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Location Norway, Møre og Romsdal
Central coordinates 8o 0.00' East  63o 19.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A4i, B1i, B1ii, B2
Area 27,400 ha
Altitude 0 - 70m
Year of IBA assessment 2000

Norsk Ornitologisk Forening

Site description An archipelago of 5,847 islands, islets and skerries, with large expanses of intervening shallow sea. The main island, Smøla, is a mosaic of open mire and coastal heathland, with many small lakes, streams, ponds and pools, and is cultivated in places. Its coast is dissected by many inlets and bays. This is one of the largest marine wetlands in Norway, and some of the largest continuous mires in the country are also found here.

Key Biodiversity Smøla has one of the highest breeding densities (pairs per hectare of land) of Haliaeetus albicilla in the world. The sea areas are important for wintering divers Gavia, grebes Podiceps and various seaduck. Cygnus cygnus winter in notable numbers (up to 300 birds or more). The area has been an important moulting site for flocks of Anser anser, causing conflicts with the local farmers. The largest colony of Ardea cinerea ever found in Norway was located in the area during the 1970s (200-300 pairs). Some species normally found in the mountains of Norway, or along the coast further north, breed here, e.g. Pluvialis apricaria, Lagopus lagopus and Calcarius lapponicus. Breeding divers (Gavia stellata and, to a lesser extent, G. arctica) are also relatively common.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greylag Goose Anser anser non-breeding  1989  2,000 individuals  B1i  Least Concern 
Common Eider Somateria mollissima winter  1989  5,400 individuals  B1i  Least Concern 
Melanitta fusca winter  1989  2,050 individuals  B2  Not Recognised 
Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator winter  1989  2,800 individuals  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Common Loon Gavia immer winter  1989  150 individuals  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena winter  1989  600 individuals  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
White-tailed Sea-eagle Haliaeetus albicilla resident  1998  30 breeding pairs  A1  Least Concern 
Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle breeding  1989  250 breeding pairs  B1ii, B2  Least Concern 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Heathland  -
Wetlands (inland) Fens, transition mires and springs; Rivers and streams; Standing freshwater  -
Sea Sea inlets and coastal features  -
Coastline Rock stacks and islets  -
Artificial - terrestrial   -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
fisheries/aquaculture -

Protection status National None International None

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Smøla archipelago. Downloaded from on 31/01/2015

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