Text by Nicole Bouglouan

Sources:

Avibase (Denis Lepage)

Islande Explora

Iceland review - Feeding Habits of Westman Islandsí Mysterious Nocturnal Birds Tracked

Visit Westman Islands

Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia

Booking Westman Islands

Visit South Iceland

History of the Westman Islands

The Westman Islands: lava and puffins

The Westman Islands

Iceland's Westman Islands are a bird watcher's paradise

Westman Islands Saga

All About Birds - On The Puffin Cliffs Of Icelandís Westman Islands

Puffins in Westman Islands

 

Species list:

Alpine Swift - Tachymarptis melba - Martinet à ventre blanc

American Golden Plover – Pluvialis dominica – Pluvier bronzé

American Robin – Turdus migratorius – Merle d’Amérique

American Wigeon - Mareca americana - Canard à front blanc

Arctic Redpoll or Hoary Redpoll - Acanthis hornemanni - Sizerin blanchâtre

Arctic Tern - Sterna paradisaea – Sterne arctique

Atlantic Puffin – Fratercula arctica – Macareux moine

Barn Swallow - Hirundo rustica - Hirondelle rustique

Barnacle Goose - Branta leucopsis - Bernache nonnette

Barred Warbler - Curruca nisoria - Fauvette épervière

Black and white Warbler – Mniotilta varia – Paruline noir et blanc

Blackcap – Sylvia atricapilla – Fauvette à tête noire

Black Guillemot - Cepphus grylle - Guillemot à miroir

Black-headed Gull – Chroicocephalus ridibundus – Mouette rieuse

Black-legged Kittiwake - Rissa tridactyla - Mouette tridactyle

Blackpoll Warbler - Setophaga striata – Paruline rayée

Black Redstart – Phoenicurus ochruros – Rouge-queue noir

Black-tailed Godwit - Limosa limosa - Barge à queue noire 

Black-throated Blue Warbler - Setophaga caerulescens - Paruline bleue

Bluethroat - Luscinia svecica - Gorgebleue à miroir

Blue-winged Teal - Anas discors - Sarcelle à ailes bleues

Blyth’s Reed Warbler - Acrocephalus dumetorum - Rousserolle des Buissons

Bohemian Waxwing - Bombycilla garrulous - Jaseur boréal  

Brambling - Fringilla montifringilla - Pinson du Nord

Brant Goose - Branta bernicla - Bernache cravant

Buff-bellied Pipit - Anthus rubescens - Pipit farlousane

Buff-breasted Sandpiper - Tryngites subruficollis - Bécasseau roussâtre

Canada Goose - Branta canadensis - Bernache du Canada

Cedar Waxwing – Bombycilla cedrorum – Jaseur d’Amérique

Citrine Wagtail - Motacilla citreola – Bergeronnette citrine

Common Blackbird - Turdus merula - Merle noir

Common Chaffinch – Fringilla coelebs – Pinson des arbres

Common Chiffchaff - Phylloscopus collybita - Pouillot véloce

Common Coot - Fulica atra - Foulque macroule

Common Eider - Somateria mollissima - Eider à duvet

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

Common House Martin - Delichon urbicum - Hirondelle de fenêtre

Common Kestrel – Falco tinnunculus – Faucon crècerelle 

Common Loon or Great Norther Diver - Gavia immer - Plongeon imbrin

Common Murre - Uria aalge - Guillemot de Troïl

Common Raven – Corvus corax - Grand corbeau

Common Redpoll - Acanthis flammea - Sizerin flammé

Common Redshank - Tringa totanus - Chevalier gambette

Common Redstart - Phoenicurus phoenicurus - Rougequeue à front blanc

