South Uist Machair and Lochs

Site overview: This site is on the west coast of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides, off the north-west coast of Scotland. Here, freshwater changes to saltwater, creating a unique habitat. Saltmarsh, coastal dunes and sandy and rocky shores are also found here. Corncrakes, terns and waders all call this area home. In fact the number of breeding waders is some of the highest in the world. The site is also important in winter in supporting large numbers of sanderlings on the coast.

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


57° 18' 52" North,
7° 22' 32" West

Surface Area

50.18 km2
(19.38 mi.2 )

Iconic features protected by this site


  • Tidal rivers, Estuaries, Mud flats, Sand flats, Lagoons (including saltwork basins)


  • Ringed plover (Charadrius hiaticula) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Greylag goose (Anser anser [North-western Scotland]) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Sanderling (Calidris alba) (Regularly occurring migratory species)
  • Little tern (Sterna albifrons) (Annex I (species))