Birdwatching in Utsira

Utsira is that of the island rarity hotspots where most species have been registered. The explanation lies in a combination of the strategic location and the frequent ornithological activity over a long period of time. Utsira is located about 16 kilometres into the North Sea westwards from Karmøy outside of Haugesund. The amount of interest a small island of 6.2 square kilometres can create is actually quite funny. Every year, islets, heath, grass, common reed, moors, fields, pastures, and gardens are examined thoroughly by ornithologists searching for rare birds. Additionally, Spannholmane, a small island 1.5 kilometres outside of Utsira, is subject to many great findings.

The Best Weather for Mega Rarities
Even though the island has a magnetic effect on rare birds, Utsira does not contain great numbers of birds all the time, depending very much on the season and on weather and wind conditions. Remember that when the migrating birds hit headwind and rain, that is when they need to stage. For the birdwatcher, maybe not the most pleasant weather to head out, but that is when things happen. The mega rarities will definitely show up more often in bad weather in the migration periods, especially in the autumn. Every year “Mega Rarity Week”, or “bombeuka” in Norwegian, is organized the first week of October in Utsira. The program is packed with competitions, lectures, social gatherings, and, of course, the search for rarities.


Map over Utsira

1Bird hide in Pedleneset
2Wind mills
3Harbour in Norevåg
5Utsira lighthouse

In addition, there are many places in Siradalen. See map on Utsira fuglestasjon

Utsira Bird Observatory
In Utsira, you will have the opportunity to witness birds being ringed, organized by Utsira Bird Observatory.
There is a lot more to say about Utsira, but we will let the list of species and the pictures speak for themselves. We would also like to recommend visiting the webpage Utsirafuglestasjon, where you will find more detailed information. The book “Birds and bird people in Utsira”, published by Utsira Bird Observatory and only in Norwegian, is very informative and well written.

Helpful Information

Biotope:Hilly island with reefs, islets, heath, grass, common reed, moors, fields, pastures, and gardens.
Best time to visit:For mega rarities: Mid-April through mid-June and September through mid-October.
For seabirds: May through October.
Bird towers:Point 1—Bird hide in Pedleneset.
Local association:Utsira fuglestasjon
Shoes:Water proof hiking shoes.
Food:Not necessary, but recommended. Grocery shop in the island.
Clothes:Wind proof hiking wear. Oftentimes a good idea to bring warm clothes and rainwear.



You have to get to Utsira by ferry or boat. Finding accommodation in Utsira can be a challenge, so make sure you make a reservation well in advance. The most enthusiastic birdwatchers sleep in their cars.


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 Eurasian Golden Oriole , European Bee-eater, and Eurasian Hoopoe have been seen many times in Utsira?

… that almost 330 different bird species are registered in the small island Utsira?

… that Utsira holds the incredible record of 25 first findings in Norway?

Bird Species Seen in the Area

Pictures from Utsira

Some of the Birds in Utsira

Rare Birds in Utsira—Examples of Mega Rarities That Have Been Seen One or More Times
Black-browed Albatross, Great Shearwater, Balearic Shearwater, Little Bittern, Pallid Harrier, Montagu’s Harrier, Eurasian Thick-knee, Pectoral Sandpiper, Spotted Sandpiper, Sabine’s Gull, Laughing Gull, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Barn Owl, Red-rumped Swallow, Pallid Swift, Alpine Swift, Eurasian Hoopoe, European Bee-eater, Calandra Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Blyth’s Pipit, Tawny Pipit, Olive-backed Pipit, Pechora Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Citrine Wagtail, Siberian Accentor, Common Nightingale, Siberian Rubythroat, Red-flanked Bluetail, Siberian Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Pied Wheatear, Desert Wheatear, White’s Thrush, Eyebrowed Thrush, Swainson’s Thrush, Naumann’s Thrush, Black-throated Thrush, Pallas’s Grasshopper-Warbler, Lanceolated Warbler, Thick-billed Warbler, Booted Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Paddyfield Warbler, Blyth’s Reed Warbler, Subalpine Warbler, Greenish Warbler, Arctic Warbler, Pallas’s Leaf Warbler, Hume’s Warbler, Radde’s Warbler, Dusky Warbler, Western Bonelli’s Warbler, Collared Flycatcher, Firecrest, Lesser Grey Shrike, Woodchat Shrike, Masked Shrike, Brown Shrike, Rosy Starling, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Rustic Bunting, Chestnut Bunting, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Baltimore Oriole, Yellow-breasted Bunting, Black-headed Bunting and Pine Bunting.

Key Map
Helpful Links
(also in english)