Important Bird Areas

North Carolina

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North Carolina IBA Contact

Curtis Smalling

North Carolina IBAs by Type

IBA Priority Number Acres
Global 32 2,920,138
Continental 10 923,134
State 53 1,036,400
Total 95 4,879,672

Audubon's Important Bird Area (IBA) program is a conservation blueprint that helps Audubon, its partners, and landowners identify and safeguard the natural areas and landscapes that are most critical for maintaining bird populations, diversity, and habitats. In North Carolina, these living landscapes comprise more than 4.9 million acres ranging from man made islands where nesting coastal birds find refuge, to rugged Grandfather Mountain where challenging trails and scenic vistas attract tourists and hikers from all over the country. As watchful stewards of North Carolina's 97 IBAs, Audubon staff encourages landowners to use environmentally friendly practices and works with partners such as the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation, NC Wildlife Resources Commission, and local land trusts to craft management plans that benefit key bird species and habitats within their holdings. Audubon North Carolina depends upon an army of volunteers, including members of the state's local chapters, to help monitor close to 80% of the IBAs in the state through the Adopt an IBA program and other monitoring programs. IBA data has been folded into all the state's major conservation initiatives, including the Statewide Comprehensive Conservation Plan. Through ongoing monitoring of bird and wildlife populations, Audubon biologists stay informed of the health and vitality of every IBA. If legislation or land management threaten IBAs and birdlife, Audubon intervenes with measured, science-based strategies. In 2011, Audubon North Carolina published the second iteration of our "Important Bird Areas of North Carolina", which features descriptions, species lists, and maps. Visit our state blog at to view the publication online or retrieve our GIS layer files for the IBAs across the state. We are always looking for volunteers to help us monitor the IBAs around the state. Visit the Adopt an IBA page of our website to learn how you can get involved!

Site Namesort descending Status Priority Counties IBA Criteria
Alligator River Lowlands Recognized Global Dare D1, D3, D4ii
Amphibolites Recognized Global Ashe, Watauga B3
Bald Head - Smith Island Recognized Global Brunswick D3, D4i, D4ii, D4iii, D4v
Battery Island Recognized Global Brunswick D4i, D5
Beacon Island Recognized State Carteret D4i, D4iv
Big Foot Island Recognized Global Hyde D4i
Bird Island - Twin Lakes Recognized State Brunswick D1
Black and Great Craggy Mountains Recognized State Buncombe, Yancey D4i, D4vi
Blue Ridge Escarpment Gorges Recognized State Jackson, Transylvania D3, D4i
Bull Creek Recognized Global Buncombe
Bullhead Mountain - Mahogany Rock Recognized State Alleghany, Wilkes D4i, D4vi
Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recognized Global Dare, Hyde D3, D4i, D4ii, D4iii, D4v, D5
Cape Lookout National Seashore Recognized Global Carteret D3, D4i, D4iii
Carrot Island - Bird Shoal Recognized Global Carteret D4v
Caswell Game Lands Recognized Continental Caswell B3, D3, D4i, D4vi
Cat (Wood) Island Recognized State Carteret D4i
Catawba River - Mountain Island Lake Recognized State Gaston, Lincoln, Mecklenburg D4ii
Cedar Island Marsh Recognized State Carteret D4i
Chainshot Island Recognized State Carteret
Chimney Rock - Hickory Nut Gorge Recognized State Henderson, Rutherford D4i


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