Assessment and reporting on the ‘health’ of raptor populations for European directives and national designated sites

Internationally SRMS data are important in terms of the periodic (6 yearly cycle) reporting required by the EU on how member states are faring at implementing and managing the EU Birds Directive. This includes reporting on the status of species listed on Annex I of the Directive which includes many raptors and owls. Scotland has 8 Annex 1 species: Red Kite, White-tailed Eagle, Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Golden Eagle, Osprey, Short-eared Owl, Merlin and Peregrine. It is possible to look at the status and trends of each of these species at both the EU and Member State level on the European Topic Centre on Biological Diversity website.

SRMS data are also used by JNCC and SNH to gauge the condition of EU Special Protection Areas (SPAs) classified for raptors and owls and to inform species level assessments that are required under the periodic UK Government SPA reviews. The SRMS data help identify whether the UK has met its requirements for that species; whether there may be a need for further SPAs; and help identify areas for new SPAs when needed.

In Scotland there are currently 39 SPAs classified for raptors. In some cases one or more raptor species form part of a multi-species interest SPA with other bird species (e.g. Caithness & Sutherland Peatlands SPA), whilst in other cases an SPA might be raptor specific for one or more species (e.g. Cairngorms Massif SPA which is classified for Golden Eagles).

Nationally there are Sites of Special Scientific Interest that are notified for raptors and owls and again the SRMS data are important for reporting on how these sites are faring.

In Scotland there are currently 20 SSSIs where one or more raptor species is notified. Some of these are SSSIs that underpin the SPAs but others are not. In addition to sites that are specifically notified for raptors, there are many more SSSIs where raptors are important components of bird assemblage features.