Website technical difficulties

St Abb’s Head is one of Britain’s more accessible seabird colonies (since it is based on the mainland) and is home to internationally important numbers of guillemots and nationally important numbers of kittiwakes and razorbills. The sheer cliffs, deep gullies and offshore stacks provide the perfect habitat, safe from predators, for the tens of thousands of seabirds that nest here from May to July each year.

The cliffs also provide spectacular vantage points from which to watch these seabirds. As well as guillemots, kittiwakes and razorbills, there are shags, herring gulls and fulmars.

Guillemots are penguin-like birds with white fronts and brownish-black backs, and you’ll see them crowding tightly together on the broad ledges and sides of offshore stacks, especially to the north of the lighthouse. Razorbills look similar to guillemots, but have jet black backs and shorter bills with white markings. They prefer to nest in pairs or smaller groups.

Named after the call they make, kittiwakes are small, graceful silver-grey gulls with black wing tips. They build their grass and mud nests on sheer cliff faces and are unmistakable because of their cries of ‘kitti-waake’. Fulmars nest higher up on grassy ledges or crevices, defending their nests by spitting foul-smelling fish oil at intruders. They are supreme gliders with long, narrow wings. Shags and herring gulls prefer the low, flat rocks for nesting.

Look out for northern gannets too – in 2017 they bred at St Abb’s Head for the first time in living memory.