Birds of Spitsbergen

One of the best seabird regions in the Arctic, Spitsbergen is home to many beloved and rarely seen species

Birds of Spitsbergen

Region: Arctic

Destinations: Svalbard

The spectacular bird species of Spitsbergen

​The huge bird cliffs along the Spitsbergen coasts are a major attraction. Spitsbergen is a breeding ground for large numbers of seabirds that feed in the food-rich Arctic waters. During the summer, the steep bird cliffs throng with thousands of seabirds.

Brunnich’s guillemots, black guillemots, northern fulmars, kittiwakes, little auks, and many other birds prefer the steep ledges in order to stay out of reach of predators, such as the Arctic fox. Arctic terns, ringed plovers, purple sandpipers, and four species of skua stay down on the tundra, where they depend on their camouflage or aggressive behavior for protection.

Spitsbergen is also home to ivory gulls, Sabine’s gulls, and Ross’s gulls. Although the first two are frequently spotted in the far north of Spitsbergen, Ross's gulls are rarely seen.

Oh, and a little more on Arctic terns

As mentioned, Spitsbergen is home to one of the world’s most beloved long-distance travelers, Arctic terns.

Arctic terns arrive in mid-May after migrating about 20,000 km (12,000 miles) from the Southern Ocean, spend about three months around Spitsbergen, and then return to their wintering grounds at the other side of the world.

Related cruises

North Spitsbergen, In search of Polar Bear & Pack Ice - Birding

The best opportunity to spot the King of the Arctic

HDS01-21 Start your North Spitsbergen cruise with a trek around historic Longyearbyen, then join our expedition to the north of the island to take in the fanta

m/v Hondius

m/v Hondius

Cruise date:

20 May - 27 May, 2021

Price:

3950 USD

North Spitsbergen, In search of Polar Bear & Pack Ice - Birding

The best opportunity to spot the King of the Arctic

HDS02-21 Start your North Spitsbergen cruise with a trek around historic Longyearbyen, then join our expedition to the north of the island to take in the fanta

m/v Hondius

m/v Hondius

Cruise date:

27 May - 3 Jun, 2021

Price:

3950 USD

North Spitsbergen, Arctic Summer

Watch for wildlife in iconic Arctic terrain

NOO21-21 The North Spitsbergen cruise sails to some of the remotest locations of northern Europe. The expedition gives you the opportunity to spot historic wha

s/v Noorderlicht

s/v Noorderlicht

Cruise date:

29 May - 8 Jun, 2021

Price:

4400 USD

North Spitsbergen, In search of Polar Bear & Pack Ice - Birding

The best opportunity to spot the King of the Arctic

OTL02-21 Start your North Spitsbergen cruise with a trek around historic Longyearben, then join our expedition to the north of the island to take in the fantas

m/v Ortelius

m/v Ortelius

Cruise date:

3 Jun - 10 Jun, 2021

Price:

3950 USD

North Spitsbergen, In search of Polar Bear & Pack Ice - Birding

The best opportunity to spot the King of the Arctic

HDS03-21 Start your North Spitsbergen cruise with a trek around historic Longyearbyen, then join our expedition to the north of the island to take in the fanta

m/v Hondius

m/v Hondius

Cruise date:

3 Jun - 10 Jun, 2021

Price:

3950 USD

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