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Location United Kingdom, East Anglia
Central coordinates 0o 10.69' East  52o 27.52' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2, B3, C2, C3, C4, C6
Area 2,490 ha
Altitude 1 - 2m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds



Site description The Ouse Washes lie between the Old and New Bedford Rivers and act as a flood-water storage system during the winter months, subjecting the unimproved neutral grassland to regular winter flooding. The flood meadow sward is characterized by many reed, grass and herb species. A diverse aquatic flora also exists at the site. The IBA is important for breeding ducks and wintering wildfowl.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Northern Pintail Anas acuta winter  2003-2008  2,543 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus winter  2003-2008  4,104 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, B3, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Tundra Swan Cygnus columbianus winter  2003-2008  5,336 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, B2, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Gadwall Anas strepera winter  2003-2008  1,233 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Gadwall Anas strepera breeding  2006  134 breeding pairs  good  B1i, B2, C3  Least Concern 
Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope winter  2003-2008  34,245 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata winter  2003-2008  1,429 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Common Teal Anas crecca winter  2003-2008  5,871 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa winter  2001-2006  3,123 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Near Threatened 
Ruff Philomachus pugnax passage  2001-2006  176 individuals  good  C6  Least Concern 
Ruff Philomachus pugnax winter  2001-2006  310 individuals  good  C6  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  2003-2008  76,412 individuals  good  A4iii, C4   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Ouse Washes Birds Directive 2,447 protected area contained by site 2,447  
Ouse Washes RSPB Reserve 1,562 protected area contained by site 1,562  
Ouse Washes Site of Special Scientific Interest 2,514 protected area contained by site 2,469  
Ouse Washes Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 2,469 protected area contained by site 2,469  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland   -
Wetlands (inland) Rivers and streams; Standing freshwater; Water fringe vegetation  -

Land use

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

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Ouse Washes. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/04/2014

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