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Location United Kingdom, Scotland
Central coordinates 4o 2.36' West  57o 43.53' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2, B3, C2, C3, C4, C6
Area 16,262 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds



Site description A complex area of coastline and estuary, including Loch Fleet, Dornoch Firth, Loch Eye, Cromarty Firth, Beauly Firth, and Moray Firth (south shore including Burghead and Spey Bay), stretching from Helmsdale south to Spey Bay. These coastal areas form an integral unit that is important for populations of wintering and passage wildfowl, and for breeding Phalacrocorax carbo.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greylag Goose Anser anser winter  2001-2006  3,434 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus winter  2001-2006  68 individuals  good  C6  Least Concern 
Eurasian Wigeon Mareca penelope passage  2001-2006  31,016 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Eurasian Wigeon Mareca penelope winter  2001-2006  16,709 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Common Teal Anas crecca passage  2001-2006  4,160 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Common Teal Anas crecca winter  2001-2006  5,107 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Greater Scaup Aythya marila winter  2001-2006  782 individuals  good  B2  Least Concern 
Melanitta fusca winter  2001-2006  1,738 individuals  good  B2  Not Recognised 
Haematopus ostralegus passage  2001-2006  9,116 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Not Recognised 
Common Redshank Tringa totanus passage  2001-2006  4,131 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Common Redshank Tringa totanus winter  2001-2006  4,287 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica passage  2001-2006  1,279 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, B2, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica winter  2001-2006  3,494 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, B2, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata passage  2001-2006  3,719 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Near Threatened 
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata winter  2001-2006  3,615 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, B2, C3  Near Threatened 
Red Knot Calidris canutus winter  2001-2006  8,150 individuals  good  B1i, B2, C3  Least Concern 
Great Black-backed Gull Larus marinus breeding  1999-2000  230 breeding pairs  good  B3  Least Concern 
Common Tern Sterna hirundo breeding  2000  527 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  2001-2006  71,037 individuals  good  A4iii, C4   
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  2001-2006  87,459 individuals  good  A4iii, C4   

IBA Monitoring

2007 medium very unfavourable medium
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%) slow but significant deterioration medium
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

Anser anser Greylag Goose 23200 3434 individuals 15 very unfavourable
Cygnus cygnus Whooper Swan 295 68 individuals 24 very unfavourable
Mareca penelope Eurasian Wigeon 31400 16709 individuals 54 unfavourable
Anas crecca Common Teal 4760 5107 individuals 100 favourable
Aythya marila Greater Scaup 455 782 individuals 100 favourable
Melanitta fusca 540 1738 individuals 100 favourable
Mergus serrator Red-breasted Merganser 1790 157 individuals 9 very unfavourable
Podiceps auritus Horned Grebe 66 31 individuals 47 unfavourable
Haematopus ostralegus 10600 9116 individuals 86 near favourable
Haematopus ostralegus 11100 7872 individuals 71 near favourable
Charadrius hiaticula Common Ringed Plover 670 277 individuals 42 unfavourable
Charadrius hiaticula Common Ringed Plover 500 253 individuals 51 unfavourable
Tringa totanus Common Redshank 5600 4131 individuals 74 near favourable
Tringa totanus Common Redshank 5150 4287 individuals 84 near favourable
Limosa lapponica Bar-tailed Godwit 3970 3494 individuals 89 near favourable
Limosa lapponica Bar-tailed Godwit 2020 1279 individuals 64 unfavourable
Numenius arquata Eurasian Curlew 5300 3615 individuals 69 unfavourable
Numenius arquata Eurasian Curlew 3720 3719 individuals 100 favourable
Calidris canutus Red Knot 5400 8150 unknown 100 favourable
Calidris alpina Dunlin 13500 10127 individuals 76 near favourable
Sterna hirundo Common Tern 310 527 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Species group - waterbirds A4iii 31049 71037 individuals 100 favourable
Species group - waterbirds A4iii 130017 87459 individuals 68 unfavourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  medium 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Beauly Firth Site of Special Scientific Interest 1,243 protected area contained by site 2,062  
Cromarty Firth Birds Directive 3,766 protected area contained by site 3,766  
Cromarty Firth Site of Special Scientific Interest 3,585 protected area contained by site 3,585  
Cromarty Firth Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 4,197 protected area contained by site 4,197  
Culbin Sands RSPB Reserve 1,135 protected area overlaps with site 1,028  
Culbin Sands, Forest and Findhorn Bay Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) 4,916 protected area overlaps with site 2,089  
Dornoch Firth Site of Special Scientific Interest 3,577 protected area contained by site 3,577  
Dornoch Firth and Loch Fleet Birds Directive 7,899 protected area contained by site 7,899  
Dornoch Firth and Loch Fleet Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 7,836 protected area contained by site 7,836  
Dornoch Firth and Morrich More Habitats Directive 7,477 protected area overlaps with site 6,248  
Inner Moray Firth Birds Directive 2,339 protected area contained by site 2,339  
Inner Moray Firth Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 2,339 protected area contained by site 2,339  
Loch Fleet National Nature Reserve 1,058 protected area contained by site 1,058  
Loch Fleet Site of Special Scientific Interest 1,238 protected area contained by site 1,238  
Loch Fleet (SWT) Reserve 1,247 protected area overlaps with site 1,226  
Moray and Nairn Coast Birds Directive 2,412 protected area contained by site 2,412  
Moray and Nairn Coast Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 2,410 protected area contained by site 2,410  
Morrich More Site of Special Scientific Interest 2,975 protected area contained by site 2,975  
Nigg and Udale Bays RSPB Reserve 1,606 protected area overlaps with site 1,482  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Heathland; Scrub  -
Grassland   -
Wetlands (inland) Mud flats and sand flats; Salt marshes; Sand dunes and beaches; Shingle or stony beaches; Standing freshwater; Tidal rivers and enclosed tidal waters  -
Sea Open Sea  -
Coastline Sea cliffs and rocky shores  -

Land use

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

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Moray Basin, Firths and Bays. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/11/2014

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