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Location Belgium, Vlaams Gewest
Central coordinates 2o 50.00' East  51o 0.00' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2, C2, C3, C4, C6
Area 5,100 ha
Altitude 3 - 7m
Year of IBA assessment 2000

BirdLife Belgium

Site description A large area of flat and annually (in winter) inundated hay-meadows and grasslands along the IJzer and Handzame rivers. The site includes the Blankaart, a shallow freshwater lake with extensive reedbeds and Salix marshes.

Key Biodiversity This is an internationally important area for migrating and wintering waders and waterfowl, especially wintering Anas penelope. The site is also nationally important for breeding meadow birds.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Northern Pintail Anas acuta winter  100-900 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Tundra Swan Cygnus columbianus winter  50-80 individuals  good  B2  Least Concern 
Eurasian Wigeon Mareca penelope winter  25,000-55,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Northern Shoveler Spatula clypeata winter  400-850 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Common Teal Anas crecca winter  1,000-5,000 individuals  good  B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Western Marsh-harrier Circus aeruginosus breeding  1996  6-8 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Black Tern Chlidonias niger passage  50 individuals  C2  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds winter  20,000-49,999 individuals  unknown  A4iii, C4   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Blankaart Nature Reserve 113 protected area contained by site 113  
De IJzerbroeken te Diksmuide en Lo-Reninge Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 2,360 protected area contained by site 2,360  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   -
Grassland Humid grasslands  85%
Wetlands (inland) Standing freshwater; Water fringe vegetation  5%
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land; Highly improved re-seeded landscapes  10%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 90%
hunting 50%
tourism/recreation 10%
water management 5%
nature conservation and research 10%

Protection status National Low International High113 ha of IBA covered by Nature Reserve (Blankaart, 113 ha). 2,160 ha of IBA covered by Ramsar Site (Blankaart, 2,160 ha). 5,100 ha of IBA covered by Special Protection Area (IJzervallei including Blankaart, 5,100 ha).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: IJzervallei-De Blankaart. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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