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Location United Kingdom, Scotland
Central coordinates 4o 4.47' West  58o 22.98' North
IBA criteria B1i, B2, B3, C2, C3, C6
Area 145,516 ha
Altitude 0 - 476m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds



Site description The largest and most intact area of blanket bog in Scotland, lying across Caithness and Sutherland. Human activities include commercial peat extraction. The IBA is of outstanding international importance for breeding divers, waders and raptors. It is also nationally important for breeding wildfowl.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greylag Goose Anser anser resident  1995  200 breeding pairs  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Arctic Loon Gavia arctica breeding  2001-2005  28 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Red-throated Loon Gavia stellata breeding  1995  155 breeding pairs  good  B2, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Falco peregrinus resident  1995  9 breeding pairs  good  C6  Not Recognised 
Merlin Falco columbarius breeding  1995  49 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos resident  2003  6 breeding pairs  good  B2  Least Concern 
Circus cyaneus resident  1995  54 breeding pairs  good  B2, C6  Not Recognised 
Eurasian Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria breeding  1995  2,410 breeding pairs  good  B3, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola breeding  1995  6 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Dunlin Calidris alpina breeding  1995  1,970 breeding pairs  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus breeding  1995  35 breeding pairs  good  B2, C6  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands Birds Directive 145,367 is identical to site 144,701  
Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands Habitats Directive 143,583 is identical to site 143,583  
Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 143,539 is identical to site 143,539  
East Halladale Site of Special Scientific Interest 8,271 protected area contained by site 8,271  
Forsinard RSPB Reserve 12,704 protected area overlaps with site 9,405  
Strathmore Peatlands Site of Special Scientific Interest 7,295 protected area contained by site 7,295  
West Halladale Site of Special Scientific Interest 8,720 protected area contained by site 8,720  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Heathland; Scrub  minor
Grassland   minor
Wetlands (inland) Blanket bogs; Fens, transition mires and springs; Water fringe vegetation  major

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
hunting -
other -

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Caithness and Sutherland Peatlands. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 31/07/2014

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