Birdlife in Svalbard
Birdlife in Svalbard is very exciting and totally unique, particularly in the summer. Birdwatching in Svalbard will definitely let you see many exotic species and subspecies. Some of these are almost impossible, or at least very difficult, to spot on the mainland. King Eider, Red Phalarope, Sabine’s Gull, Ivory Gull, Thick-billed Murre, Little Auk, Svalbard Rock Ptarmigan (subspecies of the Rock Ptarmigan) are among the over 40 species of birds that breed here.
Because of its location, Svalbard has an Arctic climate. Owing to the Gulf Stream, however, this group of islands have significantly higher temperatures than other areas in the same latitude. In the summer, the enthusiastic birder can be active 24 hours a day, as the midnight sun will provide enough light. In Longyearbyen, you will be able to enjoy the midnight sun from April 19th through August 22nd. That being said, with summer temperatures around 5 degrees Celsius, you need to remember to bring enough clothes. In addition, the weather in Svalbard is often dominated by high humidity and fog.
Polar nights lasts from November through February and are not very good for birdwatching.
National parks and nature reserves cover approximately 65 percent of the territory. About 60 percent of the of the island group is covered by glaciers, and the islands have many mountains and fjords. The two highest mountains in Svalbard are Newtontoppen and Perriertoppen with their 1713 and 1712 meters. Some 30 percent of the area are bare mountains, and only about 10 percent of the land has vegetation. In Svalbard’s fascinating scenery, you will discover many bird cliffs that is worth a visit. In addition to the many exotic species of birds in Svalbard, you also have the opportunity to see exciting mammals like the polar bear, Arctic fox, and walrus, along with different species of whales. In the menu, you can choose specific birding locations in Svalbard.
NOTE: Svalbard has several specific rules and regulations you need to know about. Read more at www.sysselmannen.no/en.