Fair Isle

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
European Shag Gulosus aristotelis LC breeding 2001 663 breeding pairs B3
Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea LC breeding 2001 1,254 breeding pairs C6
Great Skua Catharacta skua LC breeding 2001 143 breeding pairs A4ii, B1ii, B3, C3
Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica VU breeding 2000 40,000 breeding pairs B1ii, B2, C3
Razorbill Alca torda LC breeding 2000 3,599 individuals B3
Common Murre Uria aalge LC breeding 1999 39,257 individuals B1ii, C3
A4iii Species group - seabirds n/a breeding 1999-2001 90,576 breeding pairs A4iii, C4
A4iii Species group - waterbirds n/a breeding 1999-2001 10,210 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 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
Gulosus aristotelis European Shag 1070 663 breeding pairs 62 unfavourable
Sterna paradisaea Arctic Tern 1200 818 breeding pairs 69 unfavourable
Catharacta skua Great Skua 130 143 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Fratercula arctica Atlantic Puffin 8700 40000 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Alca torda Razorbill 3060 3599 individuals 100 favourable
Uria aalge Common Murre 37612 39257 individuals 100 favourable
Species group - seabirds A4iii 72430 90576 breeding pairs 100 favourable
Species group - waterbirds A4iii 21911 10210 breeding pairs 47 unfavourable

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 Unknown 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)
Shetland National Scenic Area 41,817 protected area contains site 0
Fair Isle Special Protection Area (Birds Directive) 6,825 protected area contains site 559
Fair Isle Marine Protected Area (OSPAR) 0 protected area overlaps with site 0
Fair Isle Site of Community Importance (Habitats Directive) 561 protected area overlaps with site 559
Fair Isle Site of Special Scientific Interest (UK) 561 protected area overlaps with site 559
Fair Isle Demonstration and Research Marine Protected Area 15,684 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 -

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Fair Isle. Downloaded from on 02/10/2023.