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Location United Kingdom, Scotland
Central coordinates 1o 53.28' West  57o 37.54' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2, C2, C3, C4
Area 613 ha
Altitude 0 - 15m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Site description The Loch of Strathbeg is the largest dune-lake in Britain (an area of 200 ha), and is situated inland from Rattray Head, the north-eastern point of the Buchan coast. The IBA also covers surrounding calcareous dunes and dune-slacks. Itis important for wintering wildfowl and waterbirds, 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  33,951 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus winter  2001-2006  27,775 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis winter  2001-2006  616 individuals  good  B1i, B2, C2  Least Concern 
Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis winter  2001-2006  177 individuals  good  B1i, C2  Least Concern 
Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus winter  2001-2006  610 individuals  good  B1i, C2  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  2001-2006  44,226 individuals  good  A4iii, C4   
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  2001-2006  41,085 individuals  good  A4iii, C4   

IBA Monitoring

2007 low very unfavourable high
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

Anser brachyrhynchus Pink-footed Goose 32500 27775 individuals 86 near favourable
Anser anser Greylag Goose 2270 619 individuals 28 very unfavourable
Branta leucopsis Barnacle Goose 130 177 individuals 100 favourable
Cygnus cygnus Whooper Swan 155 610 individuals 100 favourable
Thalasseus sandvicensis Sandwich Tern 480 0 breeding pairs 0 very unfavourable
Species group - waterbirds A4iii 42802 41085 individuals 96 favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A comprehensive and appropriate management plan exists that aims to maintain or improve the populations of qualifying bird species  The conservation measures needed for the site are being comprehensively and effectively implemented  high 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Loch of Strathbeg RSPB Reserve 892 protected area overlaps with site 503  
Loch Of Strathbeg Site of Special Scientific Interest 983 protected area contains site 613  
Loch of Strathbeg Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 616 is identical to site 613  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Fens, transition mires and springs; Sand dunes and beaches; Standing freshwater; Water fringe vegetation  80%
Artificial - terrestrial Highly improved re-seeded landscapes  20%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 15%
nature conservation and research 95%

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Loch of Strathbeg. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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