The Wildlife in Iceland is unique and extraordinary. You have abundant marine wildlife but do to the remoteness of the island only few mammals life wild in Iceland.
If you want to come to Iceland, chances are that you seek adventures in hiking through volcanic active mountains, that you want to be blown away by the rough nature or that you just want to take photographs of the stunning landscapes. While this is perfectly fine, if you have not taken a look at the wildlife in Iceland, you might miss something. The wildlife on the island is not only unique, but also diversified and to be found in every region of the country and has adapted to the sometimes crude weather.
Famous Animals in Iceland
Meeting an animal in Iceland is the dream of each photographer. This is not only because the landscape around the animal model is magical and create a stunning atmosphere for each picture which is also important for a successful capture of an animal, but also because the animal itself is worth a click of your camera. The wildlife in Iceland is full of animals which only live on the island or at least are native to the northern European regions. This is why adventure-seekers worldwide visit Iceland and are hoping to capture the amazing wildlife of the island.
Farm Animals in Iceland
Easy to photograph are domestic animals, such as the Icelandic Horse, Dog or Sheep. The Icelandic Horse for example is famous among raisers. The breed has a definitely unique look and is also interesting if you take a look at the biological structure. Once an Icelandic Horse has left the island it can never come back both to prevent illnesses coming to Iceland and spreading amongst the horses, but also to keep the race of the Icelandic Horse pure as it only real Icelandic Horses can be considered as incredibly worthy.
Famous are also the the Icelandic Dog and the Icelandic Sheep. These two species and the Icelandic Horse have something in common except from their roots: They all share an interesting hairstyle. Due to the cold weather and windy conditions on the island, the skin is covered by a tight layer of hair, sometimes being blown into the direction of the wind, making these animals extra photogenic.
Unique Wildlife in Iceland
An even more impressive encounter is seeing the wild, unique animals Iceland features. Both animals in water and on land can be found and are seldom, if not non-findable, in the rest of the world. First of all, marine animals like whales or seals can be spotted in various tours. The shores of Iceland create a perfect opportunity to see these rare, but powerful and magical creatures.
Iceland is also a paradise for ornithologists, as it is for example home of puffins. These birds are one of the most famous natural sights of Iceland. Living on the shores and breeding there, the puffins can be visited by boat or with a bit of luck also by car.
Where to find Wildlife in Iceland
As already discussed, the wildlife can be found in water and on land. If you are searching for a spot on land, the national parks like Thingvellir or Snaefellsnes are a good place to start as the wildlife can develop naturally here.
Wild animals in Iceland
There aren’t many wild mammals in Iceland, in fact only one land mammal is native to the island, the Arctic fox. However, there are a few species here that have been introduced to icelandic fauna by man, species like the reindeer and the mink. The reindeer was imported in the 18th century, following a royal decree. The idea was that the reindeer would thrive in Iceland and therefore a few were introduced to all parts of Iceland. However, only the reindeers in the eastern part of Iceland managed to survive.
The mink was imported in the 20th century, when a number of entrepreneurs wanted to farm the mink for their furs. However, the mink escaped from the cages and thrived. In fact, the mink has a very few natural enemies in Iceland and has had a huge impact on the Icelandic biosphere.
There are however many wild sea mammals in the waters around Iceland. You can expect to see whales, dolphins, seals and orcas when you go whale watching. But also, when you are trekking along the shore line you spot find these interesting animals, especially seals that often lie dormant at the beach.
Birdlife in Iceland
Iceland has a vibrant birdlife all year round, though of course during summer it is at its peak. Many different species of seabirds make their nests in the sea cliffs and steep hillsides by the sea, the puffin being the most popular one. You might also see kittiwakes, pomrines, skuas and sooty shearwaters.
In the highlands you will find geese and swans in abundance. There you can also find many different kinds of waterfowls and waders, such as redshanks and snipes.
There are two birds that are especially dear to Icelanders. One if the golden plover, who is among the first migrating birds to arrive each spring and many believe it to be the first signs of spring when they hear the first mating calls of the golden plovers. The other is the Icelandic Raven. It is quite larger than other species of ravens and is believed to be quite smart, for a bird. There are many folk tales about the raven and it’s mischievous nature, but also how it has helped us from time to time.
Finally, there are a few species of birds of prey, the largest one being the Sea eagle, which was nearly extinct at the beginning of the 20th century. Today you can spot these majestic birds around Breidafjordur bay and in the Westfjords. But you might also spot merlins and gyrfalcons as well, which are common almost all around the country.
Iceland wildlife tour
On all of our tours we pay mind to the singular wildlife in Iceland but if you wish to pay special mind to it, see whales and orcas or seek out the arctic fox, we can help you. But please be aware, that sightings can’t be guaranteed, since these are wild animals in their natural surroundings.