email a friend
printable version
Location United Kingdom, Scotland
Central coordinates 6o 21.64' West  57o 53.82' North
IBA criteria A4ii, A4iii, B1i, B1ii, B2, B3, C2, C3, C4
Area 211 ha
Altitude 0 - 125m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Site description Two large and two small islands with associated skerries, lying about 6 km west of Lewis in the Minch. The vegetation consists primarily of maritime heath and grassland. The islands support breeding seabirds and wintering and passage Greenland Branta leucopsis.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis winter  2003  435 individuals  good  B1i, B2, C2  Least Concern 
European Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis breeding  1999  506 breeding pairs  good  B3  Least Concern 
Razorbill Alca torda breeding  1999  8,046 individuals  good  A4ii, B1ii, B3, C3  Near Threatened 
Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica breeding  2000  65,170 breeding pairs  good  A4ii, B1ii, B2, C3  Vulnerable 
A4iii Species group - seabirds breeding  1999-2000  86,010 breeding pairs  good  A4iii, C4   

IBA Monitoring

2007 high very unfavourable low
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Agriculture and aquaculture marine and freshwater aquaculture - industrial aquaculture happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Climate change and severe weather habitat shifting and alteration happening now whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high

Branta leucopsis Barnacle Goose 490 435 individuals 89 near favourable
Phalacrocorax aristotelis European Shag 1780 506 breeding pairs 29 very unfavourable
Alca torda Razorbill 10970 8046 individuals 74 near favourable
Fratercula arctica Atlantic Puffin 76000 65170 breeding pairs 86 near favourable
Species group - seabirds A4iii 102614 86010 breeding pairs 84 near favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  Very little or no conservation action taking place  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Shiant Islands Site of Special Scientific Interest 212 is identical to site 211  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Heathland  80%
Grassland Humid grasslands  10%
Coastline Rock stacks and islets; Sea cliffs and rocky shores  10%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 90%
not utilised 10%

Related state of the world's birds case studies

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Shiant Isles. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife