This is our archive of birds seen on our trips. We'll gradually upload pictures of species we see and a short text about the species. All pictures are taken on our tours by our guides.
Black grouse,Tetrao tetrix
Vesterålen got a healty population of black grouse. Its a large bird with males being around 53 centimetres (21 in) long and weighing 1,000–1,450 g (2.20–3.20 lb) and females approximately 40 cm (16 in) and weighing 750–1,110 g (1.65–2.45 lb). Black grouse have a very distinctive and well-recorded courtship ritual or game. At dawn in the spring, the males strut around in a traditional area and display whilst making a highly distinctive mating call. This process is called a lek. Since we got midnightsun in Vesterålen this behavior often may be seen all day and night.
Ruff, Calidris pugnax
The ruff (Calidris pugnax) is a medium-sized wading bird that breeds in some specific marshes in Vesterålen. the male is much larger than the female and has an elaborate breeding plumage. He is 29–32 cm (11–13 in) long with a 54–60 cm (21–24 in) wingspan, and weighs about 180 g (6.3 oz). The female, or "reeve", is 22–26 cm (8.7–10.2 in) long with a 46–49 cm (18–19 in) wingspan and weighs about 110 g (3.9 oz). The ruff is one of the few lekking species in which the display is primarily directed at other males rather than to the females, and it is among the small percentage of birds in which the males have well-marked and inherited variations in plumage and mating behaviour.
Long-tailed duck, Clangula hyemalis
A medium-sized sea duck. Seen most in spring and early summer in Vesterålen. The male has a long pointed tail 10 to 24 cm (3.9 to 9.3 in) long.
Black-tailed godwit, Limosa limosa
A large, long-legged, long-billed shorebird. There are 20-30 black-tailed godwits in Vesterålen located in two small areas. It measures 42 cm (17 in) from bill to tail with a wingspan of 70–82 cm (28–32 in).
Common eider, Somateria mollissima
A large sea-duck, 50–71 cm (20–28 in) in body length. Common in Vesterålen in spring and summer. The eider's nest is built close to the sea and is lined with eiderdown, plucked from the female's breast.
Atlantic Puffin, Fratercula arctica
Breeds in colonies as large as 50.000 on islands in Vesterålen. They arive in mid april. and can be seen in some of the fjords until august. The best way to see a puffin is by boat
Northern raven, Corvus corax
A large all-black passerine bird. Common in Vesterålen.
Kittiwakes, genus Rissa
Once numerous in Vesterålen. Now in decline. Can be seen in noisy breeding colonies on cliffs or on houses in Vesterålen.
Black guillemot or tystie, Cepphus grylle
A medium-sized seabird. Often seen diving along the shore in Vesterålens fjords.
Parasitic jaeger, Stercorarius parasiticus
Also called arctic skua, mainly acquires food by robbing other birds (primarily gulls and terns) of their catches in an act called kleptoparasitism. Rare to see in Vesterålen, but the nesting pairs show up in the same area year after year.
Pintail, Anas acuta
A large duck. The male's long central tail feathers give rise to the species' name. Seen along the shores of Vesterålen in spring and summer. The pintail is a fairly large duck with a wing chord of 23.6–28.2 cm (9.3–11.1 in)
and wingspan of 80–95 cm (31–37 in).The male is 59–76 cm (23–30 in) in length and weighs 450–1,360 g (0.99–3.00 lb), and is considerably larger than the female.
Common shelduck, Tadorna tadorna
Numbers on the rise the last few years in Vesterålen. Nests in sandbanks along the shores and keeps close to the nest in spring and summer.
Willow ptarmigan, Lagopus lagopus
The willow ptarmigan is a medium to large ground-dwelling bird and is the most numerous of the three species of ptarmigan. Males and females are about the same size, the adult length varying between 35 and 44 centimetres (14 and 17 in) with a wingspan ranging from 60 and 65 centimetres (24 and 26 in). The weight is 430 to 810 grams (15 to 29 oz).
Eurasian oystercatcher, Haematopus ostralegus
A wader in the oystercatcher bird family. In Vesterålen its seen on as the sign of spring since the oystercatcher always arrives when spring starts. Can be seen everywhere in Vesterålen spring and summer.
Common ringed plover, Charadrius hiaticula
A small plover that breeds in Arctic. Very common in Vesterålen in summer.
Common redshank, Tringa totanus
Wader in the large family Scolopacidae. Very common in Vesterålen in summer. Breeds anywhere in the lowlands you can hear its warning calls, protecting the nest, from the shoreline to the base of the mountains.
European golden plover, Pluvialis apricaria
A large plover. Seen all around Vesterålen in spring and summer.
Common snipe, Gallinago gallinago
A small stocky wader. A shy bird that conceals itself close to ground vegetation and flushes only when approached closely. When flushed, they utter a sharp note that sounds like scape, scape and fly off in a series of aerial zig-zags to confuse predators. In the breeding season it often can be seen sitting motionless on rocks watching over the nesting area.
Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos
Large duck that can be seen everywhere in Vesterålen. Often seen preening in river mouths with other duck species in early morning.
