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Location Iceland, Vestmannaeyjar
Central coordinates 20o 19.00' West  63o 25.00' North
IBA criteria A4i, A4ii, A4iii, B1i, B1ii, B2
Area 27,500 ha
Altitude 0 - 226m
Year of IBA assessment 2000

Fuglavernd - BirdLife Iceland (Partner Designate)

Site description The site comprises all of the islands (and surrounding waters) in this offshore archipelago. Traditional harvesting of seabirds takes place (`Other' land-use): the eggs of Fulmarus glacialis and auks; the young, mainly of Sula bassana; and adults of Fratercula arctica.

Key Biodiversity More than one million pairs of seabirds breed here, including the largest congregation of breeding Oceanodroma leucorhoa in Europe, more than 90% of breeding Hydrobates pelagicus in Iceland, and 100% of breeding Puffinus puffinus in Iceland.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Northern Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis breeding  1983-1984  65,325 nests  good  A4ii, B1ii  Least Concern 
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus breeding  1991  8,000-10,000 breeding pairs  A4ii, B1ii, B2  Least Concern 
European Storm-petrel Hydrobates pelagicus breeding  1991  50,000-100,000 breeding pairs  medium  A4ii, B1ii, B2  Least Concern 
Leach's Storm-petrel Hydrobates leucorhous breeding  1991  167,600-224,600 breeding pairs  medium  A4ii, B1ii, B2  Least Concern 
Northern Gannet Morus bassanus breeding  1984-1985  9,013 nests  good  A4ii, B1ii, B2  Least Concern 
Black-legged Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla breeding  1983-1985  31,725 nests  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Common Murre Uria aalge breeding  1984  52,900-61,000 breeding pairs  good  B1ii  Least Concern 
Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica breeding  1999  1,000,000 breeding pairs  poor  A4ii, B1ii, B2  Vulnerable 
A4iii Species group - waterbirds breeding  1983-1985  50,000-99,999 individuals  good  A4iii   
A4iii Species group - seabirds breeding  1983-1999  1,000,000-2,499,999 breeding pairs  poor  A4iii   

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Surtsey Nature Reserve 6,559 protected area contained by site 270  
Surtsey World Heritage Site 3,371 protected area overlaps with site 550  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland   20%
Sea Open Sea; Sea inlets and coastal features  60%
Coastline Rock stacks and islets; Sea cliffs and rocky shores  20%

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
other -
nature conservation and research -
tourism/recreation -

Protection status National Low International None270 ha of IBA covered by Scientific Reserve (Surtsey, 270 ha).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Vestmannaeyjar. Downloaded from on 14/02/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife