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Location United Kingdom, South East
Central coordinates 0o 40.00' East  51o 31.00' North
IBA criteria A4iii, B1i, B2, C3, C4
Area 2,373 ha
Altitude 0 - 46m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Site description The IBA extends eastwards from Canvey Island along the foreshore to Southend, covering extensive areas of mudflats and saltmarsh. It supports distinct sea-wall and saltmarsh plant communities, in addition to a diverse ditch and grassland flora. The IBA is important for wintering geese and waders, and breeding Panurus biarmicus.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta winter  2001-2006  76 individuals  good  B2  Least Concern 
Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula passage  2001-2006  643 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa passage  2001-2006  1,370 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Near Threatened 
Red Knot Calidris canutus winter  2001-2006  5,979 individuals  good  B1i, B2, C3  Least Concern 
Dunlin Calidris alpina winter  2001-2006  18,348 individuals  good  B1i, B2, C3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  2001-2006  22,846 individuals  good  A4iii, C4   
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  2001-2006  41,802 individuals  good  A4iii, C4   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Benfleet and Southend Marshes Birds Directive 2,251 protected area contained by site 2,251  
Benfleet and Southend Marshes Site of Special Scientific Interest 2,374 is identical to site 2,370  
Benfleet and Southend Marshes Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 2,251 protected area contained by site 2,251  
Leigh National Nature Reserve 258 protected area overlaps with site 257  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Scrub  -
Grassland   -
Wetlands (inland) Mud flats and sand flats; Rivers and streams; Salt marshes; Standing freshwater; Tidal rivers and enclosed tidal waters  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
fisheries/aquaculture -
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Benfleet and Southend Marshes. Downloaded from on 25/10/2014

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