Aggregations of non-breeding birds

Context

Non-breeding bird features on SSSIs can be notified if they qualify under criteria 3.3, 3.4 and 3.7 of Chapter 14 'Birds'  of the Guidelines for Selection of Biological SSSIs.  In Northern Ireland, ASSIs are selected on a very similar basis – the Guidelines for the Selection of Biological ASSIs in Northern Ireland is an addendum to the SSSI guidelines rather than an alternative. 
 
The criteria essentially cover:
  • localities regularly used by non breeding birds, such as by 1% of the total British non-breeding population;
  • localities used by birds in particular conditions, e.g. severe weather refuges;
  • localities used by at least 90 wintering species or at least 150 passage species. 
 
The Selection Guidelines for Special Protection Areas enable SPAs to be selected where an area is:
  • used by 1% or more of the Great Britain (or in Northern Ireland the all-Ireland) population of a species on Annex I of the Birds Directive; 
  • used 1% or more of the biogeographic population of a migratory species, or;
  • used by 20,000 individual breeding seabirds (seabird assemblage).  Within the breeding seabird assemblage individual species may be separately listed as qualifying features if their populations exceed 1% of the national population or 2,000 individuals.
 
Non-breeding bird populations can also qualify under criteria 5 and 6 (formerly 3a and 3c) of the Ramsar Convention:
  • Criterion 5. A wetland should be considered internationally important if it regularly supports 20,000 or more waterbirds.
  • Criterion 6. A wetland should be considered internationally important if it regularly supports 1% of the individuals in a population of one species or subspecies of waterbird.
 
 

Summary statistics

  SPA Ramsar A/SSSI Total
Favourable condition 84% 88% 80% 82%
Main monitoring coverage S, NI S, NI S, NI  
Reported assessments 216 99 516 831
Completeness of assessments 30% 10% unknown  
Distribution of features       UK
 

Number of assessments reported by country and site type

Country SPA Ramsar SSSI/ASSI
England 0 0 51
Scotland 189 77 196
Wales 1 0 0
Northern Ireland 26 22 269
United Kingdom 216 99 516
 

