There is a wide variety of bird species in Iceland. The reason for the abundance of birds in the area is because of Iceland’s geographical position in the North Atlantic, as well as its close proximity to Greenland.
Iceland’s lowlands have milder winters that winter birds such as the European Grey Heron can enjoy. One can observe the abundance of bird species that arrive from various parts of Europe and North America.
Iceland is a bird watcher’s paradise hosting some of the rarest yet sought after species of birds. One such rare specie is the Icelandic Gyrfalcon which is the largest falcon in the world. This Falcon is the most sought after bird by bird watchers and is regularly seen in the autumn.
Another quiet rare bird is the Phalarope. To top it off, Iceland has a long coastline which is excellent for cliff breeding birds and breeders of low coastal regions.
Some of the best places to view birds in Iceland include; Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands), the Breidafjordur area and Arnarstapi (Snaefellsnes peninsula). One can observe the spectacular duck species as well as waterfowl breeding at Mývatn lake. The Latrabjarg cliffs are ideal for watching and photographing seabirds and many bird-loving visitors flock the area for a great sighting.
Iceland has approximately 75 breeding species, with the most common species being the Atlantic Puffin. Close to Reykjavik, there is a colony that can account for 20,000 pairs of birds at any one time.
The cliffs of Iceland are occupied by Auks species which are of the same family as puffins. Razorbill are found on high cliffs while the Atlantic Puffins live in carefully crafted dug-holes to shield from the strong winds.
The Brünnich’s guillemot and guillemots are found on the steep perpendicular cliffs of the island. The stunning sights of an abundance of birdlife in Iceland make it a bird watchers dream.
Photo – Ólafur Larsen, Wikimedia Commons, Cc-by-sa-2.0-fr