As Staffa is a small island out at sea, its wildlife population is dominated by seabirds. A large colony of puffins breed on Staffa every summer and are always a firm favourite with visitors who can see them congregate on the cliffs, diving into the water then return with a beakful of fish. The best time to see the puffins is during the breeding season between the start of May and start of August when the birds have their distinctive colourful beaks.
Other seabirds that either nest or feed from the island include gannets, guillemots, razorbills, great northern divers, fulmars and great skuas.
In addition to Staffa’s rich seabird life, there is of course plenty of wildlife beneath the waves. On a trip to Staffa there are very often sightings of spectacular cetaecans such as dolphins, porpoises and, in the summer months, minke and fin whales. The warmer months also see the return of the mysterious and elusive basking shark whose massive fins are seen breaking the surface as it feeds.
The last grazing animals on Staffa were removed in 1997 resulting in a revitalising the island’s vegetation. While there are no trees, heather or shrubs, the variety of different types of soil provide fertile ground for such plants as buttercup, wild thyme, bird’s-foot trefoil and lichens that cling to the cliffs close to the major caves.