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Location United Kingdom, Scotland
Central coordinates 5o 11.27' West  58o 22.85' North
IBA criteria A4ii, A4iii, B1ii, B3, C3, C4
Area 366 ha
Altitude 0 - 123m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Site description A sandstone island with precipitous cliffs located a short way off the west coast of Sutherland. The vegetation comprises submaritime grass and heathland, with more species-rich maritime heathland on the clifftops. Herb-rich grassland occurs in more sheltered areas. The island is of major importance for breeding seabirds.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Great Skua Catharacta skua breeding  2000  195 breeding pairs  poor  A4ii, B1ii, B3, C3  Least Concern 
Common Murre Uria aalge breeding  1998  112,676 individuals  good  A4ii, B1ii, C3  Least Concern 
Razorbill Alca torda breeding  2001  16,991 individuals  good  A4ii, B1ii, B3, C3  Least Concern 
A4iii Species group - seabirds breeding  1998-2001  91,358 breeding pairs  good  A4iii, C4   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Handa National Nature Reserve 363 is identical to site 363  
Handa (SWT) Reserve 318 protected area contained by site 318  
Handa Island Birds Directive 368 is identical to site 366  
Handa Island Site of Special Scientific Interest 363 is identical to site 363  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Heathland  -
Grassland   -
Wetlands (inland) Standing freshwater  -
Coastline Sea cliffs and rocky shores  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research -

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Handa. Downloaded from on 18/09/2014

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