SPA description
(information as published 2001)

South Uist Machair and Lochs

image: SPA location map 


South Uist Machair and Lochs is a complex site along the west coast of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides off the north-west coast of Scotland. This area is of outstanding importance for its transition of habitats from acidic moorland to the calcareous coastal plain, and for the transition from freshwater to saltwater habitats. This complex includes outstanding examples of relict woodland, moorland and blanket bog, large oligotrophic lochs, acidic blacklands, wet and dry machair with eutrophic machair lochs, freshwater marsh, saltmarsh, coastal dunes and sandy and rocky shores. These areas are of outstanding importance for their populations of breeding waterbirds, especially Corncrake Crex crex, terns and waders. The densities of breeding waders are some of the highest in the world. The site is also important in winter in supporting large numbers of Sanderling Calidris alba on the coast.

The site also includes the subsumed SPA of Loch Druidibeg, Loch a' Machair and Loch Stilligary, a site that was subject to separate classification.
For more information see Phased, extended and subsumed SPAs 

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:
During the breeding season;
Corncrake Crex crex, 15 individuals representing at least 3.1% of the breeding population in Great Britain (5 year mean, 1993-1997)
Little Tern Sterna albifrons, 31 pairs representing up to 1.3% of the breeding population in Great Britain (Four year mean, 1986-1990)
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;
Dunlin Calidris alpina schinzii, 357 pairs representing up to 3.2% of the breeding Baltic/UK/Ireland population (Count, as at 1995)
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus, 577 pairs representing up to 0.2% of the breeding Europe & Northern/Western Africa population (1994/5)
Redshank Tringa totanus, 350 pairs representing up to 0.6% of the breeding Eastern Atlantic - wintering population (1994/95)
Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula, 393 pairs representing up to 2.5% of the breeding Europe/Northern Africa - wintering population (Count, as at 1995)
Over winter;
Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula, 490 individuals representing up to 1.0% of the wintering Europe/Northern Africa - wintering population (Two year peak mean, 1993/4-1994/5)
Sanderling Calidris alba, 700 individuals representing up to 0.7% of the wintering Eastern Atlantic/Western & Southern Africa - wintering population (Count as at 1994/5)


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.