Natura features

List of Natura 2000 interest features within this reporting category

Interest feature name  
Formal name Informal name No. of assessments reported Total no. of features % assessed
Acrocephalus paludicola Aquatic warbler 0 1 0%
Anas acuta(North-western Europe) Northern pintail 2 17 12%
Anas clypeata(North-western/Central Europe) Northern shoveler 1 17 6%
Anas crecca(North-western Europe) Eurasian teal 4 21 19%
Anas penelope(Western Siberia/North-western/North-eastern Europe) Eurasian wigeon 6 24 25%
Anas platyrhynchos(North-western Europe) Mallard 2 5 40%
Anas strepera(North-western Europe) Gadwall 1 17 6%
Anser albifrons albifrons(North-western Siberia/North-eastern & North-western Europe) Greater white-fronted goose 0 4 0%
Anser albifrons flavirostris(Greenland/Ireland/UK) Greenland white-fronted goose 13 14 93%
Anser anser Greylag goose 13 17 76%
Anser anser(Iceland/UK/Ireland) Greylag goose 0 2 0%
Anser brachyrhynchus(Eastern Greenland/Iceland/UK) Pink-footed goose 12 23 52%
Arenaria interpres(Western Palearctic (wintering)) Ruddy turnstone 4 13 31%
Aythya ferina(North-western/North-eastern Europe) Common pochard 2 7 29%
Aythya fuligula(North-western Europe) Tufted duck 2 6 33%
Aythya marila(Northern/Western Europe) Greater scaup 5 8 63%
Botaurus stellaris(Europe (breeding)) Great bittern 0 3 0%
Branta bernicla bernicla(Western Siberia/Western Europe) Dark-bellied brent goose 0 20 0%
Branta bernicla hrota Light-bellied brent goose 4 4 100%
Branta bernicla hrota(Svalbard/Denmark/UK) Light-bellied brent goose 0 1 0%
Branta leucopsis(Svalbard/Denmark/UK) Barnacle goose 10 14 71%
Bucephala clangula(North-western/Central Europe) Common goldeneye 6 11 55%
Calidris alba(Eastern Atlantic/Western & Southern Africa (wintering)) Sanderling 2 11 18%
Calidris alpina alpina(Northern Siberia/Europe/Western Africa) Dunlin 5 26 19%
Calidris canutus(North-eastern Canada/Greenland/Iceland/North-western Europe) Red knot 3 22 14%
Calidris maritima(Eastern Atlantic (wintering)) Purple sandpiper 2 3 67%
Charadrius hiaticula(Europe/Northern Africa (wintering)) Ringed plover 5 21 24%
Circus cyaneus Hen harrier 2 19 11%
Clangula hyemalis(Iceland/Greenland) Long-tailed duck 3 4 75%
Cygnus columbianus bewickii(Western Siberia/North-eastern & North-western Europe) Tundra swan 2 18 11%
Cygnus cygnus(Iceland/UK/Ireland) Whooper swan 10 20 50%
Cygnus olor(Britain) Mute swan 0 3 0%
Egretta garzetta(Sub-Saharan Africa (breeding)) Little egret 0 1 0%
Falco columbarius Merlin 0 3 0%
Fulica atra(North-western Europe (wintering)) Common coot 0 3 0%
Gallinago gallinago(Europe (breeding)) Common snipe 0 1 0%
Gavia stellata(North-western Europe (wintering)) Red-throated diver 1 2 50%
Haematopus ostralegus(Europe & Northern/Western Africa) Eurasian oystercatcher 6 21 29%
Limosa lapponica Bar-tailed godwit 1 1 100%
Limosa lapponica(Western Palearctic (wintering)) Bar-tailed godwit 8 20 40%
Limosa limosa islandica(Iceland (breeding)) Black-tailed godwit 2 14 14%
Melanitta fusca Velvet scoter 3 3 100%
Melanitta nigra(Western Siberia/Western & Northern Europe/North-western Africa) Black (common) scoter 3 7 43%
Mergus merganser(North-western/Central Europe) Goosander 2 3 67%
Mergus serrator(North-western/Central Europe) Red-breasted merganser 5 8 63%
Numenius arquata(Europe (breeding)) Eurasian curlew 4 17 24%
Numenius phaeopus(Europe/Western Africa) Whimbrel 0 1 0%
Phalacrocorax carbo(North-western Europe) Great cormorant 5 10 50%
Philomachus pugnax(Western Africa (wintering)) Ruff 0 7 0%
Pluvialis apricaria(North-western Europe (breeding)) European golden plover 5 14 36%
Pluvialis squatarola(Eastern Atlantic (wintering)) Grey plover 3 23 13%
Podiceps auritus(North-western Europe) Slavonian grebe 1 3 33%
Podiceps cristatus(North-western Europe (wintering)) Great crested grebe 3 8 38%
Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax Red-billed chough 3 5 60%
Rallus aquaticus(Europe) Water rail 0 1 0%
Recurvirostra avosetta(Western Europe/Western Mediterranean (breeding)) Pied avocet 0 11 0%
Somateria mollissima(Britain/Ireland) Common eider 4 5 80%
Sterna sandvicensis(Western Europe/Western Africa) Sandwich tern 1 2 50%
Tadorna tadorna(North-western Europe) Common shelduck 4 23 17%
Tringa erythropus(Europe/Western Africa) Spotted redshank 0 1 0%
Tringa nebularia(Europe/Western Africa) Common greenshank 0 1 0%
Tringa totanus(Eastern Atlantic (wintering)) Common redshank 11 37 30%
Vanellus vanellus(Europe (breeding)) Northern lapwing 3 10 30%
Waterfowl assemblage Waterfowl assemblage 17 58 29%
 
Natura 2000 comprises Special Protection Areas (under the Birds Directive) and Special Areas for Conservation (under the Habitats and Species Directive). The list presented here includes all of the qualifying interest features under these Directives, and shows the proportion of these features for which a condition assessment has been made.
 

