Birds of Iceland

About 400 birds are living in Iceland. The avifauna living here have adapted to the harsh subarctic climate of the nation.

The Gyrfalcon is the national bird of Iceland, despite common misconceptions being that it is the Atlantic Puffin. Other notable birds include the long-traveling Arctic Tern, the common Iceland Gull, and the rare Slavonian Grebe.

Birds of Iceland

List of Common Birds Found in Iceland

Native Birds

  • Arctic Redpoll
  • Arctic Tern
  • Atlantic Puffin
  • Barrow’s Goldeneye
  • Bar-tailed Godwit
  • Black Guillemot
  • Black-headed Gull
  • Black-legged Kittiwake
  • Black-tailed Godwit
  • Black-throated Diver
  • Common Blackbird
  • Common Eider
  • Common Greenshank
  • Common Guillemot
  • Common Gull
  • Common Kestrel
  • Common Pochard
  • Common Raven
  • Common Redshank
  • Common Ringed Plover
  • Common Rosefinch
  • Common Sandpiper
  • Common Shelduck
  • Common Snipe
  • Common Whitethroat
  • Common Wood Pigeon 
  • Dunlin
  • Eurasian Blue Tit
  • Eurasian Bullfinch
  • Eurasian Collared Dove
  • Eurasian Curlew
  • Eurasian Curlew
  • Eurasian Magpie
  • Eurasian Oystercatcher
  • Eurasian Siskin
  • Eurasian Skylark
  • Eurasian Teal
  • Eurasian Wigeon
  • Eurasian Woodcock
  • Eurasian Wren
  • European Golden Plover
  • European Robin
  • European Starling
  • Fieldfare
  • Gadwall
  • Glaucous Gull
  • Goldcrest
  • Golden Plover
  • Great Black-backed Gull
  • Great Northern Diver
  • Great Skua
  • Great Snipe
  • Green Sandpiper
  • Gyrfalcon
  • Harlequin Duck
  • Herring Gull
  • Horned Grebe
  • House Sparrow
  • Iceland Gull
  • Lapland Longspur
  • Lesser Black-backed Gull
  • Little Auk
  • Long-tailed Duck
  • Mallard
  • Meadow Pipit
  • Northern Fulmar
  • Northern Harrier
  • Northern Lapwing
  • Northern Shoveler
  • Northern Wheatear
  • Pink-footed Goose
  • Purple Sandpiper
  • Red-breasted Merganser
  • Red Crossbill
  • Red Knot
  • Red-necked Grebe
  • Red-necked Phalarope
  • Red-throated Diver
  • Red-throated Pipit
  • Redwing
  • Rock Dove
  • Rock Ptarmigan
  • Ruddy Turnstone
  • Sanderling
  • Short-eared Owl
  • Slavonian Grebe
  • Snow Bunting
  • Snowy Owl
  • Spotted Redshank
  • Temminck’s Stint
  • Tufted Duck
  • Velvet Scoter
  • Whimbrel
  • White-tailed Eagle
  • White-tailed Ptarmigan
  • White Wagtail
  • Whooper Swan
  • Wood Sandpiper
  • Yellowhammer

Non-native Birds

  • American Wigeon
  • Common Quail
  • Little Grebe
  • Mandarin Duck
  • Ruddy Duck
  • Stock Dove

Some of Iceland’s best places to go birdwatching include Lake Mývatn, Þingvellir National Park, and Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. The general birdwatching season in Iceland spans from late April to early September.


1. What sea birds live around Iceland?

There are several seabirds in Iceland, like the Atlantic Puffin, the Little Auk, and the Razorbill.

2. Which birds of prey can be seen in Iceland?

Birds of prey in Iceland include the White-tailed Eagle, the Northern Harrier, and the national bird, the Gyrfalcon.

3. Which is the smallest bird seen in Iceland?

The Goldcrest is the smallest bird in Iceland.

4. Why do certain birds in Iceland have white plumage?

The white plumage of these birds helps them hide among the nation’s ice and snow.

5. Are there any migratory birds that come to Iceland?

There are several migratory birds in Iceland, including the Common Shelduck, the Great Skua, and the Whooper Swan. But the Arctic Tern is the most notable of these, traveling the longest distance while migrating.

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