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Location United Kingdom, South West
Central coordinates 3o 26.58' West  50o 38.68' North
IBA criteria A4iii, B1i, B2, C3, C4, C6
Area 2,586 ha
Altitude 0 - 2m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Site description A complex of habitats, extending over 10 km south from Exeter to the open sea at Dawlish Warren. Broad intertidal flats and grazing-marshes are the dominant habitats. Extensive mussel, eel-grass Zostera and algal beds and a sand-spit further increase the habitat diversity. The site is important for wintering and passage wildfowl and waders, and for breeding Cettia cetti.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Horned Grebe Podiceps auritus winter  2001-2006  6 individuals  good  C6  Least Concern 
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta winter  2001-2006  360-423 individuals  good  B2, C6  Least Concern 
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa winter  2000-2006  970 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Near Threatened 
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica winter  2001-2006  370 individuals  good  C6  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  2001-2006  20,341 individuals  good  A4iii, C4   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Dawlish Warren National Nature Reserve 154 protected area contained by site 162  
Dawlish Warren Site of Special Scientific Interest 182 protected area contained by site 239  
Exe Estuary Birds Directive 2,346 protected area contains site 2,346  
Exe Estuary Site of Special Scientific Interest 2,190 protected area contains site 2,136  
Exe Estuary Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 2,346 protected area contained by site 2,346  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland Humid grasslands  7%
Wetlands (inland) Mud flats and sand flats; Rivers and streams; Salt marshes; Sand dunes and beaches; Tidal rivers and enclosed tidal waters; Water fringe vegetation  93%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture -
tourism/recreation -

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Exe Estuary. Downloaded from on 25/10/2014

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