Ramsar features

List of Ramsar Convention interest features within this reporting category

Interest feature name  
Formal name Informal name No. of assessments reported
Anas acuta(North-western Europe) Northern pintail 1
Anas clypeata(North-western/Central Europe) Northern shoveler 1
Anas penelope(Western Siberia/North-western/North-eastern Europe) Eurasian wigeon 1
Anser albifrons flavirostris(Greenland/Ireland/UK) Greenland white-fronted goose 8
Anser anser Greylag goose 12
Anser brachyrhynchus(Eastern Greenland/Iceland/UK) Pink-footed goose 11
Arenaria interpres(Western Palearctic (wintering)) Ruddy turnstone 4
Aythya ferina(North-western/North-eastern Europe) Common pochard 1
Aythya fuligula(North-western Europe) Tufted duck 1
Aythya marila(Northern/Western Europe) Greater scaup 2
Branta bernicla hrota Light-bellied brent goose 5
Branta leucopsis(Svalbard/Denmark/UK) Barnacle goose 5
Bucephala clangula(North-western/Central Europe) Common goldeneye 2
Calidris canutus(North-eastern Canada/Greenland/Iceland/North-western Europe) Red knot 2
Calidris maritima(Eastern Atlantic (wintering)) Purple sandpiper 1
Charadrius hiaticula(Europe/Northern Africa (wintering)) Ringed plover 3
Cygnus columbianus bewickii(Western Siberia/North-eastern & North-western Europe) Tundra swan 1
Cygnus cygnus(Iceland/UK/Ireland) Whooper swan 4
Cygnus olor(Britain) Mute swan 1
Haematopus ostralegus(Europe & Northern/Western Africa) Eurasian oystercatcher 0
Limosa lapponica(Western Palearctic (wintering)) Bar-tailed godwit 6
Limosa limosa islandica(Iceland (breeding)) Black-tailed godwit 1
Mergus serrator(North-western/Central Europe) Red-breasted merganser 1
Numenius arquata(Europe (breeding)) Eurasian curlew 0
Phalacrocorax carbo(North-western Europe) Great cormorant 1
Podiceps auritus(North-western Europe) Slavonian grebe 1
Sterna sandvicensis(Western Europe/Western Africa) Sandwich tern 1
Tadorna tadorna(North-western Europe) Common shelduck 2
Tringa totanus(Eastern Atlantic (wintering)) Common redshank 7
Waterfowl assemblage Waterfowl assemblage 13
 
The list presented here includes all of the qualifying species under the Convention on Wetlands (The Ramsar Convention), and shows the proportion of these features for which a condition assessment has been made.
 

