Scotland’s seas support internationally important populations of breeding seabirds and wintering waterbirds.

Seabirds include those species that spend most of their life at sea or along the coast, some only ever coming to land to breed. Twenty-four species of seabird regularly breed in Scotland. The Seabirds assessment is based on breeding numbers and breeding success which are monitored through the UK seabird Monitoring Programme (SMP) which is a partnership project involving 19 organisations. Data from the SMP are used to produce the Scottish Biodiversity Indicator S005, based on 16 of the 24 species that breed in Scotland.

Waterbirds is a broad term that refers to birds that live on or around water. Scotland’s coasts are of particular significance for the internationally important number of migratory, wintering waterbirds that they support. The Abundance of wintering waterbirds assessment is based on a subset of 24 species of the Wintering waterbirds in Scotland (S04) indicator that comprises 41 species of marine and freshwater waterbirds. The marine waterbird index includes estuarine and coastal wintering waders, estuarine wildfowl, seaduck, and coastal water feeding birds. The index is based on data generated by the British Trust for Ornithology Wetland Bird Survey which is a partnership involving a network of volunteer and professional counters.