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Location United Kingdom, Scotland
Central coordinates 4o 24.44' West  59o 5.11' North
IBA criteria A4ii, A4iii, B1ii, B2, B3, C3, C4, C6
Area 19 ha
Altitude 0 - 15m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Site description Sule Skerry lies about 60 km west of Orkney Mainland, with Sule Stack a further 8 km to the south-west. The vegetation on Sule Skerry is limited by sea spray and bird activity, and is dominated by Tripleurospermum inodorum during the summer. A lighthouse is present. Sule Stack is a high, bare rock stack, with no vascular plants. Both islands are important for breeding seabirds.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
European Storm-petrel Hydrobates pelagicus breeding  2001  309 breeding pairs  good  B2, C6  Least Concern 
Northern Gannet Morus bassanus breeding  1998  5,137 breeding pairs  good  A4ii, B1ii, B2, C3  Least Concern 
European Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis breeding  1998  724 breeding pairs  good  B3  Least Concern 
Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica breeding  1998  59,471 breeding pairs  good  B1ii, B2, C3  Vulnerable 
A4iii Species group - seabirds breeding  1998-2001  72,717 breeding pairs  good  A4iii, C4   

IBA Monitoring

2007 high very unfavourable low
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

Hydrobates pelagicus European Storm-petrel 1000 309 breeding pairs 31 very unfavourable
Morus bassanus Northern Gannet 4890 5137 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Phalacrocorax aristotelis European Shag 700 724 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Fratercula arctica Atlantic Puffin 43400 59471 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Species group - seabirds A4iii 63788 72717 breeding pairs 100 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90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  Very little or no conservation action taking place  low 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)  
Sule Skerry Site of Special Scientific Interest 16 protected area contained by site 16  
Sule Stack Site of Special Scientific Interest 3 protected area contained by site 3  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Coastline Rock stacks and islets  100%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
other 5%
not utilised 95%

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Sule Skerry and Sule Stack. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016

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