SSSI features

List of SSSI and ASSI interest features in this reporting category

Interest feature name  
Formal name Informal name No. of assessments reported
Anas acuta(North-western Europe) Northern pintail 6
Anas clypeata(North-western/Central Europe) Northern shoveler 15
Anas crecca(North-western Europe) Eurasian teal 14
Anas penelope(Western Siberia/North-western/North-eastern Europe) Eurasian wigeon 13
Anas platyrhynchos Mallard 1
Anas platyrhynchos(North-western Europe) Mallard 9
Anas strepera Gadwall 8
Anas strepera(North-western Europe) Gadwall 7
Anser albifrons flavirostris(Greenland/Ireland/UK) Greenland white-fronted goose 16
Anser anser Greylag goose 35
Anser brachyrhynchus(Eastern Greenland/Iceland/UK) Pink-footed goose 13
Arenaria interpres(Western Palearctic (wintering)) Ruddy turnstone 11
Aythya ferina(North-western/North-eastern Europe) Common pochard 13
Aythya fuligula Tufted duck 2
Aythya fuligula(North-western Europe) Tufted duck 11
Aythya marila(Northern/Western Europe) Greater scaup 11
Botaurus stellaris(Europe (breeding)) Great bittern 1
Branta bernicla hrota Light-bellied brent goose 9
Branta leucopsis(Svalbard/Denmark/UK) Barnacle goose 14
Bucephala clangula(North-western/Central Europe) Common goldeneye 19
Burhinus oedicnemus(Western Europe (breeding)) Stone curlew 1
Calidris alba(Eastern Atlantic/Western & Southern Africa (wintering)) Sanderling 3
Calidris alpina alpina(Northern Siberia/Europe/Western Africa) Dunlin 10
Calidris canutus(North-eastern Canada/Greenland/Iceland/North-western Europe) Red knot 9
Calidris maritima(Eastern Atlantic (wintering)) Purple sandpiper 5
Charadrius hiaticula(Europe/Northern Africa (wintering)) Ringed plover 10
Circus cyaneus Hen harrier 1
Clangula hyemalis(Iceland/Greenland) Long-tailed duck 3
Cygnus columbianus Tundra swan 5
Cygnus cygnus Whooper swan 2
Cygnus cygnus(Iceland/UK/Ireland) Whooper swan 22
Cygnus olor Mute swan 11
Fulica atra(North-western Europe (wintering)) Common coot 11
Gavia stellata(North-western Europe (wintering)) Red-throated diver 1
Haematopus ostralegus(Europe & Northern/Western Africa) Eurasian oystercatcher 12
Hirundo rustica Swallow 2
Larus canus Common gull 1
Limosa lapponica(Western Palearctic (wintering)) Bar-tailed godwit 11
Limosa limosa islandica(Iceland (breeding)) Black-tailed godwit 3
Limosa limosa Black-tailed godwit 3
Melanitta fusca Velvet scoter 3
Melanitta nigra(Western Siberia/Western & Northern Europe/North-western Africa) Black (common) scoter 4
Mergus merganser(North-western/Central Europe) Goosander 6
Mergus serrator(North-western/Central Europe) Red-breasted merganser 15
Numenius arquata(Europe (breeding)) Eurasian curlew 10
Phalacrocorax carbo(North-western Europe) Great cormorant 14
Philomachus pugnax Ruff 1
Pluvialis apricaria(North-western Europe (breeding)) European golden plover 11
Pluvialis squatarola(Eastern Atlantic (wintering)) Grey plover 6
Podiceps cristatus Great crested grebe 2
Podiceps cristatus(North-western Europe (wintering)) Great crested grebe 20
Somateria mollissima(Britain/Ireland) Common eider 9
Sterna hirundo(Northern/Eastern Europe (breeding)) Common tern 1
Sterna sandvicensis(Western Europe/Western Africa) Sandwich tern 1
Tachybaptus ruficollis Little grebe 10
Tadorna tadorna(North-western Europe) Common shelduck 15
Tringa nebularia Common greenshank 1
Tringa totanus(Eastern Atlantic (wintering)) Common redshank 14
Vanellus vanellus(Europe (breeding)) Northern lapwing 11
Assemblages of non-breeding birds Assemblages of non-breeding birds 4
Waterfowl assemblage Waterfowl assemblage 4
 
This list has not been fully standardised at a UK level yet. It is intended to show the principal constituent "feature types" for this reporting category.
 

Maps - distribution

UK distibution of reported interest features

Distribution of reported interest features.

Map showing the locations of the 10km squares in which at least one condition assessment has been reported. It does not show features that have not yet been assessed.

 

Maps - International

Distribution of SPA and Ramsar features showing assessments of favourability Condition of SPA and Ramsar features, with those currently reported as unfavourable-recovering shown as favourable
Current condition of SPA and Ramsasr features
Distribution of SPA and Ramsar features showing assessments of favourability (where unfavourable-recovering is counted as unfavourable).
Condition of SPA and Ramsar features, with those currently reported as unfavourable-recovering shown as favourable
The implication of the unfavourable-recovering condition assessments is that at some point in the future these features should become favourable. This map shows the effect of that recovery by counting the favourable and unfavourable-recovering assessments together.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: we do not have information on the timescale of the predicted recovery, which may be influenced by many past, natural and human related factors. A sustained sympathetic management regime is more likely to result in favourable condition being attained.