Common Ringed Plover - Charadrius hiaticula - Pluvier grand-gravelot

Common Rosefinch - Carpodacus erythrynus - Roselin cramoisi

Common Scoter - Melanitta nigra - Macreuse noire

Common Shelduck - Tadorna tadorna - Tadorne de Belon

Common Snipe – Gallinago gallinago - Bécassine des marais

Common Starling - Sturnus vulgaris - Etourneau sansonnet

Common Swift - Apus apus - Martinet noir

Common Whitethroat - Sylvia communis - Fauvette grisette

Common Wood Pigeon - Columba palumbus - Pigeon ramier

Common Yellowthroat - Geothlypis trichas -  Paruline masquée

Dunlin - Calidris alpina - Bécasseau variable

Dunnock – Prunella modularis – Accenteur mouchet

Eurasian Curlew - Numenius arquata - Courlis cendré

Eurasian Dotterel - Charadrius morinellus - Pluvier guignard

Eurasian Oystercatcher – Haematopus  ostralegus – Huitrier pie

Eurasian Rock Pipit - Anthus petrosus - Pipit maritime

Eurasian Siskin – Spinus spinus – Tarin des aulnes

Eurasian Wigeon - Mareca penelope - Canard siffleur

Eurasian Woodcock - Scolopax rusticola - Bécasse des bois

Eurasian Wren – Troglodytes troglodytes – Troglodyte mignon

European or Eurasian Golden Plover - Pluvialis apricaria - Pluvier doré

European Goldfinch - Carduelis carduelis - Chardonneret élégant

European Pied Flycatcher - Ficedula hypoleuca - Gobemouche noir

European Robin - Erhitacus rubecula - Rouge-gorge familier

European Shag – Phalacrocorax aristotelis – Cormoran huppé

European Stonechat - Saxicola rubicola - Tarier pâtre

European Storm-petrel – Hydrobates pelagicus – Océanite tempête

Fieldfare - Turdus pilaris - Grive litorne

Franklin’s Gull - Leucophaeus pipixcan - Mouette de Franklin

Gadwall - Mareca strepera - Canard chipeau 

Garden Warbler - Sylvia borin - Fauvette des jardins

Garganey - Anas querquedula - Sarcelle d’été

Glaucous Gull - Larus hyperboreus - Goéland bourgmestre

Goldcrest – Regulus regulus - Roitelet huppé

Great Black-backed Gull – Larus marinus – Goéland marin

Great Cormorant – Phalacrocorax carbo – Grand cormorant 

Greater Scaup - Aythya marila - Fuligule milouinan

Greater Short-toed Lark - Calandrella brachydactyla - Alouette calandrelle

Greater White-fronted Goose - Anser albifrons - Oie rieuse

Greater Yellowlegs - Tringa melanoleuca - Chevalier criard

Great Shearwater - Puffinus gravis - Puffin majeur

Great Skua - Stercorarius skua - Grand labbe

Green-winged Teal - Anas carolinensis - Sarcelle à ailes vertes

Grey Heron – Ardea cinerea – Grey Heron

Greylag Goose - Anser anser - Oie cendrée 

Grey Wagtail - Motacilla cinerea - Bergeronnette des ruisseaux

Gyrfalcon - Falco rusticolus - Faucon gerfaut

Harlequin Duck - Histrionicus histrionicus - Arlequin plongeur

Hawfinch – Coccothraustes coccothraustes – Grosbec casse-noyaux

Hen Harrier – Circus cyaneus cyaneus – Busard St Martin

Hermit Thrush - Catharus guttatus - Grive solitaire

Herring Gull – Larus argentatus – Goéland argenté

Horned Grebe - Podiceps auritus - Grèbe esclavon

Iceland Gull - Larus glaucoides - Goéland arctique

Ivory Gull - Pagophila eburnea - Mouette blanche

King Eider - Somateria spectabilis - Eider à tête grise

Laughing Gull - Leucophaeus atricilla - Mouette atricille

