West Westray

IBA Justification

The site was identified as important in 2007 because it was regularly supporting significant populations of the species listed below, meeting ('triggering') IBA criteria.

Populations meeting IBA criteria ('trigger species'):
Species Current IUCN Red List Category Season Year(s) Population estimate at site IBA criteria met
Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea LC breeding 2000 2,166 breeding pairs C2, C6
Common Murre Uria aalge LC breeding 2007 50,613 individuals B1ii, C3
A4iii Species group - seabirds n/a breeding 1999-2002 43,019 breeding pairs A4iii, C4
A4iii Species group - waterbirds n/a breeding 1999-2002 37,500 breeding pairs A4iii, C4

The current IUCN Red List category may differ from that which was valid at the time of IBA criteria assessment (2007).

IBA Conservation

IBA conservation assessment
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2007 very unfavourable very high low
Was the whole site assessed? State assessed by Accuracy of information
yes population good

State (condition of the trigger species' populations)
Scientific name Common name Reference population Actual population Units % of population remaining Result
Rissa tridactyla Black-legged Kittiwake 31000 12055 breeding pairs 39 very unfavourable
Sterna paradisaea Arctic Tern 1140 2166 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Alca torda Razorbill 1761 813 individuals 47 unfavourable
Uria aalge Common Murre 60597 50613 individuals 84 near favourable
Species group - seabirds A4iii 44965 43019 breeding pairs 96 favourable
Species group - waterbirds A4iii 32171 37500 breeding pairs 100 favourable

Pressure (threats to the trigger species and/or their habitats)
Threat level 1 Threat level 2 Timing Scope Severity Result
Climate change and severe weather habitat shifting and alteration happening now whole area/population (>90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high

Response (conservation actions taken for the trigger species and/or their habitats)
Protected-area designation Management planning Other conservation action Result
Whole area of site (>90%) covered by appropriate conservation designation A management plan exists but it is out of date or not comprehensive Not assessed low
For more information about IBA conservation status, please click here

IBA Protection

Protected area (PA) PA designation PA area (ha) Relationship of PA with IBA Overlap of PA with IBA (ha)
West Westray Marine Protected Area (OSPAR) 0 protected area overlaps with site 0
West Westray Site of Special Scientific Interest (UK) 350 protected area overlaps with site 349
West Westray Special Protection Area (Birds Directive) 3,780 protected area contains site 349
Noup Cliffs Nature Reserve 21 protected area overlaps with site 0


Habitat (IUCN level 1) Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Shrubland Heathland -
Grassland -
Marine Coastal/Supratidal -
For more information about the IUCN Habitat classification, please click here.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
nature conservation and research -

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: West Westray. Downloaded from on 03/12/2023.