What is an Important Bird Area?
Important Bird Areas, or IBAs, are sites that provide essential habitat for one or more bird species. IBAs include sites for breeding, wintering, and/or migrating birds. IBAs may be a few acres, but they are usually sites or landscapes that stand out from their surroundings.
To qualify as an Important Bird Area, sites must satisfy at least one of the following criteria. The area must support:
- Species of conservation concern (e.g., Cerulean Warbler, Henslow’s Sparrow, etc.)
- Species that are vulnerable because their populations are concentrated in one general habitat or biome type (e.g., Wood Thrush, Dickcissel, etc.); also termed “responsibility species”
- An outstanding example of a representative or rare habitat type
- Species, or groups of similar species, that are vulnerable because they occur at high densities due to their congregatory behavior