Lapland Longspur - Calcarius lapponicus - Bruant lapon ou Plectrophane lapon

Leach’s Storm-Petrel - Oceanodroma leucorhoa - Océanite cul-blanc

Lesser Black-backed Gull – Larus fuscus – Goéland brun 

Lesser Whitethroat - Curruca curruca – Fauvette babillarde

Little Auk or Dovekie - Alle alle - Mergule nain

Little Bunting - Emberiza pusilla - Bruant nain

Little Egret – Egretta garzetta – Aigrette garzette

Long-eared Owl – Asio otus - Hibou moyen-duc

Long-tailed Duck - Clangula hyemalis - Harelde boréale 

Long-tailed Jaeger - Stercorarius longicaudus - Labbe à longue queue

Mallard – Anas platyrhynchos – Canard colvert 

Manx Shearwater - Puffinus puffinus - Puffin des Anglais

Meadow Pipit - Anthus pratensis - Pipit farlouse

Merlin - Falco columbarius - Faucon émerillon

Mew Gull or Common Gull - Larus canus - Goéland cendré 

Northern Fulmar – Fulmarus glacialis – Fulmar boreal

Northern Gannet - Morus bassanus - Fou de Bassan

Northern Harrier - Circus cyaneus hudsonius - Busard d’Amérique

Northern Lapwing – Vanellus vanellus - Vanneau huppé

Northern Parula - Setophaga americana - Paruline à collier

Northern Shoveler - Anas clypeata - Canard souchet

Northern Wheatear - Oenanthe oenanthe - Traquet motteux

Parasitic Jaeger or Arctic Skua - Stercorarius parasiticus - Labbe parasite

Pectoral Sandpiper - Calidris melanotos - Bécasseau tacheté

Pink-footed Goose - Anser brachyrhynchus - Oie à bec court

Pomarine Skua or Jaeger - Stercorarius  pomarinus - Labbe pomarin

Purple Sandpiper - Calidris maritima - Bécasseau violet

Razorbill - Alca torda - Petit Pingouin (Pingouin torda)

Red-backed Shrike - Lanius collurio - Pie-grièche écorcheur

Red-breasted Merganser - Mergus serrator - Harle huppé

Red-breasted Nuthach – Sitta Canadensis – Sittelle à poitrine rousse

Red-eyed Vireo - Vireo olivaceus - Vireo à oeil rouge

Red Knot - Calidris canutus - Bécasseau maubèche

Red-necked Grebe - Podiceps grisegena - Grèbe jougris

Red-necked Phalarope - Phalaropus lobatus - Phalarope à bec étroit

Red Phalarope - Phalaropus fulicarius - Phalarope à bec large

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

Redwing - Turdus iliacus - Grive mauvis

Ring-billed Gull - Larus delawarensis - Goéland à bec cerclé

Ring Ouzel - Turdus torquatus - Merle à plastron

Rock Dove or Rock Pigeon - Columba livia - Pigeon biset

Rock Ptarmigan - Lagopus muta - Lagopède alpin

Rosy Starling - Sturnus roseus - Etourneau roselin

Ruby-crowned Kinglet – Regulus calendula - Roitelet à couronne rubis

Ruddy Turnstone - Arenaria interpres - Tournepierre à collier 

Ruff - Philomachus pugnax - Combattant varié

Sabine’s Gull - Xema sabini - Mouette de Sabine

Sand Martin - Riparia riparia - Hirondelle de rivage

Sanderling – Calidris alba - Bécasseau sanderling

Scarlet Tanager – Piranga olivacea – Tangara écarlate

Semipalmated Plover - Charadrius semipalmatus – Gravelot semipalmé

Semipalmated Sandpiper - Calidris pusilla - Bécasseau semipalmé

Short-eared Owl - Asio flammeus - Hibou des marais

Sky Lark – Alauda arvensis – Alouette des champs

Snow Bunting - Plectrophenax nivalis - Bruant des neiges ou Plectrophane des neiges

