Number of Ptarmigans Drop by One Quarter Skip to content

Number of Ptarmigans Drop by One Quarter

The Icelandic Institute of Natural History’s recent annual count of ptarmigan indicates a 26 percent overall decrease of the size of the bird stock from 2010 to 2011. In northeast Iceland the bird’s number has declined particularly fast; it dropped by half between years.


A ptarmigan. Photo by Hallgrímur Egilsson.

However, in one nature reserve in southwest Iceland there was either no change to the stock size or a slight increase, Morgunbladid reports.

It is to be expected that the number of ptarmigans will continue to drop and not reach another peak in stock size until 2020 to 2022. The stocks in the West Fjords, northern and eastern regions peaked in the spring of 2010.

An evaluation of the stock’s hunting tolerance will be published in August following studies of nesting, the hunting of ptarmigans and other factors that may have contributed to the bird stock’s decline in the past years.

Birds were counted in 43 areas all around the country and the project was successful in spite of unfavorable weather conditions. Around 65 people participated in the counting.

Ptarmigan is a traditional Christmas dish in Iceland.

Click here to read more about the condition of Icelandic birdlife.

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