Inspired by Iceland
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mynd-1

ATLANTIC PUFFIN

Lundi-Papageientaucher-Fratercula Arctica

Puffins are part of the Auk family of seabirds that also include razorbills and guillemots. Puffins are any of three small species of alcids (auks) in the bird genus Fratercula with a brightly coloured beak during the breeding season. These are pelagic seabirds that feed primarily by diving in the water. They breed in large colonies on coastal cliffs or offshore islands, nesting in crevices among rocks or in burrows in the soil.

Over half the world’s population of Puffins comes to Iceland to breed. Iceland also has the largest Atlantic Puffin colony in the world. The Westmann Islands in the south has about 700.000 nesting pairs.

Puffin populations and the populations of other seabirds in the south of Iceland have been decreasing over the last few years due to the lack of sandeels in the bay caused by increasing water temperatures.

But there are still a lot of puffins nesting the island of the Breidafjordur area.

Average Length:

30 cm

Average Weight:

400 g

Wingspan:

55 cm

Diet:

Sandeels, capelin and herring

Est. population around Iceland:

~ 2 - 3,000,000 pairs (10,000,000 in autumn)

Residence Period:

April – Mid September

Nesting habitat:

Dug out dirt burrows on small islands or cliffs

Nesting Period:

May to mid July

Clutch size (No eggs):

1

Incubation time (days):

36-43

Fledging time:

34-44

Typical life span (years):

18

Age at first breeding (years):

5

IUCN world Status:

Least concern

Major Threats:

Climate change, hunting, over fishing, entanglement in fishing gear, predation, kleptoparasitism, pollution, habitat destruction 

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FULMAR

Fýll - Eissturmvogel - Fulmarus glacialis

The fulmar comes from the tubenosed family of seabirds, which also include petrels, albatrosses and shearwaters. Their nasal passages (naricorns) are located on top of their bill and used for breathing, secreting salt and for the olfactory system. Their genus name Fulmarus comes from the Old Norse words full meaning foul, and mar meaning gull. The name foul-gull is correlated to the foul smelling oil they produce and vomit out on avian predators to matt their feathers and disable them from flying and also as a rich energy food source to sustain juveniles and adults during long migrations.

Average Length:

48 cm

Average Weight:

880 g Males, 730 g Females

Wingspan:

107 cm

Diet:

Fish, crustaceans, squid, offal, carrion

Est. population around Iceland:

~ 1 – 2 000 000pairs

Residence Period:

All year round

Nesting habitat:

Cliffs and rocky Islands

Nesting Period:

Early May to Mid July

Clutch size (No eggs):

1

Incubation time (days):

52-53

Fledging time:

46-51

Typical life span (years):

44

Age at first breeding (years):

9

IUCN world Status:

Least concern

Major Threats:

Climate change, over fishing, entanglement in long line fishing gear, predation, pollution, egg collecting

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KITTIWAKE

Rita – Dreizehenmöwe - Rissa tridactyla

There are two species of Kittiwake the Red-legged Kittiwake and the Black-legged Kittiwake. In Iceland we only have the Black-legged species so they are just called kittiwake. They nest on ledges of cliffs and rocky islands with usually a variety of other seabird species. Juveniles are recognizable by the black W pattern on their upperwings and black band on the tail tip, which disappears in their first summer.

Average Length:

39 cm

Average Weight:

410 g

Wingspan:

108 cm

Diet:

Crustaceans, sandeels, capelin, herring.

Est. population around Iceland:

~ 630,000 pairs

Residence Period:

All year round

Nesting habitat:

Cliffs and rocky Islands

Nesting Period:

Late May to Early July

Clutch size (No eggs):

2

Incubation time (days):

25-32

Fledging time:

33-54

Typical life span (years):

20

Age at first breeding (years):

4

IUCN world Status:

Least concern

Major Threats:

Climate change, over fishing, pollution, hunting. 

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ARCTIC TERN

Kría - Küstenseeschwalbe - Sterna paradisaea

The arctic tern undergoes the longest migration than any known animal on the planet. Every year they travel about 70,900 km (44,300 miles) from the Arctic to the Antarctic and back again. One chick ringed on the Farne Islands in June 1982 was found in Australia in October, travelling about 22,000km (13,640 miles) in just 3-4 months.
 

Average Length:

34 cm

Average Weight:

110 g

Wingspan:

80 cm

Diet:

Fish, crustaceans, insects

Est. population around Iceland:

~ 200,000 – 300,000 pairs

Residence Period:

Mid April to Late September

Nesting habitat:

Coastal tundra, lakes, rivers

Nesting Period:

Mid May to Late July

Clutch size (No eggs):

1-2

Incubation time (days):

20-24

Fledging time:

21-24

Typical life span (years):

13

Age at first breeding (years):

4

IUCN world Status:

Least concern

Major Threats:

Climate change, predation, pollution, severe weather

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EIDER DUCK

Æður - Eiderente  - Somateria mollissima

The eider duck is the most common duck in Iceland and can be seen along the coast and in some lakes close to the ocean.  The down (small feathers they use to line their nests) was collected as far back as the 14th century and almost lead to their extinction in the 19th Century. Nowadays the down is collected and replaced by hay, which the ducks don’t seem to mind and just carry on as normal. The black and white ducks are the drakes (males) and the brown are the hens (females).

