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Location United Kingdom, Scotland
Central coordinates 2o 8.72' West  55o 54.91' North
IBA criteria A4iii, B1ii, B3, C3, C4
Area 249 ha
Altitude 0 - 94m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Site description Exposed cliffs and cliff-ledges, which extend for over 10 km along the Berwickshire coast. The site holds breeding seabirds and waterbirds.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Common Murre Uria aalge breeding  1998-2000  43,744 individuals  good  B1ii, C3  Least Concern 
Razorbill Alca torda breeding  1998-2000  3,157 individuals  good  B3  Near Threatened 
A4iii Species group - seabirds breeding  1998-2000  32,161 breeding pairs  good  A4iii, C4   
A4iii Species group - waterbirds breeding  1998-2000  16,962 breeding pairs  good  A4iii, C4   

IBA Monitoring

2007 low near favourable low
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

No known threats no known threats happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Phalacrocorax aristotelis European Shag 430 329 breeding pairs 77 near favourable
Uria aalge Common Murre 31045 43744 individuals 100 favourable
Alca torda Razorbill 2194 3157 individuals 100 favourable
Species group - seabirds A4iii 23216 32161 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Species group - waterbirds A4iii 21620 16962 breeding pairs 79 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90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  Not assessed  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
St Abb's Head National Nature Reserve 77 protected area contained by site 77  
St Abb's Head to Fast Castle Site of Special Scientific Interest 257 is identical to site 249  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Broadleaved deciduous woodland  1%
Shrubland Scrub  5%
Wetlands (inland) Standing freshwater  5%
Coastline Sea cliffs and rocky shores  89%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 10%
nature conservation and research 20%

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: St Abbs Head to Fast Castle. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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