SPA description
(information as published 2001)

Pentland Firth Islands

image: SPA location map 


The Pentland Firth Islands are located between the Orkney Islands and the mainland coast of north-east Scotland. They are a group of two main islands, Swona and Muckle Skerry, and a group of rocky skerries in the Pentland Firth. The islands contain a variety of habitats, including cliffs, rocky shores, maritime heath, moorland rough grassland marsh and open freshwater. They provide strategic nesting localities for Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea which feed outside the SPA in the rich surrounding waters of the Pentland Firth.


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, 1,200 pairs representing at least 2.7% of the breeding population in Great Britain (4 year mean 1992-1995)



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.