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Northwest Biding Trail

The trail starts at the west of the area, in Borðeyri, and travels east through the Northwest, guiding bird lovers through areas rich in birdlife and nature. Though the trail starts at one point and ends at
another, travelers can join and leave the trail wherever they want. It has also been set up so that travelers can skip the most remote
areas and still keep on the trail, ideal for those with little time but
still wanting to see rich birdlife.

What to Expect in Iceland?

360 bird species have been recorded in Iceland and about 85 species nest here. The geographical location of Iceland, far north in the Atlantic, allows bird enthusiasts to see birds from both sides of the Atlantic. These include birds common in northern regions of Europe as well as American birds such as the Great Northern Diver, or accidental visitors such as American Robins, Indigo Buntings, Grey Plover and others. Some of the species nesting in Iceland appear in very large numbers, such as the Whooper Swan, Greylag Goose, Atlantic Puffin, Fulmars, and other sea and cliff birds. For further information on birds that have been spotted in Iceland, we recommend The Icelandic Bird Guide.

The Best Time to Visit

For those who are keen to see as many bird species as possible in Iceland, late May to June is the best time. By then the migrant species have arrived and are preparing their nests. With 24 hours of daylight, Iceland is teeming with bird activities which allows you to bird watch whenever you desire. As most of the birds in Iceland are migrants they typically leave the island in August and September. The winter season lacks the same abundance of species as summer but still provides the Gyr Falcon, Merlin, White-tailed Eagle, Snowy Owl, and Short-eared Owl, Rock Ptarmigan in shining white, Common Raven, Snow Bunting, Redpoll, gulls, ducks, and a few others. For the best time to see certain species, we recommend, go to Explore Data - Bar Chart - Iceland.

Birding in the Northwest

The Northwest region of Iceland offers extended wetlands with an abundance of Whooper Swan, Great Northern Diver, ducks such as Long-tailed Duck, waders, and geese. The area has accessible wetlands that offer the ideal habitat for many species of marshland birds and waders. Eider ducks in large colonies, Arctic Tern, Atlantic Puffin, Kittiwake, and many other species live close to the ocean. Almost everywhere it should be easy to see and listen to birds such as the Red-necked Phalarope, Golden Plover or Snipe. Of all the bird species that visit Iceland, only a few can not be seen in the Northwest during nesting or migration periods. This map highlights birding locations and areas which are accessible for most bird enthusiasts traveling on their own. For more remote places we recommend tour operators operating both locally and across Iceland.

Protection of Wildlife

Almost all birds in Iceland are floor breeders. Therefore, we recommend care be taken to avoid disturbing their nests and eggs when hiking in nature.

Northwest Birding Trail map (Get PDF)

Northwest Species chart (Get PDF)


Wildlife With Locals

Bird Watching
The rich birdlife of North Iceland, distributed over widely varying habitats, displays a diversity seldom surpassed in Iceland and accessible areas for seeing species such as the Barrow’s Goldeneye, H…
Whale Watching
Whale watching is one of the most popular activities among visitors in North Iceland. The number of species and favorable weather and sea conditions make North Iceland one of the best areas to spot w…
Seal Watching
Seal watching is a fascinating experience and there is no better place to see these beautiful animals than where they are most at home i.e. in their natural habitat. Seals are naturally curious creatu…

See Other Birding Trails

Eyjafjörður Birding Trail
Northeast Birding Trail
Northwest Birding Trail