Important Bird Areas

IBA Qualifications

What qualifies a site to be an Important Bird Area?

In partnership with the Biology Department of the University of Dallas, Audubon is identifying Important Bird Areas throughout Texas. 

Important Bird Areas, or IBAs, are sites that provide essential breeding, wintering and/or stopover habitat habitat for one or more bird species. IBAs may be a few acres or thousands of acres, but usually they are discrete sites that stand out from the surrounding landscape. IBAs may include public or private lands, or both, and they may be protected or unprotected.

To qualify as an IBA, sites must satisfy at least one of the following criteria. The site must support:

  • Species of conservation concern (e.g. threatened and endangered species)
  • Restricted-ranges species (species vulnerable because they are not widely distributed)
  • Species that are vulnerable because their populations are concentrated in one general habitat type or biome
  • Species, or groups of similar species (such as waterfowl or shorebirds), that are vulnerable because they occur at high densities due to their congregatory behavior

Identification of a site as an IBA indicates its unique importance for birds. Nonetheless, some IBAs are of greater significance than others. A site may be important at the global, continental, or state level. The IBA identification process provides a data-driven means for cataloging the most important sites for birds throughout the country and the world. The use of a hierarchical classification system further helps to establish priorities for conservation efforts.

Important Bird Areas are evaluated according to science-based criteria that have been reviewed by a statewide committee of ornithological experts. The sites will be evaluated with reference to the following three criteria: 

  1. Sites important to species of conservation concern in Texas
  2. Sites that contain rare, exceptional or diverse habitat
  3. Sites where birds concentrate in significant numbers 

If you would like to nominate an Important Bird Area, please complete the site nomination form and email it to Iliana Peña, Director of Conservation for Audubon Texas. 

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