Shetland is home and breeding ground to a wide range of rare and protected species. In addition, its unspoilt moorlands support a number of bird species. Sustainable Shetlands believes that destuction of habitat is just as bad for "common" species as it is for rare and protected species.

RSPB sensitivity maps

RSPB Shetland mapThe RSPB announced on 24 April 09 that they were changing thier approach to windfarm planing applications, and were looking to make better use of area sensitivity maps. The maps for Scotland and Shetland can be seen here.

Other Shetland bird reports and resources

A study was published in February 2005 relating to Merlin and Red throated divers in the Viking wind site and buffer zone. It is worth noting the report refers to the site and buffer zone as being "slightly over 100 km2". The public version of this study can be seen here

Red Throated Diver

(Gavia stellata,Shetland name Rain Goose )

More information from RSPB -

According to the RSPB there are 1255 breeding pairs in the UK, and Shetland is the UK stronghold for this bird. However a BBC report from September 2007 indicates that the Shetland population has dropped from 700 to 407 pairs.

Pair of Red Throated Divers in Shetland

Rain Geese (Red Throated Diver)

Image by Alec Moncrieff (aged 9)

Sleeping rain geese by Alec Moncrieff - click for larger image

Sleeping Red-throated divers

Image by Alec Moncrieff (aged 9)

Red throated diver in Shetland by Alec Moncrieff

Red-throated diver

Image by Alec Moncrieff (aged 9)

Whimbrel(Numenius phaeopus)

Shetland name Peerie Whaap)

More information from RSPB -

90% of UK breeding Whimbrel are in Shetland, and according to the RSPB there are only 530 pairs in the UK.

Golden Plover

(Pluvialis apricaria)

More information from RSPB at


(Falco columbarius)

UK population is about 1,330 pairs. This is the only regularly breeding bird of prey in Shetland. In recent years the Shetland breeding population has been less than 20 pairs. (Pennington et al 2004)

More information from RSPB at


Pennington, M., Osborn, K., Harvey, P., Riddington, R., Okill, D., Ellis, P., Heubeck, M., 2004. Birds of Shetland. Christopher Helm.