SPA description
(information as published 2001)




Fetlar is one of the northernmost of the Shetland Islands in northern Scotland. The SPA comprises a range of habitats including species-rich heathland, marshes and lochans, cliffs and rocky shores. The principal areas of importance for birds are the northernmost part of the island and the south-western peninsula of Lamb Hoga. Most of the north of the island is vegetated by heathland and relatively species-poor grasslands owing to the influence of underlying serpentine-base-rich rocks. In wetter areas, small lochs and sedge-rich mires are present. Around the coasts are floristically rich maritime grasslands and heathlands. Lamb Hoga has heather moorland with areas of Cottongrass Eriophorum spp. dominated blanket bog. Fetlar SPA is of importance for a number of northern breeding waders, as well as breeding seabirds, which nest especially on the moorlands as well as in some of the other wetlands. 


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, 520 pairs representing at least 1.2% of the breeding population in Great Britain (Three year mean, 1994-1997)
Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus, 30 pairs representing at least 75.0% of the breeding population in Great Britain (Count, as at mid-1990s)
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, 90 pairs representing at least 0.8% of the breeding Baltic/UK/Ireland population (Count, as at late 1980s-early 1990s)
Great Skua Catharacta skua, 512 pairs representing at least 3.8% of the breeding World population (Count, as at 1992)
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus, 65 pairs representing <0.1% of the breeding Europe/Western Africa population (Count, as at late 1980s-early 1990s)
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 22,000 individual seabirds including: Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus, Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis, Great Skua Catharacta skua, Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea, Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus.



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.

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