North Colonsay and Western Cliffs SPA

Status: Designated


Site overview

This site is on the island of Colonsay in the southern Inner Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland.  The site is important for breeding seabirds, including gulls and auks. 

MPA Type

Special 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 date

1 March 1997

Surface Area

32.94 km2 (12.72 mi.2)


42.06 km (26.14 mi.)

  • 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.

  • Red-billed chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax)

    A crow with a bright red beak and red legs that can only be seen in the west of the British Isles.

  • Marine areas, Sea inlets

Did you know?…

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

Over 500,000 records of undersea species and habitats have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers