Shiant Isles SPA
The Shiant Isles are a small island group in the Minch, east of the Outer Hebrides. There are three large islands and several small islands and skerries. In summer this is an important breeding area for seabirds, especially auks and fulmars. In winter, the islands support a flock of Greenland barnacle geese.
MPA TypeSpecial Protection Area
Special Protection Areas (SPAs) are strictly protected sites designated uner European legislation. They are established to protect rare and vulnerable birds and for regularly occurring migratory species.
Designation date1 August 1992
Surface Area69.29 km2 (26.75 mi.2)
Perimeter33.56 km (20.86 mi.)
Razorbill (Alca torda)
A migratory bird that breeds on coastal cliffs and spends the rest of the year at sea feeding on small fish like sandeel, sprat and herring.
Atlantic puffin (Fratercula arctica)
Puffins are unmistakable and much loved birds. Sometimes referred to as the clown among seabirds they are one of the world’s favourite birds. With half of the UK population at only a few sites it is a Red List species.
Northern fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis)
Almost gull-like, this grey and white seabird is related to the albatrosses. It flies low over the sea on stiff wings.
Black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla)
A small cliff nesting seabird named for it its nasal “ki-ti-waak”” callnotes. The population is declining in some areas
Seabird assemblage (Seabird assemblage)
Important areas where a number of seabird species occur in significant numbers.
Common guillemot (Uria aalge)
One of the most common birds breeding on sheer, crowded cliffs known as ‘seabird cities’. This seabird only comes to land to breed and spends the rest of its life at sea.
Barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis)
A medium sized goose not seen in summer in the UK. Because it only appeared in winter, people in the Middle Ages believed the geese were developing underwater and hatched from barnacles - hence the name.
European shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis)
An inshore seabird that is only found in the northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean. It is seldom seen out of sight of land and nests on particular islands and cliffs in colonies of up to several thousand pairs.
Did you know?…
Over 500,000 records of undersea species and habitats have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers
An area over 9 times the size of Wales is now in marine protected areas in the UK, but less than 1% is considered by MCS scientists to be well managed
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