North Uist Machair and Islands

Year of compilation: 2000

Site description (baseline)
A complex of islands and coastal machair, on the west coast of North Uist.

First identified in 1989 as four separate IBAs (Baleshare and Kirkibost; Balranald; West Sound of Harris; Kilpheder to Smerclate, part only); 1992 combined and renamed to North Uist Machair and Islands. Descriptive text and bird data refer to the 2000 Inventory.

Key biodiversity
The IBA is important for both breeding waders and wintering geese and waders. It is also nationally important for breeding Anas clypeata (13 pairs, 1991-1993, 1%), and for wintering Calidris alba (415 birds, 1993, 2%) and Calidris maritima (365 birds, 1993, 2%). Anser anser are from the Hebridean population, while Branta leucopsis are from the Greenland breeding population.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
The main threats are posed by introduced American mink Mustela vison, polecats M. putorius, ferrets M. putorius furo, hedgehogs Erinaceus europaeus and rats Rattus on coastal islands, and oil spills (`Other' threat, above). There is ongoing monitoring of Crex crex. Part of the area is a candidate SPA and SAC.

Protected areas
National Partial International NoneIBA partly or wholly overlaps with the following national designated areas. Reserve: Balranald. Sites of Special Scientific Interest: Baleshare and Kirkibost, Balranald Bog and Loch nam Feithean, Machairs Robach and Newton, Vallay.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: North Uist Machair and Islands. Downloaded from on 01/06/2023.