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Seabird Monitoring Programme Report 1986–2019

Seabird Population Trends and Causes of Change: 1986–2019 Report

Please note that publication of the Seabird Population Trends and Causes of Change: 1986–2019 Report will occur in two stages. A summary of species-specific UK breeding seabird population trends is presented here, and full species accounts will be published on 20 May 2021. The latter will include trends compared at a regional level which are then presented separately for the UK, Scotland, Wales, England, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, all Ireland, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.

The table below provides at-a-glance UK population trends (as percentage change in breeding numbers) from complete censuses undertaken in 1969-70 (Operation Seafarer), 1985-88 (Seabird Colony Register), and 1998–2002 (Seabird 2000). Change from 1998–2000 to 2019 (i.e. over the period since the last national census) is estimated from trends derived from the Seabird Monitoring Programme sample of colonies, or from census results where these are available; this analysis is only available for species with sufficient data to accurately estimate trends.

This report should be cited as: JNCC. 2021. Seabird Population Trends and Causes of Change: 1986–2019 Report (https://jncc.gov.uk/our-work/smp-report-1986-2019). Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Peterborough. Updated 29 April 2021. 

 

Species Population change (%)
1969-70 to 1985-88
Population change (%)
1985-88 to 1998-2002
Population change (%)
2000-2019
northern fulmar +77 -3 -33
Manx shearwater n/a n/a n/a
European storm-petrel n/a n/a n/a
Leach's storm-petrel n/a n/a n/a
northern gannet +39 +39* +34**
great cormorant +9 +10 +16
European shag +21 -27 -40
Arctic skua +226 -37 -70
great skua +148 +26 n/a
black-legged kittiwake +24 -25 -29
black-headed gull +5 0 +26
Mediterranean gull n/a +10,900 +327
common gull +25 +36 n/a
lesser black-backed gull +29 +40 n/a
herring gull -48 -13 n/a
great black-backed gull -7 -4 -23
little tern +58 -23 -28
Sandwich tern +33 -15 -18
common tern +9 -9 -3
roseate tern -66 -83 +125
Arctic tern +50 -31 -5
guillemot +77 +31 +60
razorbill +16 +21 +37
black guillemot  n/a +3** n/a
Atlantic puffin +15 +19 n/a

*change between censuses in 1984-85 and 2003-04.
**change between censuses in 2003-04 and 2013–2015.
n/a: insufficient sample size or extremely wide confidence limits, so figure not provided.

 

Information about the population status of the common birds of the wider UK countryside (updated to 2019) can be accessed via the BTO report Bird Trends: trends in numbers, breeding success and survival for UK breeding birds.

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Previous reports

The report has been published online since 2009. Details of the previous reports are available through The National Archives website. 

Seabird Population Trends and Causes of Change: 1986–2018 Report

Seabird Population Trends and Causes of Change: 1986–2015 Report

Seabird Population Trends and Causes of Change: 1986–2014 Report

Seabird Population Trends and Causes of Change: 1986–2013 Report

Seabird Population Trends and Causes of Change: 1986–2012 Report

Seabird Population Trends and Causes of Change: 2012 Report (provides results up to the year 2011)

Seabird Population Trends and Causes of Change: 2011 Report (provides results up to the year 2010)

Seabird Population Trends and Causes of Change: 2010 Report (provides results up to the year 2009)

Prior to 2009, these trends were published in 'Seabird numbers and breeding success in Britain and Ireland'. Copies of these reports are available on JNCC's Resource Hub.

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