Database release:

For Special Protection Areas (SPA),
Proposed Sites for Community Importance (pSCI),
Sites of Community Importance (SCI) and
for Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)



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1.1 Type


1.2 Site code


1.3 Site name

Puffin Island SPA

1.4 First Compilation date


1.5 Update date


1.6 Respondent:

Name/Organisation:National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

1.7 Site indication and designation / classification dates

Date site classified as SPA:1985-08
National legal reference of SPA designation No information provided


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2.1 Site-centre location [decimal degrees]:


2.2 Area [ha]


2.3 Marine area [%]


2.4 Sitelength [km] (optional):

No information provided

2.5 Administrative region code and name

NUTS level 2 code Region Name
IE02Southern and Eastern

2.6 Biogeographical Region(s)

Atlantic (0.00 %)


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3.1 Habitat types present on the site and assessment for them

No habitat types are reported for the site

3.2 Species referred to in Article 4 of Directive 2009/147/EC and listed in Annex II of Directive 92/43/EEC and site evaluation for them

Species Population in the site Site assessment
G Code Scientific Name S NP T Size Unit Cat. D.qual. A|B|C|D A|B|C
      MinMax  Pop.Con.Iso.Glo.
BA200Alca torda    800  800   
BA204Fratercula arctica    5125  5125   
BA009Fulmarus glacialis    447  447   
BA014Hydrobates pelagicus    5177  5177   
BA184Larus argentatus    47  47   
BA183Larus fuscus    139  139   
BA013Puffinus puffinus    6329  6329   
BA346Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax     
BA188Rissa tridactyla    250  250   
BA199Uria aalge    250  250   
  • Group: A = Amphibians, B = Birds, F = Fish, I = Invertebrates, M = Mammals, P = Plants, R = Reptiles
  • S: in case that the data on species are sensitive and therefore have to be blocked for any public access enter: yes
  • NP: in case that a species is no longer present in the site enter: x (optional)
  • Type: p = permanent, r = reproducing, c = concentration, w = wintering (for plant and non-migratory species use permanent)
  • Unit: i = individuals, p = pairs or other units according to the Standard list of population units and codes in accordance with Article 12 and 17 reporting (see reference portal)
  • Abundance categories (Cat.): C = common, R = rare, V = very rare, P = present - to fill if data are deficient (DD) or in addition to population size information
  • Data quality: G = 'Good' (e.g. based on surveys); M = 'Moderate' (e.g. based on partial data with some extrapolation); P = 'Poor' (e.g. rough estimation); VP = 'Very poor' (use this category only, if not even a rough estimation of the population size can be made, in this case the fields for population size can remain empty, but the field "Abundance categories" has to be filled in)

3.3 Other important species of flora and fauna (optional)


Population in the site


Group CODE Scientific Name S NP Size Unit Cat. Species Annex Other categories
     MinMax C|R|V|PIVVABCD
Larus marinus    72  72             
  • Group: A = Amphibians, B = Birds, F = Fish, Fu = Fungi, I = Invertebrates, L = Lichens, M = Mammals, P = Plants, R = Reptiles
  • CODE: for Birds, Annex IV and V species the code as provided in the reference portal should be used in addition to the scientific name
  • S: in case that the data on species are sensitive and therefore have to be blocked for any public access enter: yes
  • NP: in case that a species is no longer present in the site enter: x (optional)
  • Unit: i = individuals, p = pairs or other units according to the standard list of population units and codes in accordance with Article 12 and 17 reporting, (see reference portal)
  • Cat.: Abundance categories: C = common, R = rare, V = very rare, P = present
  • Motivation categories: IV, V: Annex Species (Habitats Directive), A: National Red List data; B: Endemics; C: International Conventions; D: other reasons


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4.1 General site character

Habitat class % Cover

Total Habitat Cover


Other Site Characteristics

Puffin Island lies approximately 0.5 km off the northern side of St Finan's Bay in south-west Co. Kerry. It is a long, narrow island composed of Old Red Sandstone. The island is almost divided into two halves - the southern half is a long narrow, rocky ridge, while the northern half broadens into a grassy plateau. The island is surrounded by mostly steep cliffs and slopes. The vegetation of the main part of the island is a typical maritime grassy sward though nine different plant communities have been distinguished, including a small area of Calluna vulgaris heath. An Armeria maritima community dominates the slopes. In the past Puffin Island has been grazed quite heavily by sheep and Oryctolagus cuniculus is common. The site encompasses Puffin Island and a seaward extension of 500m which includes the various islets and rocks around the main island.

