Skip to Content

Seabird Monitoring Programme

The Seabird Monitoring Programme (SMP) is an ongoing annual monitoring programme, established in 1986, of 25 species of seabird that breed regularly in Britain and Ireland. This programme is a partnership of 19 organisations and is co-ordinated by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC). It aims to ensure that sample data on breeding numbers and breeding success of seabirds are collected, both regionally and nationally, to enable their conservation status to be assessed.

Along with annual monitoring, the SMP is also supplemented by periodic censuses, which aim to provide counts for all sites in Britain and Ireland. Seabirds Count 2015–2021 is the 4th national census.


With the easing of restrictions across the UK, professional and volunteer survey work contributing to the Seabird Monitoring Programme, and Seabirds Count census, can now resume. Those undertaking breeding seabird surveys should follow all government guidance for their geographic region.  




Northern Ireland:

Please only conduct breeding seabird surveys if you feel comfortable doing so and can do so safely. Where required, please seek landowner permission before accessing sites, and be respectful of any ongoing access restrictions put in place, including car-park closures.

SMP Results & Data

Seabirds are good indicators of the health of the marine environment and SMP data are used to create indicators at regional and international scales, which help inform marine policy and regulation. Use of marine resources can affect populations and SMP data are used by industries to assess the impacts of activities and projects.

View the latest population trends from the SMP, including analysis of abundance, productivity, survival and diet data, together with interpretation of the likely causes of change.

You can download or view breeding abundance and success data directly from the SMP online database or data can be requested from the SMP team.

Data from the previous national seabird censuses are also available for download.

Important: By accessing the above datasets you agree to be bound by the Terms and Conditions of the Seabird Monitoring Programme Data Access/Use Policy and by JNCC's Privacy Policy.

Data that partners to the SMP consider to be sensitive have been removed from the above datasets. These relate to Leach's storm-petrel, roseate tern, little tern, Mediterranean gull and, for Ireland, great skua. Data requests for these species will be considered by SMP on a case by case basis, taking into consideration species protection needs.


Submit Seabird Colony Data

Recommended sampling methods for population and productivity monitoring are described in the Seabird Monitoring Handbook for Britain and Ireland.

The SMP relies on partner organisations, volunteers and others to collect the data that build a picture of seabird trends, the causes of change and what can to be done to conserve them. Please contribute by submitting your records directly onto the SMP online database. Alternatively, if you are unable to submit data online, please complete and return the relevant form via email, or post them to the: Seabird Colony Team, JNCC, Inverdee House, Baxter Street, Aberdeen, AB11 9QA.


SMP Partner Organisations



UK CEH logo




Manx Birdlife logo

Manx National Heritage logo

National Trust for Scotland







Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications


States of Guernsey logo












Published: .

Back to top