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Látrabjarg - A view from our expert author


Kittiwakes on Látrabjarg, Iceland by BMJ, ShutterstockBlack-legged kittiwakes are among the thousands of birds on the Látrabjarg bird cliffs © BMJ, Shutterstock

It is impossible to exaggerate the sheer size of these cliffs – or the mind-boggling number of the summer avian population.

The great cliffs of Látrabjarg are one of the great natural wonders of Iceland. The vertical wall of layered basalt drops straight down into the waters of Breiðafjörður from such dizzying heights that the human eye fails to take it all in. It is impossible to exaggerate the sheer size of these cliffs: well over 400m (1,200ft ) high and more than 14km (8.6 miles) long. The cliffs make everything else seem in miniature. Equally impressive is the massive bird population that make this their summer home. Látrabjarg is the largest bird cliff in Iceland and also in the entire northern hemisphere. Nobody’s had the patience to take an official count, but we know there are several million birds – enough to completely cover the cliff from one end to the other. It is a unique habitat and on such a massive scale that several seabird species sustain their population at this one spot. From May to August, expect puffins, guillemots, razorbills, and fulmar in overwhelming numbers. The birds love the cliff for its perfect nesting spots and the abundant food below. The violent current that swirls off the tip of this peninsula is rich with fish – hence the birds, fishing boats, and a long history of shipwrecks. Birdwatchers will have a field day at this site.

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