4.2 Quality and importance

Puffin island is one of the most important seabird colonies in Ireland with an assemblage of over 10,000 pairs of breeding seabirds. The site had the largest population of Fratercula arctica and the second largest Puffinus puffinus population recorded in the Seabird 2000 survey, plus a large population of Hydrobates pelagicus (populations of Fratercula arctica and Hydrobates pelagicus are both of international importance). It also supports nationally important populations of Fulmarus glacialis, Larus fuscus, Larus marinus and Alca torda. It is less important for Rissa tridactyla and Uria aalge. Several pairs of Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax breed. The site is owned by BirdWatch Ireland and is a Statutory Nature Reserve.

4.3 Threats, pressures and activities with impacts on the site

The most important impacts and activities with high effect on the site

Negative Impacts
RankThreats and pressures [code]Pollution (optional) [code]inside/outside [i|o|b]
Positive Impacts
RankActivities, management [code]Pollution (optional) [code]inside/outside [i|o|b]

Rank: H = high, M = medium, L = low
Pollution: N = Nitrogen input, P = Phosphor/Phosphate input, A = Acid input/acidification,
T = toxic inorganic chemicals, O = toxic organic chemicals, X = Mixed pollutions
i = inside, o = outside, b = both

4.4 Ownership (optional)

No information provided

4.5 Documentation (optional)

Berrow, S.D., Mackie, K.L., O'Sullivan, O., Shepperd, K.B., Mellon, C. and Coveney, J.A. (1993). The second International Chough Survey in Ireland, 1992. Irish Birds 5: 1-10. Brazier, H. (1981). Seabird Studies on Puffin Island, Co. Kerry, 1981. Unpublished report for the Irish Wildbird Conservancy. Dublin. Cramp, S., Bourne, W.R.P. and Saunders, D. (1974). The Seabirds of Britain and Ireland. Collins, London. Creme, G.A., Walsh, P.M., O'Callaghan, M. and Kelly, T.C. (1997). The changing status of the lesser black-backed gull Larus fuscus in Ireland. Biology and Environment. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 97B: 149-156. Evans, P.G.H. (1973). Report on the 1973 Expedition to the Islands of Co. Kerry. Unpublished Report, Oxford University. Evans, P.G.H. and Lovegrove, R.R. (1974). The birds of the south-west Irish islands. Irish Bird Report 1973: 33-64Forest and Wildlife Service (1986). Proposed Nature Reserve Schedule at Puffin Island, Co. Kerry. Gray, N., Thomas, G., Trewby M. and Newton, S. (2003). The status and distribution of Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax in the Republic of Ireland. Irish Birds 7: 147-156.Harris, M.P. (1984). The Puffin. Poyser, Calton. Hunt, J., Derwin, J., Coveney, J. and Newton, S. (2000). Republic of Ireland. Pp. 365-416 in Heath, M.F. and Evans, M.I. (eds). Important Bird Areas in Europe: Priority Sites for Conservation 1: Northern Europe. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International (BirdLife Conservation Series No. 8). Irish Wildbird Conservancy (1982). Puffin Island Nature Reserve Management Plan. Unpublished. Lloyd, C. (1982). Inventory of Seabird Breeding Colonies in Republic of Ireland. Unpublished report, Forest and Wildlife Service, Dublin.Lloyd, C., Tasker, M.L. and Partridge, K. (1991). The Status of Seabirds in Britain and Ireland. Poyser, London. Merne, O.J. (1989). Important Bird Areas in the Republic of Ireland. In: Grimmett, R.F.A. and Jones, T.A. (eds). Important Bird Areas in Europe. ICBP Technical Publication No. 9, Cambridge. Mitchell, P.I., Newton, S., Ratcliffe, N. and Dunn, T. (2004). Seabird 2000: The Status of Breeding Seabirds in Britain and Ireland. Poyser, London.Trewby, M., Gray, N., Cummins, S., Thomas, G. and Newton, S. (2006). The status and ecology of the Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax in the Republic of Ireland 2002-2005. Final report of Birdwatch Ireland Chough Survey Team - Unpublished.


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5.1 Designation types at national and regional level (optional):

Code Cover [%]

5.2 Relation of the described site with other sites (optional):

Designated at national or regional level:

Type code Site name Type Cover [%]
IE21Puffin Island BirdWatch Ireland Reserve=100.00
IE02Puffin Island Nature Reserve-62.00

5.3 Site designation (optional)

No information provided


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6.1 Body(ies) responsible for the site management:

No information provided

6.2 Management Plan(s):

An actual management plan does exist:

No, but in preparation

6.3 Conservation measures (optional)

No information provided



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Map delivered as PDF in electronic format (optional)