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Location United Kingdom, North West
Central coordinates 2o 30.95' West  53o 58.89' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii, B1i, B3, C3, C4, C6
Area 79,978 ha
Altitude 137 - 561m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Site description The Forest of Bowland forms a western outlier to the Pennines, with gentle slopes and level ground on ridges. Fast-flowing streams drain an extensive area of upland moorland and blanket mire, and bracken Pteridium may dominate on lower ground. The IBA supports a typical range of breeding upland birds, and is a breeding stronghold of Circus cyaneus. The site is also important for breeding waders and gulls.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Falco peregrinus resident  1994  10 breeding pairs  good  C6  Not Recognised 
Merlin Falco columbarius resident  1994  17 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Circus cyaneus resident  1994  14 breeding pairs  good  C6  Not Recognised 
Common Redshank Tringa totanus breeding  1993  520 breeding pairs  good  B1i, B3, C3  Least Concern 
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus breeding  2001  18,518 breeding pairs  good  A4i, B1i, B3, C3  Least Concern 
Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus breeding  2002  2 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus resident  1994  9 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds breeding  1999-2002  20,681 breeding pairs  good  A4iii, C4   

IBA Monitoring

2007 low favourable negligible
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Larus fuscus Lesser Black-backed Gull 11500 18518 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Species group - waterbirds A4iii 11950 20681 breeding pairs 100 favourable

Some of site covered (10-49%)  Unknown  Not assessed  negligible 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Bowland Fells Site of Special Scientific Interest 16,008 protected area contained by site 16,002  
Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty 80,200 is identical to site 79,978  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Broadleaved deciduous woodland  -
Shrubland Heathland  -
Grassland Humid grasslands  -
Wetlands (inland) Blanket bogs; Rivers and streams  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
fisheries/aquaculture -
forestry -
hunting -
water management -

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Bowland Fells. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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