SPA description
(information as published 2001)

Sumburgh Head

image: SPA location map 


Sumburgh Head is located at the most southern tip of the Shetland mainland in northern Scotland. The site comprises boulder-strewn beaches and cliffs up to 100 m high along the east side of Sumburgh Head. The site is of importance as a breeding area for several species of seabirds, including terns, auks and gulls. These seabirds feed outside the SPA, both in the waters immediately around Sumburgh Head, and further away. 


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;
Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea, 700 pairs representing at least 1.6% of the breeding population in Great Britain (Count as at 1994)
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 35,000 individual seabirds (Count period ongoing) including: Guillemot Uria aalge, Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla, Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis, Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea.



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.