SPA description
(information as published 2001)

Moray and Nairn Coast

image: SPA location map 


The Moray and Nairn Coast SPA is located on the south coast of the Moray Firth in north-east Scotland. The site comprises the intertidal flats, saltmarsh and sand dunes of Findhorn Bay and Culbin Bar, and the alluvial deposits and associated woodland of the Lower River Spey and Spey Bay. It is of outstanding nature conservation and scientific importance for coastal and riverine habitats and supports a range of wetland birds throughout the year. In summer it supports nesting Osprey Pandion haliaetus, whilst in winter it supports large numbers of Iceland/Greenland Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus, Icelandic Greylag Goose Anser anser and other waterbirds, especially ducks, sea-ducks and waders. The geese feed away from the SPA on surrounding agricultural land during the day. . The sea-ducks feed, loaf and roost over inundated intertidal areas within the site, but also away from the SPA in the open waters of the Moray Firth.


Moray and Nairn Coast SPA forms an integral ecological component of the Moray Basin Firths and Bays, of which it is the easternmost unit.

Qualifying species

For individual species accounts visit the Species Accounts section

This site qualifies under Article 4.1 of the Directive (79/409/EEC) by supporting populations of European importance of the following species listed on Annex I of the Directive:
During the breeding season;
Osprey Pandion haliaetus, 7 pairs representing at least 7.0% of the breeding population in Great Britain (Count, as at early 1990s)
Over winter;
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica, 1,156 individuals representing at least 2.2% of the wintering population in Great Britain (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
This site also qualifies under Article 4.2 of the Directive (79/409/EEC) by supporting populations of European importance of the following migratory species:
Over winter;
Greylag Goose Anser anser, 2,679 individuals representing at least 2.7% of the wintering Iceland/UK/Ireland population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus, 139 individuals representing <0.1% of the wintering Eastern Greenland/Iceland/UK population (5 year peak mean 1991/2 - 1995/6)
Redshank Tringa totanus, 1,690 individuals representing at least 1.1% of the wintering Eastern Atlantic - wintering population (WeBS 1989-1993 and additional surveys)
Assemblage qualification: A wetland of international importance.
The area qualifies under Article 4.2 of the Directive (79/409/EEC) by regularly supporting at least 20,000 waterfowl
Over winter, the area regularly supports 20,250 individual waterfowl including: Pink-footed Goose Anser brachyrhynchus, Dunlin Calidris alpina alpina, Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus, Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator, Velvet Scoter Melanitta fusca, Common Scoter Melanitta nigra, Long-tailed duck Clangula hyemalis, Wigeon Anas penelope, Redshank Tringa totanus, Greylag Goose Anser anser, Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica.



Many designated sites are on private land: the listing of a site in these pages does not imply any right of public access.
Note that sites selected for waterbird species on the basis of their occurrence in the breeding, passage or winter periods also provide legal protection for these species when they occur at other times of the year.