Songthrush – Turdus philomelos – Grive musicienne

Sooty Shearwater - Puffinus griseus - Puffin fuligineux

Spotted Flycatcher - Muscicapa striata - Gobemouche gris

Surf Scoter - Melanitta perspicillata - Macreuse à front blanc

Swainson’s Thrush - Catharus ustulatus - Grive à dos olive

Thick-billed Murre - Uria lomvia - Guillemot de Brünnich

Tufted Duck - Aythya fuligula - Fuligule morillon

Upland Sandpiper - Bartramia longicauda - Maubèche ou Bartramie des champs

Velvet Scoter - Melanitta fusca - Macreuse brune

Water Rail - Rallus aquaticus - Râle d’eau

Whimbrel – Numenius phaeopus – Courlis corlieu 

Whinchat - Saxicola rubetra - Tarier des prés

White-crowned Sparrow – Zonotrichia leucophrys - Bruant à couronne blanche

White-rumped Sandpiper - Calidris fuscicollis - Bécasseau à croupion blanc

White Wagtail - Motacilla alba - Bergeronnette grise

White-winged Scoter - Melanitta deglandi - Macreuse à ailes blanches

White-winged Tern - Chlidonias leucopterus - Guifette leucoptère

Whooper Swan – Cygnus Cygnus – Cygne chanteur

Willow Warbler - Phylloscopus trochilus - Pouillot fitis

Wilson’s Storm-Petrel - Oceanites oceanicus - Océanite de Wilson

Woodchat Shrike - Lanius senator - Pie-grièche à tête rousse

Wood Duck - Aix sponsa - Canard carolin

Yellow-billed Loon or White-billed Diver - Gavia adamsii - Plongeon à bec blanc

Yellow-browed Warbler - Phylloscopus inornatus - Pouillot à grands sourcils

Yellow-legged Gull - Larus michahellis - Goéland leucophée

Yellow-rumped Warbler – Setophaga coronata – Paruline à croupion jaune

 

Atlantic Puffin

John Anderson
John Anderson Photo Galleries

WESTMAN ISLANDS BIRD SPECIES

(Vestmannaeyjar Islands - ICELAND)

 

The Westman Islands (Vestmannaeyjar in Icelandic language), is an archipelago off the South East coast of Iceland. The main island is Heimaey with about 4,400 inhabitants.   
These islands are surrounded by fifteen uninhabited smaller islands (although six of them are used for hunting). About thirty rocks and reefs attract a very rich seabird population.

The Westman Archipelago is named “The Pearls in the Ocean” and is located in the Southern Icelandic Volcanic Zone.

It has been formed by several eruptions over the past 10,000-12,000 years. There are 70/80 volcanoes, both above and below the sea. The island group is about 38 kilometres long and 29 kilometres broad, with the closest island at about eight kilometres from mainland Iceland.

Razorbill

John Anderson
John Anderson Photo Galleries

The Westman Islands receives very little snow but a lot of rain. The migratory birds are usually seen first in spring, and they leave the place in the autumn. Several seabirds can be found here, and among them Alcidae, Sulidae and Laridae.

The flora includes about 150 plant species and numerous insects have been identified. The waters around the archipelago are listed as rich fishing grounds.

Common Murre

Steve Garvie
RAINBIRDER Photo galleries

Heimaey, the largest island, is home to the most important Atlantic Puffin population. Large numbers of seabirds such as Common Murre, Razorbill, Black-legged Kittiwake, Manx Shearwater, Northern Fulmar and several gull species nest on the island.

However, both weather and sea conditions and the lack of food make very difficult to raise the chicks. The seabirds nest in huge numbers in cliffs and grassy ledges, whereas other species are more irregular.

Black-legged Kittiwake

Jean-Claude Billonneau
Photographe-témoin de la

Beauté du Monde

Three bird species of elusive nocturnal birds are staying on Westman Islands during some months of the year, but they winter in the southern hemisphere. These species are the Manx Shearwater, the Leach’s Storm-Petrel and the European Storm-petrel.  

They only come ashore at night, and are difficult to see. The petrel’s flight is often compared to that of bats, making them very mysterious. They are long-distance migrants, as the Leach’s Storm-Petrel winters in both Namibia and Brazil, whereas the Manx Shearwater winters in Argentina. The European Storm-petrel spends the winter off South Africa.

Manx Shearwater

Alan & Ann Tate
AA Bird Photography

Leach’s Storm-Petrel

Alan & Ann Tate
AA Bird Photography

European Storm-petrel

Aurélien Audevard
OUESSANT DIGISCOPING

But the Atlantic Puffin is the most common species of the Westman Islands. With a breeding population estimated at more or less 157,000 pairs, these islands are home to the world’s largest Atlantic Puffin colony complex. 

Atlantic Puffin

Steve Garvie
RAINBIRDER Photo galleries

There is a constant volcanic activity in this area, started during the last 100-200 thousand years, with relatively frequent eruptions leaving submarine craters and crater rows behind, but also new islands.
Surtsey Island and Heimaey Island eruptions occurred recently, and confirm the intense volcanic activity of this area.  

The Westman Islands attract numerous visitors every year. They visit craters and learn about the volcanic activity at the Eldheimar Museum, while others enjoy the incredible nature opportunities, from birds to whales, through amazing landscapes.   

Northern Gannet

Steve Garvie
RAINBIRDER Photo galleries