A large wetland complex in western Estonia comprising shallow sea bays with many small islets, the Kasari delta, saltmarshes, extensive reedbeds, and coastal and flood-plain meadows. Fisheries, agriculture and forestry are major human uses of the area.
Matsalu Nature Protection Area is the most important bird area in Estonia, supporting very large numbers of migrating and/or breeding waterbirds, primarily wildfowl and especially seaduck. The site holds more than 20,000 waterbirds on a regular basis. Breeding species of global conservation concern that do not meet IBA criteria: Haliaeetus albicilla (3 pairs), Gallinago media (3 pairs). Significant proportion (³1%) of national population breeding at site: Chlidonias niger (min. 150 pairs), Bubo bubo (6 pairs). More than 60,000 divers Gavia (G. stellata/ G. arctica) fly through the area on spring migration (number of staging birds is unknown). The avifauna is very diverse, with 260 species recorded, including 170 breeding species.
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Matsalu Bay. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 31/01/2023.