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

The best opportunity to spot the King of the Arctic

PLA02-23 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 fantastically beautiful landscapes, the thousands of seabirds, and of course the star of the show, the polar...

m/v Plancius

m/v Plancius

Cruise date:

1 Jun - 8 Jun, 2023

Price:

4000 USD

Arctic Ocean Expedition, Aberdeen - Fair Isle - Jan Mayen - Ice edge - Spitsbergen - Birding

Sail the East Greenland ice edge north of Spitsbergen in search for whales, and other Arctic wildlife

HDS01a23 Search for whales, and other Arctic wildlife of the land, sea, and air on an adventurous voyage from our home port of Vlissingen to our favorite Arctic island group.

m/v Hondius

m/v Hondius

Cruise date:

3 Jun - 14 Jun, 2023

Price:

3000 USD

Arctic Ocean Expedition, Fair Isle - Jan Mayen - Ice Edge - Spitsbergen - Birding

Sail the East Greenland ice edge north of Spitsbergen in search for whales, and other Arctic wildlife

HDS01b23 Search for whales, and other Arctic wildlife of the land, sea, and air on an adventurous voyage from the Scottish port of Aberdeen to our favorite Arctic island group.

m/v Hondius

m/v Hondius

Cruise date:

5 Jun - 14 Jun, 2023

Price:

2750 USD

North Spitsbergen, In search of Polar Bear & Pack Ice

The best opportunity to spot the King of the Arctic

PLA03-23 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 fantastically beautiful landscapes, the thousands of seabirds, and of course the star of the show, the polar...

m/v Plancius

m/v Plancius

Cruise date:

8 Jun - 15 Jun, 2023

Price:

4000 USD

North Spitsbergen , Arctic Summer – Birding

Watch for wildlife in iconic Arctic terrain

RVR23-23 The North Spitsbergen cruise sails to some of the remotest locations of northern Europe. The expedition gives you the opportunity to spot historic whaling remains, glaciers, a variety of Arctic birds including the Little Auk, and polar bears.

s/v Rembrandt Van Rijn

s/v Rembrandt van Rijn

Cruise date:

8 Jun - 18 Jun, 2023

Price:

4700 USD

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