"Bird Watching" Iceland Things to Do Tip by Aaron7

Iceland Things to Do: 998 reviews and 2,342 photos


Iceland is a treasure trove of unique birdlife.
Iceland is probably best known as being the home to the puffin, a bird that looks like a cross between a penguin and a toucan. It sports a black and white coat with a colorful beak. It is one of the most numerous birds in Iceland in the summer. It spends its time nesting in the grass on the ocean cliffs and fishing in the cold water.
Then there is the arctic tern. It has the longest migration route of any bird. It spends its summers in Iceland and then flies all the way to Antartica in the winter! Now for a small bird, people tend to be very wary of the tern. They nest in large groups, and are very protective of their eggs. Intruders entering a nesting site get an upclose version of Alfred Hitchcock's 'The Birds'. We visited one such site before the eggs were due and the tour guide was sure to raise his cell phone over his head since the terns attack the highest point.
Oddly, the seagull seems to be highly regarded as a bird to view. They call it a Kittewake, but it's just another gull. You can find them staining the cliff walls at just about any coastal local.
The great skua is a very large bird. It is pretty plain, just a dull brown. It also steals food from other birds.
The shag is better known throughout the world as a cormorant. It has all the usual cormorant features, the long neck, wide wings and long beak. It has a green black coat of feathers. In the spring, it features some pretty yellow feathers on its head to attract a mate.
The white tailed eagle is endangered in Iceland, and getting a view of one is not easy. The law restricts how close you can get to one, since disturbing them is against the law. It took some careful pointing out to actually find them at an established nest site on one of Iceland's many small islands.
The common snipe is a little bird that you can find running along the edge of the water.
There are many kinds of geese and ducks in Iceland. The whooper swan is one of the largest of this group. The ones in the small lake in the center of Reykjavik seem tame enough, but their wings are strong enough to kill a sheep!

Directions: The best place to find birds are at the ocean's shore. Like most islandic inhabitants they mainly survive on fish. Most are cliff dwellers. The islands are the best areas to see them.
othercontact: There are custom tours to the We

Review Helpfulness: 1.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Aug 26, 2002
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