Significant Drop in Number of Seabirds in Iceland Skip to content

Significant Drop in Number of Seabirds in Iceland

Brunnich’s guillemot has decreased by 44 percent in Iceland since the mid-1980s. Fulmar and guillemot have decreased by 30 percent in the same period, razorbill by 18 percent and kittiwake by 16 percent.


Icelandic seabirds. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

The Icelandic seabird stocks account for about a quarter of all seabirds in the North Atlantic and therefore have an undisputed importance internationally, reports.

Professor emeritus Arnthór Gardarsson discussed in a recent lecture how five of the most common seabird stocks in Iceland have changed in the last two decades, both in regard to their size and geographical distribution.

The changes are different between places and species. Razorbill has, for example, decreased at Hornstrandir in the northern West Fjords but increased on Grímsey island, off Iceland’s northern coast.

The presence of kittiwake is decreasing in many different locations, especially in southeast Iceland where its number has dropped by 80 percent.

An overview study of the Icelandic seabird stocks is currently being completed by a research team working on behalf of the University of Iceland, the Icelandic Institute of Natural History and the Icelandic Marine Research Institute.

Click here to read more about the condition of seabird stocks in Iceland and here to read about the status of the puffin.

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