Northern lapwing, Vanellus vanellus
Once numerous in Vesterålen, now in decline. This is a vocal bird in the breeding season, with constant calling as the tumbling display flight is performed by the male.
Tufted duck, Aythya fuligula
A small diving duck. The numbers of the gold-yellow eyes duck arriving in Vesterålen has increased the last years. Can be seen on numerous lakes around the islands making up Vesterålen.
Rock ptarmigan, Lagopus muta
The rock ptarmigan is seasonally camouflaged; its feathers moult from white in winter to brown/grey in spring or summer. If hiking mountains you often will flush up this bird, not seeing it before its on its wings.
Northern fulmar, Fulmarus glacialis
Can be seen close to birdmountains/islands in Vesterålen around breeding season. Fulmars often show up close to boats to check if there is fish. Their walking ability is limited, but they are strong fliers and can be seen riding the waves when following boats.
Eurasian woodcock, Scolopax rusticola
A medium-small wading bird. Its well camouflaged and hard to spot unless flushed. They fly off with a whirring wing noise. Most active at dawn and dusk and rarely active during the day unless flushed.
Whooper swan, Cygnus cygnus
Also known as the common swan. can be seen nesting at most lakes in Vesterålen. In late summer early fall, large groups of swans can be seen along the shores getting ready to migrate. Often 50+ in a group.
Eurasian bullfinch, Pyrrhula pyrrhula
A small passerine bird in the finch family. Common in Vesterålen. The green female and red male almost always seen in pair. In norway its a symbol of christmas.
Razorbill, Alca torda
A colonial seabird. Easy to find out at sea. Can be seen diving for fish along the shore or at one of the birdmountains in breeding season.
Red-throated loon, Gavia stellata
A migratory aquatic bird. Seen on lakes around Vesterålen. In summer, if you wait patient by the lake, you often can see the adults dive for fish and feed the chicks with it.
Northern gannet, Morus bassanus / Great cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo
Northern gannets can be seen along shore from time to time, but can be found breeding in colonies of great commorant on some islands in the fjords. Great cormorants can be seen everywhere. Often on a rock near the shore drying its feathers with its wings spread out.
Goldcrest, Regulus regulus
The smallest European bird, 8.5–9.5 cm (3.3–3.7 in) in length. A passerine bird in the kinglet family. Called the "king of the birds" in European folklore. Hard to spot because of its small size, but numerous in Vesterålen.
Chaffinch, Fringilla coelebs
Very common bird in Vesterålen. A small finch, about 14.5 cm (5.7 in) long, with a wingspan of 24.5–28.5 cm (9.6–11.2 in)
Great spotted woodpecker, Dendrocopos major
Medium-sized woodpecker. Most common species of woodpecker in Vesterålen. We often hear the sound of it chiseling into trees, but rarely see it except from in a few known feeding areas.
Eurasian dotterel, Charadrius morinellus
A small wader in the plover family. They feed by a run-and-pause technique, rather than the steady probing used by other waders.
Barn swallow, Hirundo rustica
Each spring and summer the swallows can be seen flying in and out of the roofs of barns around Vesterålen. Its a distinctive passerine bird that is 17–19 cm (6.7–7.5 in) long including 2–7 cm (0.79–2.76 in) of elongated outer tail feathers.
Arctic loon, Gavia arctica
A migratory aquatic bird that measures about 70 cm (28 in) in length and can weigh anywhere from 1.3 to 3.4 kilograms (2.9 to 7.5 lb). Can be seen on lakes around Vesterålen from april until september. While flying, it makes a barking "kwow" flight call.
Black-headed Gull, Chroicocephalus ridibundus
A small gull. Big colonies of black-headed gulls can be seen on some lakes in Vesterålen.
Barnacle goose, Branta leucopsis
Arrive in Vesterålen in each may in flocks up to 20.000 individuals, and can be seen all over Vesterålen feeding up for their journey to Svalbard to breed.
Grey heron, Ardea cinerea
The grey heron stands up to 1 m tall and weigh from 1 to 2 kg. The last years the population of heron has greatly increased and to see 30 to 60 heron fishing at the same spot is not uncommon all year around.
Common gull, Larus canus
Can be seen everywhere summertime. These birds will find you if you're in Vesterålen at summer.
Arctic tern, Sterna paradisaea
The arctic tern makes a roundtrip about 90,000 km long to nest in the Vesterålen islands. Activly defends their nesting colonies from anything approching them.
Red-breasted merganser, Mergus serrator
The red-breasted merganser is a diving duck that can be seen in large flocks around Vesterålen.
Common murre, Uria aalge
Common murres have fast direct flight but are not very agile. They are more manoeuvrable underwater, typically diving to depths of 30–60 m (98–197 ft). Depths of up to 180 m (590 ft) have been recorded. Can be seen diving around shoals of fish near land from time to time.
Greylag goose, Anser anser
These geese have started nesting all around the islands of Vesterålen and is easy to spot at summer.
Willow tit,Poecile montanus
Maybe the boldest and most curious of the small birds. Can come up all close if you stand still.
Great tit, Parus major
Common bird in Vesterålen.
Common redpoll, Acanthis flammea
The redpolls are common but not always easy to find.