The Dee Estuary

Site overview: The Dee Estuary is on the boundary between England and Wales on the north-west coast of Britain. It is a large, funnel-shaped, sheltered estuary that is made up of sand-flats, mud-flats and saltmarsh. The site is of major importance for waterbirds. During the winter, the flats and saltmarshes provide feeding and roosting sites for ducks and waders. In summer, the site supports breeding populations of two species of terns at levels of European importance. The site is also important during migration periods, particularly for wader populations moving along the west coast of Britain.

Designation Status
Last Updated
6 June 2017
MPA Type
Special Protection Area
MPA Purpose
areas of the most important habitat for rare (listed on Annex I to the Directive) and migratory birds within the European Union


53° 19' 2" North,
3° 11' 13" West

Surface Area

143.04 km2
(55.23 mi.2 )

Iconic features protected by this site


  • Marine areas, Sea inlets
  • Tidal rivers, Estuaries, Mud flats, Sand flats, Lagoons (including saltwork basins)
  • Salt marshes, Salt pastures, Salt steppes


  • Little tern (Sterna albifrons) (Annex I (species))
  • Bar-tailed godwit (Limosa lapponica) (Annex I (species))


  • Waterfowl assemblage


  • Common tern (Sterna hirundo) (Annex I (species))
  • Common redshank (Tringa totanus) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Sandwich tern (Sterna sandvicensis) (Annex I (species))
  • Red knot (Calidris canutus) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Eurasian oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Dunlin (Calidris alpina alpina) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa islandica) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Grey plover (Pluvialis squatarola) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Common shelduck (Tadorna tadorna) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Eurasian curlew (Numenius arquata) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Northern pintail (Anas acuta) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Eurasian teal (Anas crecca) (Regularly occurring migratory species)