Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs)

BirdLife’s Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) Programme aims to identify, monitor and protect a global network of IBAs for the conservation of the world's birds and other wildlife. BirdLife Partners take responsibility for the IBA Programme nationally, with the BirdLife Secretariat taking the lead on international aspects and in some priority non-Partner countries.

Birds have been shown to be effective indicators of biodiversity in other animal groups and plants – especially when used to define a set of sites for conservation. So although the IBA network is defined by its bird fauna, the conservation of these sites would ensure the survival of a correspondingly large number of other animals and plants.

Data Zone Spotlight on IBAs gives the latest case studies from around the world.


IBAs in Danger

IBAiD Interactive Map

An increasing number of IBAs are under threat from damaging development – much of which is poorly planned and does not take environmental values into account.  The IBAs in Danger initiative provides an essential focus for governments, development agencies, the international environmental and conservation conventions, business and wider civil society to act to prevent the further damage or loss of these sites of international significance.

Ninety five BirdLife Partners provided data on the pressures at their most threatened IBAs. This has identified a set of IBAs at great risk of losing their natural value. 

We developed a map tool to portray the extent and locations of IBAs in Danger currently identified by the BirdLife International Partnership during 2014 . These 356 sites all face different problems, but all share one thing in common, that they have been identified as being in danger of damage or destruction.

To learn more about IBAs in Danger, check the Map tool


IBA Programme in brief

  • The 12,000 IBAs represent the largest global network of important sites for biodiversity. They are identified using internationally agreed criteria applied by local experts
  • IBAs are the sites needed to ensure the survival of viable populations of most of the world’s bird species. They hold a large and representative proportion of other biodiversity too.
  • Only 40% of IBAs have any form of protection. Protecting the rest is among the most urgent of global conservation priorities.
  • Recognising that formal protection can disadvantage local people, BirdLife works with communities at IBAs to combine conservation with sustainable livelihoods.

Find out more about Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs).

Programme news