Outer Hebrides Biological Recording

From the peat bogs of Lewis to the machair of the Uists and the cold water coral reefs off Mingulay, the Outer Hebrides archipelago is home to a diverse range of habitats and wildlife of international importance. Travellers have been writing about the flora and fauna of the islands since the late 17th century and more recently there have been numerous ecological and biological surveys by academic institutions, environmental organisations and government departments. Unfortunately most of this information is not easily accessible.

Over the years a number of studies recognised that the establishment of a local biological records centre would improve access to biodiversity information and help raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity in the community. Finally in 2012, a group of amateur naturalists established Outer Hebrides Biological Recording as a voluntary organisation with a simple mission of "putting more dots on the map". The idea is simple, to collect and collate information about the animals, plants and fungi which are found in the islands and to make this data available to everyone.

This information is needed to help to build a more comprehensive understanding of our local biodiversity and to help ensure that decisions that may affect the quality of our natural environment are made with the best available knowledge. We maintain a database of biological records and make our records accessible through the National Biodiversity Network Atlas Scotland and the OHBR websites.

To help achieve our objectives we encourage individuals to become involved in biological recording and communities to recognise the importance of maintaining biodiversity to conserve their natural heritage. We offer support and guidance for local biological recorders, providing training opportunities for new and more experienced recorders to improve their skills. We are committed to working together with a range of academic and conservation bodies, professional biologists and other amateur naturalists, providing local knowledge and expertise to discover more about the natural life of our islands.

We would like to acknowledge the expertise, commitment and generosity of the OHBR team of recorders who are turning an aspiration into reality and "putting dots" on the distribution maps for the Outer Hebrides for the benefit of us all.


Outer Hebrides map


The Outer Hebrides lie 70 km off the west coast of Scotland and comprise over 15 inhabited islands and over 100 smaller islands and skerries. The main archipelago extends over 200 km from Lewis in the north to Mingulay in the south. The outlying, remote, North Atlantic islands of St. Kilda, Sula Sgeir and North Rona are not geologically part of the archipelago but have cultural links to the Outer Hebrides

Scottish Natural Heritage

OHBR is managed and operated by a team of four volunteers and the management of our database is supported by Scottish Natural Heritage as part of a joint initiative with Highland Biological Recording Group and Lorne Natural History Group.

CurracagOuter Hebrides Natural History Society

Working together to promote an interest and enjoyment of our wildlife