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Location United Kingdom, Scotland
Central coordinates 2o 52.65' West  56o 1.16' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2, C2, C3, C4, C6
Area 6,289 ha
Altitude 0 - 30m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds



Site description A complex site that stretches for over 100 km from the River Forth at Stirling eastwards past Edinburgh, and along the coasts of Fife and East Lothian before culminating in a wide mouth. The IBA covers large areas of intertidal flats and inshore waters, in addition to saltmarsh and sand-dune systems, maritime grassland, heath and fen. The IBA is important for wintering and passage wildfowl and waders, and for breeding terns.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus passage  2001-2006  12,699 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus winter  2001-2006  5,367 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Greylag Goose Anser anser winter  2001-2006  1,753 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis passage  2001-2006  228 individuals  good  B1i, C2  Least Concern 
Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna passage  2001-2006  3,103 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Melanitta fusca winter  2001-2006  1,121 individuals  good  B2  Not Recognised 
Eurasian Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria passage  2001-2006  2,970 individuals  good  C6  Least Concern 
Eurasian Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria winter  2001-2006  3,112 individuals  good  C6  Least Concern 
Common Redshank Tringa totanus passage  2001-2006  5,715 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Common Redshank Tringa totanus winter  2001-2006  4,846 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica passage  2001-2006  1,454 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica winter  2001-2006  1,380 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, B2, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata passage  2001-2006  4,015 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, B2, C3  Near Threatened 
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata winter  2001-2006  3,387 individuals  good  B2  Near Threatened 
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres passage  2001-2006  858 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres winter  2001-2006  815 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Red Knot Calidris canutus winter  2001-2006  5,991 individuals  good  B1i, B2, C3  Least Concern 
Dunlin Calidris alpina winter  2001-2006  10,595 individuals  good  B2  Least Concern 
Common Tern Sterna hirundo breeding  2000  750 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Common Tern Sterna hirundo breeding  2006  1,039 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  2001-2006  73,408 individuals  good  A4iii, C4   
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  2001-2006  77,575 individuals  good  A4iii, C4   

IBA Monitoring

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

Energy production and mining renewable energy likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - small dams likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Pollution domestic & urban waste water - sewage likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low
Pollution garbage & solid waste likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low
Pollution industrial & military effluents - oil spills likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid 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

Anser brachyrhynchus Pink-footed Goose 12800 5367 individuals 42 unfavourable
Anser anser Greylag Goose 595 1753 individuals 100 favourable
Tadorna tadorna Common Shelduck 3560 1032 individuals 29 very unfavourable
Aythya marila Greater Scaup 195 114 individuals 59 unfavourable
Pluvialis apricaria Eurasian Golden Plover 3130 3112 individuals 100 favourable
Pluvialis apricaria Eurasian Golden Plover 3340 2970 individuals 89 near favourable
Tringa totanus Common Redshank 4150 5715 individuals 100 favourable
Tringa totanus Common Redshank 4190 4846 individuals 100 favourable
Limosa lapponica Bar-tailed Godwit 2380 1380 individuals 58 unfavourable
Limosa lapponica Bar-tailed Godwit 1530 1454 individuals 96 favourable
Numenius arquata Eurasian Curlew 2220 3387 individuals 100 favourable
Numenius arquata Eurasian Curlew 2410 4015 individuals 100 favourable
Arenaria interpres Ruddy Turnstone 1080 815 individuals 76 near favourable
Arenaria interpres Ruddy Turnstone 685 858 individuals 100 favourable
Calidris canutus Red Knot 7550 5991 individuals 80 near favourable
Calidris alpina Dunlin 8650 10595 individuals 100 favourable
Calidris alpina Dunlin 8650 10595 individuals 100 favourable
Larus fuscus Lesser Black-backed Gull 865 99 breeding pairs 12 very unfavourable
Sterna hirundo Common Tern 690 1039 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Species group - waterbirds A4iii 82120 77575 individuals 95 favourable
Species group - waterbirds A4iii 28561 73408 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)  
Aberlady Bay Local Nature Reserve 582 protected area contained by site 582  
Firth of Forth Birds Directive 6,314 protected area contained by site 6,209  
Firth Of Forth Site of Special Scientific Interest 7,420 protected area contains site 6,289  
Firth of Forth Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 6,314 protected area contains site 6,289  
John Muir Country Park Park 0 protected area overlaps with site 529  
Skinflats RSPB Reserve 426 protected area contained by site 426  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Heathland  -
Grassland   -
Wetlands (inland) Coastal lagoons; Fens, transition mires and springs; Mud flats and sand flats; Salt marshes; Sand dunes and beaches; Shingle or stony beaches; Standing brackish and salt water; Tidal rivers and enclosed tidal waters; Water fringe vegetation  -
Sea Open Sea; Sea inlets and coastal features  -
Coastline Sea cliffs and rocky shores  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -
urban/industrial/transport -

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Firth of Forth. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/12/2014

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