email a friend
printable version
Location United Kingdom, Scotland
Central coordinates 8o 34.81' West  57o 48.94' North
IBA criteria A4ii, A4iii, B1i, B1ii, B2, B3, C2, C3, C4, C6
Area 860 ha
Altitude 0 - 384m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Site description A group of islands and smaller rocky islets with precipitous cliffs, situated about 70 km west of North Uist. The vegetation, influenced by sea spray, seabirds and livestock, consists of acidic grassland and submaritime heath. These islands are of outstanding importance for their breeding seabirds. An endemic subspecies of Troglodytes troglodytes is present.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Northern Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis breeding  1999  68,448 breeding pairs  good  A4ii, B1ii, C3  Least Concern 
Leach's Storm-petrel Hydrobates leucorhous breeding  1999  45,433 breeding pairs  good  B1i, B2, C2, C6  Least Concern 
Northern Gannet Morus bassanus breeding  1999  61,340 breeding pairs  good  A4ii, B1ii, B2, C3  Least Concern 
Great Skua Catharacta skua breeding  1999  168 breeding pairs  good  A4ii, B1ii, B3, C3  Least Concern 
Razorbill Alca torda breeding  1999  1,689 individuals  good  B3  Near Threatened 
Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica breeding  1999  143,264 breeding pairs  good  A4ii, B1ii, B2, C3  Vulnerable 
A4iii Species group - seabirds breeding  1999  341,941 breeding pairs  good  A4iii, C4   

IBA Monitoring

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

Climate change and severe weather habitat shifting and alteration happening now whole area/population (>90%) slow but significant deterioration high

Fulmarus glacialis Northern Fulmar 63000 68448 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Hydrobates leucorhous Leach's Storm-petrel 3200 45433 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Morus bassanus Northern Gannet 60500 61340 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Catharacta skua Great Skua 145 168 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Alca torda Razorbill 3821 1689 individuals 45 unfavourable
Fratercula arctica Atlantic Puffin 130000 143264 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Species group - seabirds A4iii 275738 341941 breeding pairs 100 favourable

Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A comprehensive and appropriate management plan exists that aims to maintain or improve the populations of qualifying bird species  The conservation measures needed for the site are being comprehensively and effectively implemented  high 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
St Kilda National Nature Reserve 872 is identical to site 853  
St Kilda Site of Special Scientific Interest 853 is identical to site 853  
St Kilda UNESCO-MAB Biosphere Reserve 865 is identical to site 860  
St Kilda World Heritage Site 24,201 protected area contains site 860  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Heathland  83%
Grassland Humid grasslands  5%
Coastline Rock stacks and islets  10%
Artificial - terrestrial Other urban and industrial areas  2%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
military 2%
nature conservation and research 98%

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: St Kilda. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016

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