Undoubtedly the most exclusive destination Norway has to offer. Here is a list of exclusive bird species beyond any other place in Norway, and the number of birds both summer and winter is simply amazing.

Varanger is undoubtedly the most exclusive destination Norway can offer. Here is a list of exclusive bird species beyond any other place in Norway, and the number of birds both summer and winter is simply amazing. With the exception of the period November 15 - February 1, when the dark winter times makes bird watching difficult, Varanger is worth visiting all year round. In March and April, the days are long and the lights amazing - making it the perfect photo destination. Yellow-billed loon, glaucous gull, long-tailed duck, steller’s eider and king eider are numerous and well worth spending a week in these surroundings. Birds like arctic redpoll, gyrfalcon, grey-headed chickadee, willow ptarmigan and rock ptarmigan are also possible nowadays.


Towards the end of April, the amount of migrating birds increases and from mid-April to around the 20th of May, a large number of yellow-billed loons, pomarine jaegers and other seabirds pass by places such as Nesseby, Hamningberg and Kjølnes Lighthouse at Berlevåg. On good days, over half a million seabirds can pass the migration locations. Black-legged kittwakes and northern fulmars make up the majority, but thousands of auks and thick-billed murres can also be seen in these areas.

May is a hectic month, and during the last fortnight of the month it explodes in Varanger. Ruffs plays their regular mating games, and the red-necked phalaropes gathers in small lakes before they continue towards their regular mating locations. Most king eiders have left Varanger, but there are still bigger flocks with steller’s eiders in the ports here.

During the first week of June are all bird species, with the exception of arctic warblers, in place and the song activity is at its highest. Red-throated pipits and Lapland longspurs dominates the fauna of songsbirds along with bluethroats and western yellow wagtails. In good “rodent years”, rough-legged buzzards, long-tailed jaegers and short-eared owls are very common nesting birds, while these species can be virtually absent the years when the rodents are gone. At the highest peaks, horned larks and dotterels nest. Along the beaches and rivers temminick’s stints are common.

The end of June is the best time to find rarities in Varanger. The list is very long, and includes greater spotted eagles, white-winged larks, little curlews, sharp-tailed sandpipers, stilt sandpipers, semipalmated sandpipers, caspian plovers, semipalmated plovers, laughing gulls, ross’s gulls, spectacled eiders and Cape verde storm petrels.

The mating season ends in early August, and during the first half of this month, the tundra is quickly empty of birds. In the fjords, however, it is a busy life, with tens of thousands of seabirds at times. Little stins and dunlins are the dominant species, but all of the Arctic seabirds are found in smaller numbers. The wadding migration last until September. August is also a wonderful time to see seabirds returning, and it is now even possible to expect species such as manx shearwaters, European storm petrels, leach’s storm petrels, red phalaropes, and some sabine’s gulls in Varangerfjorden.

During October, a large amount of winter birds arrives in Varangerfjorden. Thousands of king eiders, steller’s eider and long-tailed ducks fill up the fjord. Yellow-billed loons are also easier to spot during winter season than during summer.

Bird Species

Black-throated loon (5-10), red-throated loon (1-12), yellow-billed loon (11-5), European shag (1-12), whooper swan (4-10), taiga bean goose (4-8), velvet scoter (1-12) common scoter (1-12), long-tailed duck (1-12), king eider (1-12), steller’s eider (1-12), white-tailed eagle (1-12), goalden eagle (1-12), rough-legged buzzard (5-8), gyrfalcon 1-12), willow ptarmigan (1-12), rock ptarmigan (1-12), dotterel (5-8), purple sandpiper (1-12), temminick’s stint (5-9), broad-billed stint (5-8), little stint (5-9), spotted redshank (5-8), bar-tailed godwit (5-10), red-necked phalarope (5-8), jack snipe (5-8), wood sandpiper (5-8), ruff (5-10) long-tailed jaeger (5-9), parasitic jaeger (5-10), black-legged kittiwake (1-12), Iceland gull (11-4), glaucous gull (1-12), arctic tern (5-9), auk (1-12), common murre (1-12) ), thick-billed murre (1-12), puffin (1-12), black guillemot (1-12), short-eared owl (1-12), snowy owl (1-12), horned lark (5-9), western yellow wagtail (5-9) red-throated pipit (5-8), white-throated dipper (1-12), bluethroat (5-9), ring ouzel (5-9), arctic warbler (6-7), grey-headed chickadee (1-12), arctic redpoll (1-12) Lapland longspur (5-9), snow bunting (5-11)

White-billed Diver
White-billed Diver
King Eider
King Eider
‍Steller`s Eider
‍Steller`s Eider


There is enough to do in Varanger - for birdwatchers and photographers. Here are some tips:

  1. Mid-April - Late July: Take a boat to the bird' mountain Hornøya. Here you will find common shag, puffin, auk, common murre, and last, but not least, the exclusive thick-billed murre. European herring gull, great black-backed gull and rock pipit are also common. If you are a photographer, you can easily spend two or three days here. The boat departure from the port of Vardø.
  2. Early April - August: The colony of black-legged kittiwake on Ekkerøy is an indispensable source of photo motifs. Spend one, two or three days out here and make sure you get the perfect photo.
  3. March - May: The jewels of Varangerfjord; king eiders and steller’s eiders are at their most photogenic during the spring time – at the lighting is perfect. Many people spend a week photographing the birds in these parts. We highly recommend it. Our self-guiding system helps you track the birds. An even more effective way to photograph these magnificent birds is to track them by boat. Contact us for booking a guided boat trip.
  4. March - May: The beaches in Varangerfjord are full of purple sandpipers. Make sure to reserve a day for these wonderful birds.
  5. 5th - 25th of May: Red knots arrives at Varangerfjorden in big numbers.
  6. All year: Use our self-guiding system and find the birds you want to see.
  7. June - July: Photograph red-necked phalarope - over a hundred birds gather at specific locations. Our self-guiding system helps you find the best locations.
  8. June: Photograph the mating games of ruffs. Our self-guiding system helps you find the best locations.
  9. August: The arrival of see birds are at its best. Spend a week perfecting your pictures, or search for more unique birds. Our self-guiding system helps you find the best locations.
  10. August: Millions of seabirds leave their nesting places. Observe the phenomenon from Hamningberg. Our self-guiding system helps you find the right place.
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