Best time to travel to Norway

Arctic Sea Ducks in Norway

Norwegian arctic ducks amaze with their colors, vast numbers, and vocals

Arctic Sea Ducks
Arctic Sea Ducks
Arctic Sea Ducks
Arctic Sea Ducks

Nearly 1000 arctic ducks choose to winter in Båtsfjord harbour, situated in Varanger, not far from the fish factory. The most prominent and numerous are King Eiders. Though they have no crowns, the birds are distinguished by unique appearance: a red beak, a patch of bright yellow above, and green on the side make it look truly beautiful. Despite King Eiders prevalence in the harbour, there are also Common Eiders, Long-tailed Ducks, and some Steller's Eiders. The birds might be found around Varanger throughout winter up to April, but the best time to encounter sea ducks is late January and February, as then the sunlight starts gradually coming back to Norway, so the nights are not so deep dark any more, but rather blue instead, and the these birds become particularly vocal.

Practical info

What makes Norway a popular destination for arctic ducks?

Arctic ducks are attracted to Norway in winters, primarily due to its relatively ice-free waters that provide easy access to food. Additionally, the Arctic tundras of Norway serve as a breeding ground. Wintering locations like Norway are essential for the survival of these birds as they help them retain their body heat against the cold running seawater, ice, and snow. Show more

Why do Norwegian arctic ducks choose to winter in Båtsfjord harbor, Varanger?

Båtsfjord harbor, Varanger, is a wintering location for many arctic ducks. The location is favored by the birds as it lies close to a fish factory that is a reliable source of food. Alongside King Eiders, other species like Common Eiders, Long-tailed Ducks, and Steller's Eiders can also be spotted in the area throughout the winter until April. Show more

When is the best time to spot sea ducks in Norway?

The most suitable time to encounter sea ducks in Norway is from late January to February. During this period, the prolonged darkness begins to decrease, and sunlight seeps in, leading to blue-hued nights. This transition results in an increase in vocalization of the birds around the Varanger area that facilitates the spotting of hard-to-find species. Show more

What distinguishes King Eiders from other arctic ducks?

King Eiders are unique in appearance than other arctic ducks as they lack a crown. Instead, they have bright colors like a red beak, bright yellow patch above, and green on the side. The King Eider has more extensive coloration on the breast than other Eiders and is the largest of the four primary species of the Eider, having a weight of around 1.5kg. Show more

Where else can one spot arctic ducks in Norway during the winter months?

Apart from Båtsfjord harbor, Varanger, there are other locations where one can spot duck species during winter. Tranøy lighthouse, Gjesværstappan Nature Reserve, and Runde island are some other places that present beautiful views of the Norwegian wildlife, a delight for bird-watchers and travelers alike. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin