Arctic Tern Returns to Iceland Skip to content

Arctic Tern Returns to Iceland

By Larissa Kyzer

arctic tern kría Iceland
Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

The Arctic tern has returned to Iceland, RÚV reports. The bird is one of a number migratory birds that are making their annual return to the country this spring.

According to the records kept by the Southeast Iceland Bird Observatory, which monitors the annual arrival of migratory birds in the country, about 1,000 terns were observed in the Ósland conservation area in Höfn í Hornafjörður earlier this week.

Per their records, the first Arctic tern arrived in Iceland on April 19. This is around the same time that the first terns arrived in recent years.

The arctic tern makes the longest known migration of any animal, travelling between Arctic and sub-Arctic regions, where it breeds, to the Antarctic, where it winters, each year. Birds that nest in Iceland make a round trip that averages 70,900km (44,055mi) every year between their nesting and wintering grounds. The average arctic tern will travel some 2.4 million kilometres (1.5 million miles) during its lifetime, the equivalent of over three roundtrips from Earth to the Moon.

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