Iceland's unique location makes it ideal for spotting a diverse number of bird species. Because it lies just below the Arctic Circle and between Europe and North America, Iceland is famous for spotting vagrants. And, because it is within the North Atlantic Ocean, it also an excellent place to look for North American and European rarities.
The mild winters, cool summers, lack of trees, and a lengthy coastline all make Iceland a prime stop for numerous bird species. With such a small human population and many uninhabited regions, there is ample space both for birds that breed in low coastal regions as well as those that breed on the cliffs. Over 350 unique species have been sighted in Iceland, an impressive figure, especially given that the country's bird list isn't lengthy. That said, while Iceland does not have an abundance of breeding species, those that do breed here are easily seen around the island.
A bird watching tour will typically yield 70-80 species in the summer, which is the best time to visit because all the migrants have arrived. Also during the summer, because of the midnight sun, it's possible to look for birds 24 hours each day. Ornithology is possible year-round, however. Autumn is the best time to look for rare birds. In the spring, bird life is at a peak. And in the winter, while weather and lack of daylight make it more difficult, there are still a number of birds to find, including the impossible-to-miss Iceland gulls.