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Location United Kingdom, South West
Central coordinates 2o 1.66' West  50o 41.99' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2, C2, C3, C4, C6
Area 2,308 ha
Altitude 0 - 21m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds



Site description A drowned valley that forms one of the largest natural harbours in the world, with the five islands representing high ground between the former river valleys. Habitat-types include mudflats, saltmarsh, reed Phragmites-swamp and heathland. The IBA is important for wintering wildfowl and waders, and for breeding gulls and terns.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta passage  2001-2006  729 individuals  good  B1i, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta winter  2001-2006  1,452 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, B2, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa passage  2001-2006  1,120 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Near Threatened 
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa winter  2001-2006  2,168 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Near Threatened 
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata winter  2001-2006  1,619 individuals  good  B2  Near Threatened 
Dunlin Calidris alpina winter  2001-2006  6,435 individuals  good  B2  Least Concern 
Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus breeding  2000  5 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Sandwich Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis breeding  2006  213 breeding pairs  good  B2, C6  Least Concern 
Common Tern Sterna hirundo breeding  2000  191 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Common Tern Sterna hirundo breeding  2006  248 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
European Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus breeding  2004  81 males only  good  C6  Least Concern 
Dartford Warbler Sylvia undata breeding  2006  73 males only  good  C6  Near Threatened 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  2001-2006  36,091 individuals  good  A4iii, C4   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Arne RSPB Reserve 539 protected area overlaps with site 127  
Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty 112,900 protected area overlaps with site 1,789  
Poole Harbour Birds Directive 2,272 is identical to site 2,272  
Poole Harbour Site of Special Scientific Interest 2,269 protected area overlaps with site 1,952  
Poole Harbour Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 2,439 protected area contains site 2,308  
Purbeck Heritage Coast 16,512 protected area overlaps with site 1,791  
Wareham RSPB Reserve 340 protected area overlaps with site 124  
Wareham Meadows Site of Special Scientific Interest 211 protected area overlaps with site 167  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Broadleaved deciduous woodland; Mixed woodland  -
Shrubland Heathland  -
Grassland   -
Wetlands (inland) Fens, transition mires and springs; Mud flats and sand flats; Rivers and streams; Salt marshes; Tidal rivers and enclosed tidal waters; Water fringe vegetation  -
Coastline Sea cliffs and rocky shores  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
tourism/recreation -
urban/industrial/transport -

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Poole Harbour. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/07/2014

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