Key: Proportion of assessed features on 10km squares that are favourable:

Natura map legend - Key: proportion of assessed features on 10km squares that are favourable

 

Details of how these maps were produced

 

Maps - SSSI

Current condition of SSSI/ASSI features Condition of SSSI/ASSI features, with those currently reported as unfavourable-recovering shown as favourable
Current condition of SSSI/ASSI features
Distribution of SSSI/ASSI features showing assessments of favourability (where unfavourable-recovering is counted as unfavourable).
Condition of SSSI/ASSI features, with those currently reported as unfavourable-recovering shown as favourable
The implication of the unfavourable-recovering condition assessments is that at some point in the future these features should become favourable. This map shows the effect of that recovery by counting the favourable and unfavourable-recovering assessments together.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: we do not have information on the timescale of the predicted recovery, which may be influenced by many past, natural and human related factors. A sustained sympathetic management regime is more likely to result in favourable condition being attained.

Key: Proportion of assessed features on 10km squares that are favourable:

SSSI map legend - Proportion of assessed features on 10km squares that are favourable

 

Details of how these maps were produced

 

Condition summary

Reporting category condition summary on Natura 2000, Ramsar and SSSI/ASSI sites

This lists the 10 different condition assessments and presents a bar chart showing the number of features reported within the SSSI series, the Natura 2000 series (either SPA for bird features or SAC for features other than birds), and the Ramsar Convention. Note that for Natura 2000 and Ramsar we are able to estimate the number of features that have not been assessed during the 6 year reporting period - we are unable to do this for SSSI/ASSI because we do not have an overall list of notified interest features for these designations.

 

NB favourable unclassified and unfavourable unclassified have been used in this first six year cycle to get around difficulties in identifying trends in condition as common standards monitoring is implemented. It is expected that these categories will not be used for subsequent assessments of a feature.

 

Condition assessment - Natura 2000 features

The number and proportion of assessments for Natura 2000 (SAC and SPA) interest features falling into each of the condition categories
The number and proportion of assessments for Natura 2000 (SAC and SPA) interest features falling into each of the condition categories. Note that the �unfavourable� category includes all reports of unfavourable condition except �unfavourable recovering� which is shown as a separate segment.
 

Condition assessment - Ramsar features

The number and proportion of assessments for Ramsar Convention interest features falling into each of the condition categories
The number and proportion of assessments for Ramsar interest features falling into each of the condition categories. Note that the unfavourable category includes all reports of unfavourable condition except unfavourable recovering which is shown as a separate segment.
 

Condition assessment - SSSI features

The number and proportion of assessments for SSSI/ASSI interest features falling into each of the condition categories
The number and proportion of assessments for SSSI/ASSI interest features falling into each of the condition categories. Note that the �unfavourable� category includes all reports of unfavourable condition except �unfavourable recovering� which is shown as a separate segment.
 

Adverse activities

The number of interest features where an activity has been reported as being implicated in the "unfavourable" condition of a feature
The number of interest features where an activity has been reported as being implicated in the "unfavourable" condition of a feature. More than one adverse activity may be reported for each feature.
 

Management measures

The measures summary bar chart lists the management measures relevant to the reporting category
For each "measure" the chart shows the number of interest features where that measure has been taken on a site to improve or maintain the condition of an interest feature. More than one measure may be reported for each feature assessed.
 

Interpretation

81% of non-breeding bird features reported are in favourable condition.  This is above the average for species features and well above the average for all features combined.  80% of A/SSSI and 84% of SPA features reported are in favourable condition.  A further 1% of A/SSSI features reported are unfavourable-recovering.  88% of Ramsar features reported are in favourable condition. 
 
In more detail, for groups where more than 10 features have been reported, ducks are 78% favourable, geese 86%, grebes 92%, swans 62%, waders 83%.  Waterfowl (ducks, geese and swans combined), are 80% favourable. 
 
Very few assessments provided information on adverse activities and measures taken to address unfavourability or maintain features in favourable condition.  However, the following were provided for waterfowl and waders: water quality, water management, recreation and disturbance, natural events, game or fisheries management and agricultural operations.