SPA description
(information as published 2001)


image: SPA location map 


Noss is located on the east coast of the island of Bressay, to the east of mainland Shetland in northern Scotland. The site comprises high cliffs of Old Red Sandstone that reach 180 m. The steeper eastern part of the island is covered with maritime grassland and Calluna/Eriophorum heath, whilst lower land to the west is semi-intensified grassland. The horizontal bedding planes of the sandstone cliffs result in a high density of ledges suitable for nesting seabirds and accordingly the site supports large numbers of auks, gulls and Gannet Morus bassanus. On moorland areas large numbers of Great Skua Catharacta skua breed. The seabirds nesting on Noss feed outside the SPA in the immediately surrounding waters, as well as further away in the North Sea. 


Qualifying species

For individual species accounts visit the Species Accounts section

This site 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;
Gannet Morus bassanus, 7,310 pairs representing at least 2.8% of the breeding North Atlantic population (Count, as at 1994)
Great Skua Catharacta skua, 410 pairs representing at least 3.0% of the breeding World population (Count, as at 1997)
Guillemot Uria aalge, 30,619 pairs representing at least 1.4% of the breeding East Atlantic population (Count as at 1996)
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 100,000 individual seabirds including: Puffin Fratercula arctica, Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla, Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis, Guillemot Uria aalge, Great Skua Catharacta skua, Gannet Morus bassanus.



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.