Colonsay and Oronsay

Country/territory: United Kingdom

IBA criteria met: A4iii, B1i, B2, C2, C4, C6 (2000)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 5,086 ha

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds

Site description (2000 baseline)
Inner Hebridean island group with high craggy cliffs, machair, sand-dunes, heathland and farmed areas. A herb-rich sward occurs under the influence of sea spray, while the mainly acidic underlying rock supports wet, dry and maritime heaths.

First identified in 1989; extended and renamed from North Colonsay and Western Cliffs in 1992. Descriptive text and bird data refer to the 2000 Inventory.

Key biodiversity
The IBA also holds 11,000 pairs of breeding seabirds on a regular basis, and is also nationally important for breeding Crex crex (globally threatened: 8 calling males, 1996, 2%), Rissa tridactyla (5,650 pairs, 1986, 1%) and Uria aalge (9,050 pairs, 1986, 1%), and for wintering Anser albifrons flavirostris (200 birds, 1%). Branta leucopsis are from the Greenland breeding population.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Colonsay and Oronsay. Downloaded from on 02/10/2023.