The Outer Hebrides (also known as the Western Isles or by their Gaelic name, Na h-Eileanan Siar) comprise an island chain off the west coast of Scotland.
The island chain forms part of the Hebrides, separated from the Scottish mainland and from the Inner Hebrides (right) by the stormy waters of the Minch (upper right), the Little Minch (center right) and the Sea of the Hebrides (lower right).
A faint phytoplankton bloom can be seen in the Atlantic Ocean, west of the islands.
The main islands form an archipelago. With their smaller surrounding islands these are sometimes known poetically as the Long Isle. The major islands include Lewis (top center) and Harris, North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist, and Barra.
Much of the western coastline of the islands is machair, a fertile low-lying dune pastureland. Much of the archipelago is protected habitat, and this includes both the islands and the surrounding waters. There are numerous rare species, including the golden eagle, basking shark, whale, dolphin, otter and corncrake.