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Location United Kingdom, North West
Central coordinates 3o 2.23' West  53o 39.71' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2, B3, C2, C3, C4, C6
Area 12,408 ha
Altitude 0 - 15m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds



Site description Intertidal mudflats and saltmarsh extending from the Ribble estuary in the north to Crosby in the south, and includes the mouth of the River Alt. These estuaries are important for wintering and passage wildfowl and waders, and for breeding gulls.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Northern Pintail Anas acuta winter  2001-2006  2,245 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus passage  2001-2006  9,165 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus winter  2001-2006  10,248 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus winter  2001-2006  341 individuals  good  B1i, B3, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Tundra Swan Cygnus columbianus winter  2001-2006  24-224 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, B2, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna winter  2001-2006  3,423 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Eurasian Wigeon Mareca penelope passage  2001-2006  34,259 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Eurasian Wigeon Mareca penelope winter  2001-2006  77,540 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Common Teal Anas crecca passage  2001-2006  4,057 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Common Teal Anas crecca winter  2001-2006  7,064 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Haematopus ostralegus passage  2001-2006  17,566 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Not Recognised 
Haematopus ostralegus winter  2001-2006  18,518 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Not Recognised 
Eurasian Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria winter  2001-2006  2,971 individuals  good  C6  Least Concern 
Eurasian Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria winter  2001-2006  3,457 individuals  good  C6  Least Concern 
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola passage  2001-2006  3,884 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola winter  2001-2006  5,007 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula passage  2001-2006  1,306 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Common Redshank Tringa totanus passage  2001-2006  2,982 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Common Redshank Tringa totanus winter  2001-2006  3,440 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa passage  2001-2006  3,280 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Near Threatened 
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa winter  2001-2006  1,694 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Near Threatened 
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica passage  2001-2006  9,195 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica winter  2001-2006  14,625 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, B2, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata passage  2001-2006  2,357 individuals  good  B2  Near Threatened 
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata winter  2001-2006  2,197 individuals  good  B2  Near Threatened 
Red Knot Calidris canutus passage  2001-2006  39,864 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Red Knot Calidris canutus winter  2001-2006  50,639 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, B2, C3  Least Concern 
Sanderling Calidris alba passage  2001-2006  5,142 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Sanderling Calidris alba winter  2001-2006  2,961 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Dunlin Calidris alpina passage  2001-2006  25,469 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Dunlin Calidris alpina winter  2001-2006  21,642 individuals  good  B1i, B2, C3  Least Concern 
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus breeding  1998  4,108 breeding pairs  good  A4i, B1i, B3, C3  Least Concern 
Common Tern Sterna hirundo breeding  2000  98 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Common Tern Sterna hirundo breeding  2003  111 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds breeding  1998-1999  19,378 breeding pairs  good  A4iii, C4   
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  2001-2006  167,614 individuals  good  A4iii, C4   
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  2001-2006  262,917 individuals  good  A4iii, C4   

IBA Monitoring

2007 low very unfavourable low
Population
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Agricultural expansion and intensification livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Energy production and mining mining and quarrying likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low
Residential and commercial development tourism and recreation areas likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low

Anas acuta Northern Pintail 1880 2245 individuals 100 favourable
Anser brachyrhynchus Pink-footed Goose 17900 10248 individuals 58 unfavourable
Cygnus cygnus Whooper Swan 94 341 individuals 100 favourable
Cygnus columbianus Tundra Swan 180 224 individuals 100 favourable
Tadorna tadorna Common Shelduck 3530 3423 individuals 97 favourable
Mareca penelope Eurasian Wigeon 78000 77540 individuals 100 favourable
Anas crecca Common Teal 7050 7064 individuals 100 favourable
Haematopus ostralegus 13000 17566 individuals 100 favourable
Haematopus ostralegus 16700 18518 individuals 100 favourable
Pluvialis apricaria Eurasian Golden Plover 2340 2971 individuals 100 favourable
Pluvialis apricaria Eurasian Golden Plover 4470 3457 individuals 78 near favourable
Pluvialis squatarola Grey Plover 7550 3884 individuals 52 unfavourable
Pluvialis squatarola Grey Plover 5400 5007 individuals 93 favourable
Charadrius hiaticula Common Ringed Plover 1230 1306 individuals 100 favourable
Tringa totanus Common Redshank 3480 2982 individuals 86 near favourable
Tringa totanus Common Redshank 3040 3440 individuals 100 favourable
Limosa limosa Black-tailed Godwit 820 1694 individuals 100 favourable
Limosa limosa Black-tailed Godwit 2600 3280 individuals 100 favourable
Limosa lapponica Bar-tailed Godwit 15500 14625 individuals 95 favourable
Limosa lapponica Bar-tailed Godwit 13500 9195 individuals 69 unfavourable
Numenius arquata Eurasian Curlew 1840 2197 individuals 100 favourable
Numenius arquata Eurasian Curlew 2170 2357 individuals 100 favourable
Arenaria interpres Ruddy Turnstone 830 277 individuals 34 very unfavourable
Calidris canutus Red Knot 64000 39864 individuals 63 unfavourable
Calidris canutus Red Knot 56000 50639 individuals 91 favourable
Calidris alba Sanderling 6800 5142 individuals 76 near favourable
Calidris alba Sanderling 3150 2961 individuals 94 favourable
Calidris alpina Dunlin 33400 25469 individuals 77 near favourable
Calidris alpina Dunlin 37000 21642 individuals 59 unfavourable
Larus fuscus Lesser Black-backed Gull 1780 4108 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Sterna hirundo Common Tern 230 111 breeding pairs 49 unfavourable
Species group - waterbirds A4iii 159438 167614 individuals 100 favourable
Species group - waterbirds A4iii 281231 262917 individuals 94 favourable
Species group - waterbirds A4iii 11335 19378 breeding pairs 100 favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  Very little or no conservation action taking place  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Ribble and Alt Estuaries Birds Directive 12,412 is identical to site 12,408  
Ribble and Alt Estuary Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 13,464 protected area contains site 12,408  
Ribble Estuary National Nature Reserve 4,588 protected area contained by site 4,581  
Ribble Estuary Site of Special Scientific Interest 9,348 protected area contained by site 9,328  
Sefton Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest 4,634 protected area overlaps with site 2,863  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland   -
Wetlands (inland) Mud flats and sand flats; Rivers and streams; Salt marshes; Sand dunes and beaches; Standing freshwater; Tidal rivers and enclosed tidal waters  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -
urban/industrial/transport -

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Ribble and Alt Estuaries. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/12/2014

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