Three of those sites also qualify as 'Ramsar' sites under the Convention of Wetlands of International Importance. The sites are already Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
The five sites are Loch of Strathbeg in Banff and Buchan, Westwater in the District of Tweeddale, The Rins of Islay and the islands of Mousa and Foula in the Shetlands.
The sites at Rinns of Islay, Mousa and Foula are also designated as Ramsar sites. Between them they support populations of rare and migratory species of birds such as the Golden Eagle, Corncrake, various species of geese, Peregrine, Chough, Common Scooter, Great Skua, Guillemot and Puffin.
'These sites are the latest in our programme and have been selected for special protection area status and Ramsar sites because of their great importance for rare and migratory birds.
'The government is committed to the classification of further special protection areas and Ramsars in Scotland and further sites are under consideration at present by Scottish Natural Heritage.'