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Location United Kingdom, Scotland
Central coordinates 2o 13.79' West  57o 40.74' North
IBA criteria A4iii, B1ii, B3, C3, C4
Area 171 ha
Altitude 0 - 111m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Site description A stretch of low cliffs and small areas of maritime grassland, heathland and herb-rich grasslands and flushes situated along the north Buchan coast. The site holds breeding seabirds and waterbirds. It is one of only two Sula bassana breeding colonies on the UK mainland.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Common Murre Uria aalge breeding  2001  47,737 individuals  good  B1ii, C3  Least Concern 
Razorbill Alca torda breeding  2001  4,892 individuals  good  B3  Near Threatened 
A4iii Species group - seabirds breeding  1998-2001  39,694 breeding pairs  good  A4iii, C4   
A4iii Species group - waterbirds breeding  1998-2001  20,625 breeding pairs  good  A4iii, C4   

IBA Monitoring

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

Energy production and mining renewable energy likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low

Rissa tridactyla Black-legged Kittiwake 31700 18657 breeding pairs 59 unfavourable
Uria aalge Common Murre 44626 47737 individuals 100 favourable
Alca torda Razorbill 4806 4892 individuals 100 favourable
Species group - waterbirds A4iii 36052 20625 breeding pairs 58 unfavourable
Species group - seabirds A4iii 38404 39694 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90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation  A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive  Substantive conservation measures are being implemented but these are not comprehensive and are limited by resources and capacity  medium 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Gamrie and Pennan Coast Site of Special Scientific Interest 322 protected area contains site 171  
Troup Head RSPB Reserve 30 protected area contained by site 30  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Heathland; Scrub  2%
Grassland   6%
Wetlands (inland) Shingle or stony beaches  2%
Coastline Sea cliffs and rocky shores  90%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
not utilised 100%

Related state of the world's birds case studies

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Troup, Pennan and Lion Heads. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

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