Irbe strait

Country/territory: Latvia

IBA criteria met: A4i, A4ii, A4iii, B1i, B1ii, C2, C3, C4 (2004)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 145,000 ha

Latvijas Ornitologijas Biedriba

Site description (2000 baseline)
The strait connects the Gulf of Riga to the open Baltic Sea. It comprises the coastal waters lying between Ovisi village and Cape Kolka, and extending from the shore of Kurzeme county to the offshore border with Estonia. Sand and gravel are the main bottom sediments. The benthic fauna is dominated by shellfish Macoma. The main marine-traffic routes from the Baltic Sea to Estonian and Latvian ports in the Gulf of Riga pass through the strait.

Key biodiversity
The strait supports internationally important concentrations of several seabirds in winter, e.g. Gavia stellata, G. arctica, Clangula hyemalis, Melanitta fusca and Cepphus grylle. There are also large concentrations of Mergus serrator and M. merganser. Species of global conservation concern that do not meet IBA criteria: Haliaeetus albicilla (wintering).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Irbe strait. Downloaded from on 01/10/2023.