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Location United Kingdom, South West
Central coordinates 4o 12.17' West  50o 25.47' North
IBA criteria C6
Area 1,939 ha
Altitude 0 - 15m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Site description The Tamar estuary system is a large marine inlet on the English Channel coast, and includes the estuaries of the Rivers Tamar, Lynher and Tavy, which collectively drain an extensive part of Devon and Cornwall. The site comprises extensive mudflats and areas of saltmarsh, freshwater reedmarsh Phragmites, and fen. The IBA is important for wintering waders and waterbirds.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta winter  2001-2006  384 individuals  good  C6  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2007 low very unfavourable low
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

Recurvirostra avosetta Pied Avocet 195 384 individuals 100 favourable
Calidris alpina Dunlin 5700 1623 individuals 29 very unfavourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  Unknown  Unknown  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Lynher Estuary Site of Special Scientific Interest 673 protected area overlaps with site 533  
St John's Lake Site of Special Scientific Interest 266 protected area contained by site 270  
Tamar - Tavy Estuary Site of Special Scientific Interest 1,414 protected area overlaps with site 1,131  
Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty 19,500 protected area overlaps with site 1,489  


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

Land use

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

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Tamar Estuaries Complex. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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