Sumburgh Head SPA
This site is located at the most southern tip of the Shetland mainland in northern Scotland. The site comprises boulder-strewn beaches and cliffs up to 100 m high along the east side of Sumburgh Head. The area is a breeding area for several species of seabirds, including terns, auks and gulls.
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 March 1996
Surface Area24.81 km2 (9.58 mi.2)
Perimeter41.19 km (25.59 mi.)
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.
Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea)
A bird with one of the longest migrations of any bird species. They often travel between the Arctic and Antarctic each year. They breed in coastal colonies, and feed mostly on small fish which they pick from the top few centimetres of the water column.
Did you know?…
Over half a million people have voiced their support for ‘marine protected area’ designation in the UK through our campaigns
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