Russian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean


New Siberian Islands is the name of an archipelago located in the extreme North of Russia. It extends through the North of the East Siberian coast, between the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea, north of the Sakha Republic. It covers a land area of about 29,000 km², separated from the Siberian mainland by the Dmitri Laptev Strait.  
The New Siberian Islands are low-lying, with the highest point on Kotelny Island, the Mt Malakatyn-Tas with 374 metres of elevation.  

These islands are often covered by snow and ice, and have very restricted tundra area. They are what remain of the formerly subaerial Great Arctic Plain, lying now below parts of the Arctic Ocean, East Siberian Sea and Laptev Sea.
The New Siberian Islands may gradually disappear. Composed of permafrost alternating with soil, they have been affected by the global warming involving the melting of the ice and the contraction of firm ground.

The archipelago is known as the land of mammoths, and remains are still scattered across these islands. But seeds have also been found, more characteristic of steppe vegetation than Arctic tundra.

The main breeding species is the Red Knot or Knot (Calidris canutus). It breeds on the Arctic tundra, close to the North Pole. The breeding cycle is short, no more than a month or two (June and July), but the juveniles leave the breeding grounds mostly in early August, because frost and snow will cover soon the northernmost parts of the tundra.  

Several other bird species also breed in this area, including Black Guillemot, Thick-billed Murre, Long-tailed Duck, Sanderling, Snowy Owl, eiders, gulls and phalaropes.

This inhospitable area is an active breeding location during summer, but then, it sinks into its winter lethargy until the next breeding season, when the birds will return to their nesting sites.

Text by Nicole Bouglouan


Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia

The New Siberian Islands: A disappearing archipelago

In Search of Arctic Birds - Par Richard Vaughan

SORA Searchable Ornithological Research Archive (Blair O. Wolf)

Biology of the Arctic islands

Vegetation and Climate of the New Siberian Islands for the Past 15,000 Years

Review of geology of the New Siberian Islands between the Laptev and the East Siberian Seas, North East Russia


Bird list:

Arctic Tern - Sterna paradisaea – Sterne arctique

Black Guillemot - Cepphus grylle - Guillemot à miroir

Black-headed Gull – Chroicocephalus ridibundus – Mouette rieuse

Black Kite – Milvus migrans – Milan noir

Black-legged Kittiwake - Rissa tridactyla - Mouette tridactyle

Black-throated Diver (Loon) - Gavia arctica -  Plongeon arctique

Boreal Owl - Aegolius funereus - Nyctale de Tengmalm

Brant Goose - Branta bernicla - Bernache cravant

Common Eider - Somateria mollissima - Eider à duvet

Common Goldeneye - Bucephala clangula – Garrot à œil d’or

Common Sandpiper - Actitis hypoleucos - Chevalier guignette

Common Tern - Sterna hirundo - Sterne pierregarin

Curlew Sandpiper - Calidris ferruginea - Bécasseau cocorli

Eurasian Eagle-owl - Bubo bubo - Grand-duc d’Europe

Glaucous Gull - Larus hyperboreus - Goéland bourgmestre

Grey Plover - Pluvialis squatarola - Pluvier argenté

Hen Harrier – Circus cyaneus cyaneus – Busard St Martin

King Eider - Somateria spectabilis - Eider à tête grise

Lapland Longspur - Calcarius lapponicus - Bruant lapon ou Plectrophane lapon

Little Auk or Dovekie - Alle alle - Mergule nain

Little Stint - Calidris minuta - Bécasseau minute

Long-tailed Duck - Clangula hyemalis - Harelde boréale

Merlin - Falco columbarius - Faucon émerillon

Pelagic Cormorant - Phalacrocorax pelagicus - Cormoran pélagique

Peregrine Falcon - Falco peregrinus - Faucon pèlerin

Purple Heron – Ardea purpurea – Héron pourpré

Purple Sandpiper - Calidris maritima - Bécasseau violet

Red Knot - Calidris canutus - Bécasseau maubèche

Red Phalarope - Phalaropus fulicarius - Phalarope à bec large

Red-throated Diver (Loon) - Gavia stellata - Plongeon catmarin

Ruddy Turnstone - Arenaria interpres - Tournepierre à collier

Ruff - Philomachus pugnax - Combattant varié

Sabine’s Gull - Xema sabini - Mouette de Sabine

Short-eared Owl - Asio flammeus - Hibou des marais

Snowy Owl - Bubo scandiacus – Harfang des neiges

Spectacled Eider - Somateria fischeri - Eider à lunettes

Squacco Heron - Ardeola ralloides - Crabier chevelu

Steller’s Eider - Polysticta stelleri - Eider de Steller

Swinhoe’s Snipe - Gallinago megala - Bécassine de Swinhoe

Thick-billed Murre - Uria lomvia - Guillemot de Brünnich

Tufted Duck - Aythya fuligula - Fuligule morillon

White-tailed Sea-Eagle – Haliaeetus albicilla – Pygargue à queue blanche

White Wagtail - Motacilla alba - Bergeronnette grise

Willow Ptarmigan (or Grouse) - Lagopus lagopus - Lagopède des saules



Avibase (Lepage Denis)


Red Knot

Ingo Waschkies
Bird Photography