Average Length:

60 cm

Average Weight:

2.2 kg

Wingspan:

94 cm

Diet:

Mussels, slow moving crustaceans near seabed

Est. population around Iceland:

~ 300,000 pairs

Residence Period:

All year round

Nesting habitat:

Open areas close to sea, usually of high elevation and some man made nesting locations, which are protected.

Nesting Period:

Late April to Late June

Clutch size (No eggs):

4-6

Incubation time (days):

25-28

Fledging time:

65-75

Typical life span (years):

8

Age at first breeding (years):

3

IUCN world Status:

Least concern

Major Threats:

Oil spills, entanglement in fishing gear, predation, pollution, overhunting

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BLACK GUILLEMOT

Teista -  Teiste - Cepphus grylie

The Black Guillemot is the most identifiable of all the guillemots as it has the white patches on top of the wings and red legs. They are also the only species of Auk in Iceland that has a black breast. They are mainly seen around the islands we visit to see the puffins especially Lundey.

 

Average Length:

31 cm

Average Weight:

420 g

Wingspan:

55 cm

Diet:

Sandeels, capelin, herring, crustaceans

Est. population around Iceland:

~ 10 – 15,000 pairs

Residence Period:

All year round

Nesting habitat:

Rocky Islands and cliffs

Nesting Period:

Mid May to Mid July

Clutch size (No eggs):

1-2

Incubation time (days):

21-40

Fledging time:

31-51

Typical life span (years):

11

Age at first breeding (years):

4

IUCN world Status:

Least concern

Major Threats:

Climate change, over fishing, entanglement in fishing gear, predation, pollution, overhunting 

 

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WHITE-TAILED EAGLE

Haliaeetus albicilla

Also called the Sea EagleErne (sometimes Ern), and White-tailed Sea-eagle — is a large bird of prey in the family Accipitridae which includes other raptors such as hawkskites, and harriers. It is considered a close cousin of the Bald Eagle and occupies the same ecological niche, but in Eurasia.

 

 

Average Length:

 

70-90cm

Average Weight:

5 kg

Wingspan:

200-240 cm

Diet:

Fulmar, eider ducks, fish, puffins, kittiwakes

Est. population around Iceland:

~ 70/200+ pairs

Residence Period:

All year round

Nesting habitat:

Cliff ledges

Nesting Period:

Late March to Late June

Clutch size (No eggs):

2 (1-3)

Incubation time (days):

35-40 days

Fledging time:

70-77 days

Typical life span (years):

 21 years

Age at first breeding (years):

4-5 years

IUCN world Status:

Least concern

Major Threats:

Climate change, over fishing, predation, pollution

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EUROPEAN SHAG

Toppskarfur –Krähenscharbe -Phalacrocorax aristotelis

The word shag coming from an old meaning for shag (a thick, tangled hairstyle or mass of hair) and relates to its tufted head plumage. They are smaller than the cormorant, have a greenish tint to the plumage, thinner bill and a crest. Just like the cormorant they can be seen with their wings spread out to dry. The shag is often seen further offshore than the cormorant.

Average Length:

72 cm

Average Weight:

1.9 kg

Wingspan:

98 cm

Diet:

Fish

Est. population around Iceland:

~ 7,000 pairs

Residence Period: 

All year round

Nesting habitat:

Cliffs or trees

Nesting Period:

Mid April to Early July

Clutch size (No eggs):

3

Incubation time (days):

30-31

Fledging time:

48-58

Typical life span (years):

12

Age at first breeding (years):

4

IUCN world Status: 

Least concern

Major Threats:

Climate change, predation, hunted to utilize and reduce numbers around fish farms, pollution, entanglement in fishing gear, viruses

 

 

NORTHERN GANNET

Súla -Baßtölpel-Morus Bassanus

We have one of the largest northern gannet colonies in the world just 10miles of the Reykjanes Peninsula called Eldey (Fire Island). Roughly 25,000 pairs breed on this island every summer.

They are competent divers, diving from heights of up to 30m and getting to speeds of up to 100 km/h. They have a network of air sacs located between the skin and muscles to cushion the impact of hitting the water. On many occasions we have seen hundreds of gannets flocking together and diving for the delicious food available to them.

Average Length:

94 cm

Average Weight:

3 kg

Wingspan:

175 cm

Diet:

Sandeels, capelin, herring, small cod, squid

Est. population around Iceland:

~ 31, 500 pairs

Residence Period:

All year round

Nesting habitat:

Cliff ledges

Nesting Period:

Late March to Late June

Clutch size (No eggs):

1

Incubation time (days):

42-46

Fledging time:

84-97

Typical life span (years):

17

Age at first breeding (years):

5

IUCN world Status:

Least concern

Major Threats:

Climate change, over fishing, predation, pollution

 

GREAT CORMORANT

Dílaskarfur - Phalacrocorax carbo

We usually observe cormorants on seawalls or at the islands we visit to see the puffins. Sometimes you see them with their wings spread out. They do this because they need to dry their wings before flying, as they have no waterproofing oils like most seabirds. They have also been known to swallow stones to allow them to dive deeper and also help them to grind food in their stomachs. We see the majority of cormorants in the winter.

Average Length: 90 cm
Average Weight: 2.5 kg Males, 2.1 kg Females
Wingspan: 145 cm
Diet: Fish
Est. population around Iceland: ~ 3,200 pairs
Residence Period: All year round
Nesting habitat: Large lakes and coastal
Nesting Period: Mid March to Late June
Clutch size (No eggs): 3-4
Incubation time (days): 28-31
Fledging time: 48-52
Typical life span (years): 11
Age at first breeding (years):