Birdwatching at Tanamunningen

In the innermost part of the fjord Tanafjorden, where the river Tanaelva runs out, you will find one of Europe’s largest river deltas. The landscape surrounding it is characterized by vast sand and mud banks that change from one year to the next, depending on what the river brings along. Sand lance, krill, and the European flounder thrive in this shallow wetland. Additionally, soft-shell clams, cockles, scallops, and blue mussels are found in great numbers on the rocky seabed. Altogether, this offers a dining menu that attracts vast and diverse bird flocks. Along the riversides, you will find beach meadows with rich vegetation, contributing to making birdlife even more diverse.

Tanamunningen is a good place for birdwatching all year round, but the greatest variety of species is found during the six warmer months and in migration periods.


Map over Tanamunningen


Birdlife and the Four Seasons
Birdlife in Tanamunningen is comprehensive, and you can enjoy it at any time of the year. Winter is dominated by the large flocks of Common Eiders and Long-tailed Ducks. Remember to look for King Eider among them. You might also find many Red-breasted Mergansers and other overwintering ducks and seabirds. White-tailed Eagles are many and can be seen during winter time as well. Yet another example of a regular winter guest is the Purple Sandpiper.

During both spring and autumn, large flocks of waders are staging in Tanamunningen. This nature reserve is actually known for being the best place in the county of Finnmark to find staging waders during autumn. These flocks typically contain a nice mix of species, with Dunlin and Little Stint as the most common ones. During spring time, the Red Knot is a dominating species. An autumn migration worth noting is the enormous flocks of Common Mergansers. According to one estimate, the peak number of such individuals was 27,000—these are male birds migrating to the coast of Finnmark after mating, then gathering in Tanamunningen before they continue southwards. Among these large flocks, thousands of Red-breasted Mergansers might also be seen.

Tanamunningen also has many breeding species, like Great black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Mew Gull, Arctic Skua, Bank Swallow, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Temminck’s Stint, Bluethroat, Red-throated Pipit, Rock Pipit, and Tree Pipit. None of the geese species breed here, but the Greylag Goose, Taiga Bean Goose, Pink-footed Goose, and other geese will stop by during their migration. Interestingly too, Tanamunningen is often visited by hunting birds of prey and owls.

Helpful Information

Best time to visit:All year.
Bird towers:None.
Local association:NOF Varanger
Shoes:Water proof casual or hiking shoes.
Clothes:Hiking wear.

Other Mammals
There is a rich general wildlife around Tanamunningen. If you have never seen seal in its proper habitat before, Tanamunningen may give you a pretty unique experience. Actually, this is the only place in Norway where harbour seals give birth on the sand banks. This occurs around mid-summer time. And during late summer or early autumn, harbour seal flocks gather for mating and skin-shedding. At Høyholmen, you are almost certain to see the harbour seal. Another common seal is the grey seal, which is present from late summer until spring. Occasionally, ringed seal and harp seal can be observed. Harbour porpoises and otters are also common sights.




Birdingbed cooperates with long-time experienced guides in customizing personalized birdwatching experiences like…

  • excursions to see owls, woodpeckers, birds of prey and more.
  • Black Grouse lek, Capercaillie lek, bird cliffs, among other things
  • photography trips.
  • finding specific species.

For guided excursions in this area, contact Anders Faugstad Mæland through the web page Birdwatching Norway

Did you know …

…that a male Surf Scoter was seen in Tanamunningen in September 1970? Obviously pleased, he returned the same month also in 1971 and 1972.

…that several times, about 20,000-25,000 Common Mergansers was registered at the same time in Tanamunningen?

…that Tanamunningen has been visited by Pallid Harrier, Greater Sand-Plover, Pectoral Sandpiper, Terek Sandpiper, Mediterranean Gull, Sabine’s Gull, Ivory Gull, European Bee-eater, and Arctic Warbler?

Bird Species Seen in the Area

Landscape Pictures

Mammals Seen in the Area

Some of the Birds at Tanamunningen

Key Map
Helpful Links
(also in english)