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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   

IBA Monitoring

2007 high very unfavourable low
Population
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Agricultural expansion and intensification marine and freshwater aquaculture - industrial aquaculture happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Climate change and severe weather habitat shifting and alteration happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - dams (size unknown) likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Natural system modifications other ecosystem modifications happening now whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Pollution domestic & urban waste water - sewage happening now whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low
Transportation and service corridors shipping lanes happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Branta bernicla Brent Goose 5050 1838 individuals 37 very unfavourable
Pluvialis squatarola Grey Plover 4400 1659 individuals 38 very unfavourable
Charadrius hiaticula Common Ringed Plover 745 643 individuals 87 near favourable
Calidris canutus Red Knot 8550 5979 individuals 70 near favourable
Calidris alpina Dunlin 10400 18348 individuals 100 favourable
Species group - waterbirds A4iii 34714 41802 individuals 100 favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  Not assessed  low 

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  

Habitats

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 http://www.birdlife.org on 20/12/2014

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