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Location United Kingdom, South East
Central coordinates 0o 50.57' East  51o 21.64' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2, B3, C2, C3, C4, C6
Area 6,486 ha
Altitude 0 - 27m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds



Site description Mudflats and saltmarshes bordering the Swale, which separates the Isle of Sheppey from the Kent mainland, in addition to extensive brackish and freshwater grazing-marshes on both sides of the channel. The IBA is important for wintering and passage wildfowl and waders, and breeding wildfowl, gulls and other reedbed/wetland species.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Northern Pintail Anas acuta winter  2001-2006  831 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Eurasian Wigeon Mareca penelope winter  2001-2006  17,877 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Common Teal Anas crecca winter  2001-2006  4,709 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta passage  2001-2006  377 individuals  good  B2, C6  Least Concern 
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta winter  2001-2006  582 individuals  good  B2, C6  Least Concern 
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta breeding  2002  254 breeding pairs  good  B3, C6  Least Concern 
Eurasian Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria winter  2001-2006  10,032 individuals  good  B1i, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola passage  2001-2006  1,803 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula passage  2001-2006  665 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Common Redshank Tringa totanus passage  2001-2006  1,637 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa passage  2001-2006  1,705 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Near Threatened 
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa winter  2001-2006  1,403 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Near Threatened 
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica passage  2001-2006  335 individuals  good  C6  Least Concern 
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica winter  2001-2006  613 individuals  good  B2, C6  Least Concern 
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata passage  2001-2006  1,456 individuals  good  B2  Near Threatened 
Red Knot Calidris canutus winter  2001-2006  3,010 individuals  good  B2  Least Concern 
Dunlin Calidris alpina winter  2001-2006  9,617 individuals  good  B2  Least Concern 
Ruff Calidris pugnax winter  2001-2006  69 individuals  good  C6  Least Concern 
Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus breeding  2000  13 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  2001-2006  35,006 individuals  good  A4iii, C4   
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  2001-2006  83,177 individuals  good  A4iii, C4   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Elmley National Nature Reserve 1,212 protected area overlaps with site 830  
The Swale Birds Directive 6,515 is identical to site 6,486  
The Swale Site of Special Scientific Interest 6,509 is identical to site 6,486  
The Swale Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 6,515 is identical to site 6,486  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Scrub  -
Grassland Humid grasslands  -
Wetlands (inland) Mud flats and sand flats; Salt marshes; Shingle or stony beaches; Standing freshwater; Tidal rivers and enclosed tidal waters; Water fringe vegetation  -
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
fisheries/aquaculture -
hunting -
tourism/recreation -
urban/industrial/transport -

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: The Swale. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/10/2014

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