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Location United Kingdom, Scotland
Central coordinates 6o 16.58' West  55o 37.01' North
IBA criteria B1i, C2, C3, C6
Area 4,423 ha
Altitude 0 - 200m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Site description A peninsula in the south-west of Islay, exposed to the prevailing south-westerly weather. This results in a highly oceanic climate with closer ecological affinities to western Ireland than to the rest of Britain. The IBA includes rocky shore, blanket mire, heathland and farmland habitats. The site is important wintering greese, and for breeding raptors and other upland species. Anser albifrons are the flavirostris subspecies.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons winter  1988-1989  1,490 individuals  good  B1i, C2, C3, C6  Least Concern 
Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax resident  2006  7 breeding pairs  good  C6  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

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

Agriculture and aquaculture livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax Red-billed Chough 7 7 breeding pairs 100 favourable

Some of site covered (10-49%)  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  Substantive conservation measures are being implemented but these are not comprehensive and are limited by resources and capacity  low 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
The Oa RSPB Reserve 2,154 protected area contained by site 2,154  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Heathland  -
Wetlands (inland) Blanket bogs  -
Coastline Sea cliffs and rocky shores  -
Artificial - terrestrial Arable land  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture 95%
forestry 5%

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: The Oa. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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