email a friend
printable version
Location United Kingdom, Scotland
Central coordinates 3o 6.19' West  58o 52.82' North
IBA criteria A4i, B1i, B1ii, B2, C2, C3, C6
Area 25,122 ha
Altitude 0 - 32m
Year of IBA assessment 2007

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Site description A large sea area that separates the islands of Orkney Mainland, Hoy and South Ronaldsay, important for wintering waterbirds. An oil terminal occupies part of the IBA.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Melanitta fusca winter  1988-1989  41 individuals  good  B2  Not Recognised 
Common Loon Gavia immer winter  2000-2001  141 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3, C6  Least Concern 
Horned Grebe Podiceps auritus winter  2000-2001  141 individuals  good  B1i, C2  Vulnerable 
European Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis winter  1988-1989  2,800 individuals  good  A4i, B1i, C3  Least Concern 
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata winter  2001-2006  1,812 individuals  good  B2  Near Threatened 
Black Guillemot Cepphus grylle breeding  1999-2000  721 individuals  good  B1ii, B2, C3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

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

Agriculture and aquaculture marine and freshwater aquaculture - industrial aquaculture happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low
Energy production and mining renewable energy likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Pollution industrial & military effluents - oil spills likely in short term (within 4 years) some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Transportation and service corridors shipping lanes likely in short term (within 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low

Gavia immer Common Loon 170 438 individuals 100 favourable
Podiceps auritus Horned Grebe 50 141 individuals 100 favourable
Cepphus grylle Black Guillemot 830 721 individuals 87 near favourable

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management planning has taken place  Very little or no conservation action taking place  negligible 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Sand dunes and beaches; Shingle or stony beaches  -
Sea Open Sea; Sea inlets and coastal features  -
Coastline Rock stacks and islets; Sea cliffs and rocky shores  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture -
other -

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: Scapa Flow. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016

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