SPA description
(information as published 2001)

Shiant Isles 

image: SPA location map 


The Shiant Isles are a small island group lying in the Minch east of the Outer Hebrides off the north-west coast of Scotland. The site comprises three large islands and several small islands and skerries, lying about 6 km east of the island of Lewis. The islands are composed mainly of a basaltic sill and include various types of coastline, including sheer cliffs and boulder screes, both of which provide suitable nesting sites for seabirds. In summer, the Shiants are important for breeding seabirds, especially auks and Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis. In winter, the close-cropped turf of the islands supports a flock of Greenland Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis. The seabirds feed outside the SPA in nearby waters, as well as more distantly elsewhere in the Minch.


Qualifying species

For individual species accounts visit the Species Accounts section

This site qualifies under Article 4.1 of the Directive (79/409/EEC) by supporting populations of European importance of the following species listed on Annex I of the Directive:
Over winter;
Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis, 172 individuals representing at least 0.6% of the wintering population in Great Britain (Three count mean, 1994, 1995 & 1997)
This site also qualifies under Article 4.2 of the Directive (79/409/EEC) by supporting populations of European importance of the following migratory species:
During the breeding season;
Puffin Fratercula arctica, 76,100 pairs representing at least 8.4% of the breeding population (Count, as at 1970)
Razorbill Alca torda, 7,337 pairs representing at least 1.3% of the breeding population (Count as at 1986)
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis, 1,780 pairs representing at least 1.4% of the breeding Northern Europe population (Count, as at 1986)
Assemblage qualification: A seabird assemblage of international importance
The area qualifies under Article 4.2 of the Directive (79/409/EEC) by regularly supporting at least 20,000 seabirds
During the breeding season, the area regularly supports 200,000 individual seabirds including: Guillemot Uria aalge, Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla, Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis, Puffin Fratercula arctica, Razorbill Alca torda, Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis.



Many designated sites are on private land: the listing of a site in these pages does not imply any right of public access.
Note that sites selected for waterbird species on the basis of their occurrence in the breeding, passage or winter periods also provide legal protection for these species when they occur at other times of the year.