Photo of the day: Tjaldur

Photo: Maciej Olszewszki

The bird life in Iceland is surprisingly diverse with 330 species recorded and a count of at least 85 species that have nested on this island in the North Atlantic Ocean.

One of these species is the Oystercatcher (Icelandic: Tjaldur). The Oystercatcher is a large, stocky wading bird – actually one of the biggest wading birds there is and the national bird of the Faroe Islands! It boasts of a long and impressive orange bill that has a nice contrast to its black and white feathers.

The Oystercatcher can be found on coasts worldwide, apart from the polar regions and tropical regions in South East Asia and Africa. In Iceland’s lowlands, the bird is prevalent and the breed has been growing in population since the year 2000. In recent years the birds have been changing their habitation – this change is in part traced to global warming.

In Iceland, as in other countries, countless folklores are tied to various bird species. In the olden days, Icelandic farmers used to believe that if the Oystercatchers gather in the hayfield chirping and chattering it was an unfailing sign of rain the next day. The golden plover (Icelandic: Heiðlóa) is said to be the messenger of spring and the Icelandic media covers its arrival thoroughly each year. The Common raven (Icelandic: Hrafn) is also a prominent figure in many folklores, being a symbol of both good and bad luck. The list goes on and on and on. In our photo of the day a flock of Oystercatchers is beautifully captured by Maciej Olszewszki.

Oh, and if you are looking for illustrations of Icelandic wading birds we just might have the poster you’ve been searching for in our shop. Click here for a direct link.