Summer Birding Destination - Iceland

Escrito em 14 de junho de 2023

Summer Birding Destination - Iceland

Iceland offers a great diversity of habitats for birdwatching. Despite lacking the species diversity found in other birding hotspots worldwide, the snow-capped volcanoes, countless waterfalls, lakes, green meadows and rugged fjords provide stunning scenarios for birdwatching. 

This country, located between the North Atlantic and the Arctic Oceans, is home to several breeding colonies of seabirds and shorebirds. So, species from these families are easily seen everywhere. Therefore, you should look for the peak of the breeding season to witness amazing mating rituals, see bussy colonies making nests or observe their first fledglings.


Northern Fulmar, Fulmarus glacialis.

For duck and swan species, you should look at the countless pounds and lakes, where we can easily see dozens or even hundreds of individuals. The most wanted species might be Whooper Swan, Greater Scaup, Harlequin Duck, and Barrow’s Goldeneye. Also, in these habitats, you will be able to see species of Loons too. 

The lakes Kleifarvatn, near Reykjanes peninsula, Þingvallavatn, east of Reykjavík, and the widely known Mývatn, on the island's northeast side, are places you shouldn’t miss.


On the other hand, if you visit the shore, you will be able to observe several species, from species of the Skuas and Auks families to species of the Gulls, Shearwaters and Cormorants families. Among many others, you might be interested in Parasitic and Long-tailed Jaegers, Black Guillemot, Atlantic Puffin, Nothern Fulmar, Black-legged Kittiwake, Iceland Gull, Glaucous Gull, and Arctic Tern. 

Either coastline would work fine for these species, but consider the West coast as it may be easier to access particularly the Snæfellsnes and Reykjanes peninsulas.



Atlantic Puffin, Fratercula artica.

Exploring fields, wet pastures, and meadows along the island will get you some shorebirds and geese, such as Pink-footed Goose, European Golden-Plover, Whimbrel, and Black-tailed Godwit. 

While you explore the island, keep an eye on the sky, as you may get some birds of prey. During this period, the most common in the country are the White-tailed Eagle, Short-eared Owl, Gyrfalcon, and Merlin.


In the mountains or the rocky parts of the island, spend some time looking for the tricky Rock Ptarmigan. And, always keep an eye and hear on breeding songbirds. Some of the most common are  Redwing, Eurasian Blackbird, and Common Redpoll. 

Finally, although it may be early, remember that Iceland is a country where American species are seen frequently, so keep an eye out for potential late or premature migrants, depending on the month you visit.