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Location United Kingdom, Scotland
Central coordinates 6o 19.37' West  55o 51.19' North
IBA criteria A4i, B1i, B2, C2, C3, C6
Area 3,244 ha
Altitude 0 - 60m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Site description The IBA comprises a north-facing sea loch over 5 km in length, and adjacent grassland, heathland, saltmarsh, mudflat and sand-dune habitats. The site is important for wintering waterbirds. Anser albifrons are the flavirostris subspecies, while Branta leucopsis are from the Greenland breeding population.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons winter  1999-2003  1,395 individuals  good  B1i, C2, C3  Least Concern 
Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis winter  1997-2003  13,397 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, B2, C2, C6  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2007 medium very unfavourable medium
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Climate change and severe weather habitat shifting and alteration likely in long term (beyond 4 years) majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Anser albifrons Greater White-fronted Goose 940 1395 individuals 100 favourable
Branta leucopsis Barnacle Goose 11800 13397 individuals 100 favourable
Cygnus cygnus Whooper Swan 135 13 individuals 10 very unfavourable
Species group - waterbirds A4iii 23171 7554 individuals 33 very unfavourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  Substantive conservation measures are being implemented but these are not comprehensive and are limited by resources and capacity  medium 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Gruinart Flats Site of Special Scientific Interest 3,261 is identical to site 3,170  
Gruinart Flats, Islay Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 3,261 is identical to site 3,244  
Loch Gruinart/Ardnave RSPB Reserve 2,780 protected area overlaps with site 1,470  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Mixed woodland  -
Shrubland Heathland  -
Grassland Humid grasslands; Mesophile grasslands  -
Wetlands (inland) Blanket bogs; Mud flats and sand flats; Rivers and streams; Salt marshes; Sand dunes and beaches; Standing freshwater  -
Sea Sea inlets and coastal features  -
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 30%
nature conservation and research 30%

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Gruinart Flats. Downloaded from on 20/10/2016

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