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Location Poland, podlaskie
Central coordinates 22o 50.00' East  53o 30.00' North
IBA criteria C1, C2, C3, C4, C6
Area 136,900 ha
Altitude 100 - 125m
Year of IBA assessment 2010

Ogólnopolskie Towarzystwo Ochrony Ptaków



Site description The site comprises the whole of the natural (unregulated) course of the Biebrza river (164 km long) and its valley, along the border of the buffer zone of Biebrza National Park. The valley can be divided into three parts (the upper, middle and lower basin), which differ in physiography, hydrography and ecological character. In the upper basin the river is small and cuts through peat deposits. This area has been partly drained and presently consists of bogs, pastures and meadows, with fragments of marshy pine Pinus forest and mixed forest of oak Quercus and Pinus. The middle basin is dominated by fens, being a mosaic of open and scrub-covered sedge-beds and meadows on alluvial soils. Here there are two extensive areas of natural birch Betula forest and some areas are covered with swampy alder Alnus forest (admixed with spruce Picea) and fragmented Pinus forest. The lower basin floods in spring, so is used for haymaking and non-intensive cattle- and horse-grazing. The lower basin is 30 km long and 5-12 km wide. Valley mires here (mainly fens) are natural and have not been modified by man. Along the river are extensive wet meadows (covering c.10% of the lower basin) and many oxbow lakes covered with reeds Phragmites. Areas which are regularly and extensively flooded each spring are dominated by sedge-beds. Unflooded areas are covered by variably dense forest of willow Salix and Betula, as well as sedge-beds. Scrub succession here is proceeding rapidly. Farther away from the river there are extensive young riverside forests Alnus in marshy areas and fragments of mixed forest Quercus/Pinus.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Black Grouse Lyrurus tetrix breeding  2008  107 males only  good  C6  Least Concern 
Northern Pintail Anas acuta passage  2007-2010  10,000 individuals  poor  C3  Least Concern 
Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons passage  2007-2010  50,000 individuals  poor  C3  Least Concern 
Tundra Swan Cygnus columbianus passage  2007-2010  300 individuals  poor  C2  Least Concern 
Eurasian Wigeon Mareca penelope passage  2007-2010  25,000 individuals  poor  C3  Least Concern 
Black Stork Ciconia nigra breeding  1990-1992  24-26 breeding pairs  C6  Least Concern 
White Stork Ciconia ciconia breeding  2009  300-400 breeding pairs  unknown  C6  Least Concern 
Eurasian Bittern Botaurus stellaris breeding  1991-2000  27-120 males only  unknown  C2, C6  Least Concern 
Great White Egret Ardea alba breeding  2008-2009  10 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Western Marsh-harrier Circus aeruginosus breeding  1991-1997  170-296 breeding pairs  C6  Least Concern 
Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus breeding  1997  97 breeding pairs  C6  Least Concern 
White-tailed Sea-eagle Haliaeetus albicilla breeding  2005-2009  12-13 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Lesser Spotted Eagle Clanga pomarina breeding  2005-2009  34-35 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Greater Spotted Eagle Clanga clanga breeding  2005-2009  21-23 breeding pairs  good  C1, C6  Vulnerable 
Corncrake Crex crex breeding  2006  700 males only  poor  C1, C6  Least Concern 
Little Crake Zapornia parva breeding  1991-1997  27-80 males only  C6  Least Concern 
Spotted Crake Porzana porzana breeding  1991-1997  300-1,500 males only  C6  Least Concern 
Common Crane Grus grus passage  2009  1,900 individuals  good  C2  Least Concern 
Common Crane Grus grus breeding  2009  600 breeding pairs  medium  C6  Least Concern 
Great Snipe Gallinago media breeding  1991-1997  400-480 males only  C1, C2, C6  Near Threatened 
Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa breeding  2007-2010  200 breeding pairs  poor  C1  Near Threatened 
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata breeding  2007-2010  50 breeding pairs  poor  C1  Near Threatened 
Ruff Calidris pugnax passage  2007-2010  20,000 individuals  poor  C2  Least Concern 
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida breeding  1991-2000  1-150 breeding pairs  medium  C6  Least Concern 
Black Tern Chlidonias niger breeding  1991-1997  200-700 breeding pairs  C2, C6  Least Concern 
Eurasian Eagle-owl Bubo bubo breeding  2005-2009  34-35 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 
Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus breeding  2008-2009  4 breeding pairs  poor  C6  Least Concern 
Picus canus breeding  1990-1997  70-80 breeding pairs  C6  Not Recognised 
Dendrocopos leucotos breeding  2005-2009  100 breeding pairs  medium  C6  Not Recognised 
Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola breeding  2009  2,528 males only  good  C1, C6  Vulnerable 
Bluethroat Luscinia svecica breeding  2006  100 breeding pairs  poor  C6  Least Concern 
Ficedula parva breeding  1991-1997  250-350 breeding pairs  unknown  C6  Not Recognised 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds passage  2007-2010  100,000 individuals  poor  C4   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Biebrza National Park Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 59,233 protected area contained by site 59,223  
Biebrzanski PN National Park 59,223 protected area contained by site 59,223  
Dolina Biebrzy - PLH200008 Habitats Directive 121,206 protected area overlaps with site 105,823  
Ostoja Augustowska - PLH200005 Habitats Directive 107,069 protected area is adjacent to site 0  
Ostoja Biebrzanska - PLB200006 Birds Directive 148,509 protected area contains site 136,900  
Puszcza Augustowska - PLB200002 Birds Directive 134,378 protected area is adjacent to site 0  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Alluvial and very wet forest; Broadleaved deciduous woodland; Mixed woodland; Native coniferous woodland  26%
Other   1%
Grassland Humid grasslands  27%
Wetlands (inland) Fens, transition mires and springs; Raised bogs; Rivers and streams; Water fringe vegetation  31%
Artificial - terrestrial Highly improved re-seeded landscapes; Other urban and industrial areas; Ruderal land  15%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 26%
forestry 28%
not utilised 43%
nature conservation and research 47%
hunting -

Protection status National Partial International Partial59,223 ha of IBA covered by National Park (Biebrzañski, 59,223 ha). 59,223 ha of IBA covered by Ramsar Site (Biebrzañski, 59,223 ha).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Biebrza river valley. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/08/2014

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