A large complex of shallow (<4 m), eutrophic bays and five relict lakes in western Estonia. The lakes are in the northern part of the IBA and have developed from the former sea strait following tectonic land-rise. This complex is fringed by coastal meadows and vast reedbeds, and there are more than 40 offshore islets in the bays. The main human activities are agriculture, fishing, yachting and reed-cutting. About 1,000-2,000 m3 of mud is extracted annually from Haapsalu bay for its curative properties.
This wetland complex is an important staging site for migratory waterbirds, especially wildfowl (>40,000 at peak counts) and supports a good diversity of breeding waterbirds. Significant proportion (³1%) of national population breeding at site: Tringa totanus (min. 100 pairs), Chlidonias niger (min. 30 pairs).
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Haapsalu-Noarootsi bays. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/10/2020.