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Location Iceland, Gardabær,Kjósarsýsla,Kópavogur,Reykjavík,Seltjarnarnesbær
Central coordinates 22o 0.00' West  64o 4.00' North
IBA criteria A4i, B1i
Area 3,300 ha
Altitude 0 - 5m
Year of IBA assessment 2000

Fuglavernd - BirdLife Iceland (Partner Designate)

Site description A coastal area in and near the capital, with sea bays, shingle and stony beaches, peninsulas, intertidal flats, brackish lagoons and marshes. The area extends from Bali on álftanes along the coast, inwards to Skerjafjördur and up to the north part of Seltjarnarnes. Eider husbandry (Somateria mollissima) is practised at Bessastadir.

Key Biodiversity An important area for coastal waterbirds. Other species in notable numbers include Clangula hyemalis (wintering), Haematopus ostralegus (c.60 breeding pairs; 200+ staging on passage), Calidris alpina (few hundreds staging on passage), Tringa totanus (few hundreds staging on passage), and hundreds to thousands of large gulls in winter (Larus argentatus, L. glaucoides, L. hyperboreus and L. marinus).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Brent Goose Branta bernicla passage  1974-1996  205-1,334 individuals  good  B1i  Least Concern 
Common Eider Somateria mollissima resident  3,200 breeding pairs  B1i  Near Threatened 
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres passage  200 individuals  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Red Knot Calidris canutus passage  3,000 individuals  B1i  Near Threatened 
Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima winter  1,000 individuals  medium  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Grotta Nature Reserve 29 protected area contained by site 5  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland   5%
Wetlands (inland) Standing brackish and salt water  -
Sea Sea inlets and coastal features  70%
Coastline Mud flats & sand flats; Salt marshes; Sea cliffs and rocky shores  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
urban/industrial/transport -
tourism/recreation -
agriculture -

Protection status National None International None5 ha of IBA covered by unknown type of protected area (Grötta, 5 ha).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Skerjafjördur. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016

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