email a friend
printable version
Location Iceland, Mýrasýsla
Central coordinates 22o 15.00' West  64o 31.00' North
IBA criteria A4i, B1i, B2
Area 13,300 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2000

Fuglavernd - BirdLife Iceland (Partner Designate)

Site description The area covers the shore and islands from álftanes to Akrar, c.15 km west of Borgarnes town. Habitats comprise extensive intertidal flats (including eel-grass Zostera beds), coastal saltmarshes and numerous islands, lagoons, freshwater marshes and standing pools of brackish and salt water. Land-uses are mainly grazing, eider husbandry (Somateria mollissima) and egg-collecting (`Other' land-use).

Key Biodiversity A rich area for coastal waterbirds. Mýrar is one of the main breeding areas in Iceland for Gavia stellata; also common as breeders are Sterna paradisaea (a few thousand pairs) and Fratercula arctica (the islands of Geldingaey and Lambeyjar hold one of the five largest colonies in Iceland). Calidris alba occurs in notable numbers (1,000) on passage.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Brent Goose Branta bernicla passage  1974-1996  1,443-10,000 individuals  good  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus non-breeding  1,300 individuals  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Red-throated Loon Gavia stellata resident  1994-1997  200 breeding pairs  B2  Least Concern 
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres passage  1990  426 individuals  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Red Knot Calidris canutus passage  1990  8,574 individuals  A4i, B1i  Near Threatened 
Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima winter  present  A4i, B1i  Least Concern 
Atlantic Puffin Fratercula arctica resident  abundant  B2  Vulnerable 


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Grassland   5%
Wetlands (inland) Standing freshwater  -
Sea Sea inlets and coastal features  45%
Coastline Rock stacks and islets; Salt marshes; Sea cliffs and rocky shores; Tidal rivers & enclosed tidal waters  -

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture -
other -

Protection status National None International None

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Álftanes-Akrar. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016

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