in the Faroe Islands
62°N, 7°W

An Oystercatcher in Toftir An Oystercatcher in Toftir An Oystercatcher in Toftir
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Faroe Islands
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Online since 1997

Birds in the Faroe Islands


The Oystercatcher - Haematopus ostralegus

An Oystercatcher over the hill above Rituvík Known in Faroes as the Tjaldur, this distinctive and attractive bird, with its black and white plumage and long orange-red bill, is a familiar sight throughout the islands. If you don't spot it immediately, it soon draws attention to itself with its piping call. The photographs of an Oystercatcher in flight were taken on the hill above the village of Ritavik on Eysturoy.

According to the Faroese calendar, the Oystercatcher arrives every year on the 12th March and leave on the 16th of September - amazingly, it is quite punctual. A few though, don't follow this schedule and can be seen at other times.

Reportedly, there have been about 10.000 breeding pairs in Faroes each summer in recent years.They lay 2 or 3 eggs in a shallow nest.
  An Oystercatcher over the hill above Rituvík

Oystercatcher in "Saksunardali", Saksun valley on Streymoy
Oystercatchers nest with eggs on the hills by the beauty spot Toftavatn on Eysturoy.
Click to enlarge
A nest by "Toftavatn", a lake on Eysturoy
Oystercatcher eggs near Hvalba on Suðuroy
A nest made of small stones near Hvalba on Suðuroy

The Oystercatcher is the national bird in the Faroes and there are different views as to why this is so. Most likely it is because it is such a beautiful and well-known bird here. Its distinctive colours and characteristics are a part of the landscape throughout the islands from March till September. Also, it is known for guarding its nest especially well and for its part in Nólsoyar Páll's Bird ballad (Nólsoyar Páll is a national hero in Faroese history).  An Oystercatcher on the hill above Rituvík

The photos at the top of the page are of an Oystercatcher in the village of Toftir on the island of Eysturoy.
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Guillemot (Lomvigi)
Oystercatcher (Tjaldur)
The Puffin (Lundi)
Shag (Skarvur)
Gannet (Súla)
Kittiwake (Rita)
Golden Plover (Lógva)
Lesser black-backed Gull (Likka)
Snipe (Mýrisnípa)
Wheatear (Steinstólpa)
Whimbrel (Spógvi)
Arctic Tern (Terna)

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