Wonders of Iceland

Spot the oystercatcher: One of the best known birds in Iceland

All Icelanders know the oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus) as it is very noticeable due to its loud calls during summer. The oystercatcher is a wader (Charadrii) belonging to the Haematopodidae family, widely distributed on the coast of western Europe but is also found in East Europe and Asia. The oystercatcher is black and white and a …

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Spot the mallard in Iceland: Most abundant duck in the world

There are known over a hundred species of ducks in the world, but the word duck and the childish words „bra-bra“ are by most Icelanders related and refer to the mallard (Anas platyrhynchos). The mallard is tame, easily recognized, and found around ponds where children feed the ducks. The mallard belongs to the Anseriformes within …

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Spot the black-headed gull: The smallest seagull in Iceland

The black-headed gull (formerly Larus ridibundus, now known as Chroicocephalus ridibundus) belongs to the gull family (Laridae) and the genus Chroicocephalus. Gulls in this genus are small to medium-sized most of them having a distinguished hood on the head. These species were previously placed in the Larus genus, which includes the real gulls. The bird is widely …

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Spot the Black guillemot in Iceland: peaceful & beautiful

The Black guillemot (Cepphus grylle) belongs to the Alcid family (Alcidae) along with the puffin (Fratercula arctica), the common murre (Uria aalge), the thick-billed murre (Uria lomvia), the razorbill (Alca torda) and the rare little auk (Alle alle). The Black guillemot is an arctic bird species that occupies many areas of the coastline in the …

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Spot the Common Eider: Iceland’s most valuable bird

The Common Eider (Somateria mollissima borealis) is a large seaduck of the Merginae family. The Eider is one of few Anatidae that occupy the marine environment in Iceland all year round and thus shares many characteristics with seabirds rather than ducks. For instance, Eiders have salt glands like Alcids and gulls to excrete salt when …

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