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Location United Kingdom, Scotland
Central coordinates 3o 58.63' West  57o 5.72' North
IBA criteria A1, B1i, B2, B3, C1, C3
Area 1,155 ha
Altitude 220 - 290m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Site description The Insh marshes form the largest single-unit flood-plain mire of the poor-fen type in Britain. They are also the most northerly, the site lying within the flat valley floor of the River Spey between Kincraig and Kingussie. The IBA supports diverse breeding and wintering bird communities.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greylag Goose Anser anser winter  1990-1995  1,120 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus winter  1990-1995  135 individuals  good  B3  Least Concern 
Scottish Crossbill Loxia scotica winter  2006  uncommon  A1, B2, C1  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2007 low not assessed high
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

No known threats no known threats happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  The conservation measures needed for the site are being comprehensively and effectively implemented  high 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Cairngorms National Park 381,654 protected area contains site 1,155  
Insh Marshes National Nature Reserve 695 protected area overlaps with site 594  
Insh Marshes RSPB Reserve 822 protected area overlaps with site 685  
River Spey - Insh Marshes Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 1,159 is identical to site 1,155  
River Spey Insh Marshes Site of Special Scientific Interest 1,176 is identical to site 1,155  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland Humid grasslands  -
Wetlands (inland) Fens, transition mires and springs; Rivers and streams; Standing freshwater  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 50%
nature conservation and research 80%
fisheries/aquaculture -
tourism/recreation -

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: River Spey - Insh Marshes. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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