%
hunting 100%
military 6%
nature conservation and research 57%
tourism/recreation 57%
urban/industrial/transport 5%

Protection status National Partial International Partial200 ha of IBA covered by Natural Monument (Waddenzee I, 125,000 ha). 1,350 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Vlieland, 1,840 ha). 367 ha of IBA covered by Special Protection Area (Waddenzee, `250,000 ha' [official, incorrect figure]). 367 ha of IBA covered by Ramsar Site (Waddenzee, `250,000 ha' [official, incorrect figure]).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Vlieland. Downloaded from on 29/03/2015

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife