SPA description
(information as published 2001)

Ailsa Craig

image: SPA location map 


Ailsa Craig is a cone-shaped granitic island, rising to 338 m, situated in the outer part of the Firth of Clyde, western Scotland. Cliffs up to 100 m encircle the island and provide nesting sites for a range of seabird species, notably one of the largest colonies of Gannet Morus bassanus in the world. The seabirds nesting here feed in surrounding waters outside the SPA as well as further afield. 


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, 32,460 pairs representing at least 12.3% of the breeding North Atlantic population (Count, as at 1995)
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus, 1,800 pairs representing at least 1.5% of the breeding Western Europe/Mediterranean/Western Africa population (Count, as at 1987)
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 65,000 individual seabirds including: Guillemot Uria aalge, Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla, Herring Gull Larus argentatus, Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus, 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.