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Ecosystem

Keflavik Airport is Iceland's largest airport. Its area does not include any protected areas or designated archaeological remains. However, the Miðnesheiði moor, where the airport is situated, is among the world’s largest nesting grounds for the lesser black-backed gull. The airport area also supports a wealth of moorland birds. Attempts have been made to modify vegetation within the area, including by planting lupins, applying organic fertilisers and sowing.

Airport habitats vary in the diversity of their flora and fauna. We at Isavia actively monitor and record wildlife activity in our airport areas. The level of detail of the records varies between airports, as does the level of wildlife presence, which consists mostly of birds, although occasionally reindeer, foxes or rabbits need to be dispersed from areas where they pose a risk.

An important part of airfield operations is minimising hazards for air passengers, including the risk of animal-aircraft collisions such as bird strikes. This is achieved through wildlife hazard management, which includes scaring, exclusion from the airport area, habitat management and other strategies. A record is kept of our wildlife control actions and general developments of the fauna at each airport. Scaring obviously affects wildlife but is necessary to ensure the safety of aircraft and passengers and therefore an integral part of our wildlife management.

Foxes are the only wild land animals living at and around Keflavik Airport. Their number has dwindled significantly in recent years and fox sightings are rare, although more prevalent in 2016 than in many previous years. While the vast majority of birds in the area are migratory, a small contingent of ptarmigan maintains a year-round presence.

The table below lists the species of wildlife, all of them birds, recorded in our airport areas. It only includes species dispersed by our staff from airport areas, so is far from exhaustive for all species inhabiting them. The species are classified by their status on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Their legal status in Iceland is also indicated. Species’ relative abundance in Iceland can differ from global figures, so the list includes species not under threat according the IUCN list but protected under Icelandic law.


Species

Scientific name

IUCN status

Legal status in Iceland

Gyrfalcon

Falco rusticolus

Vulnerable (VU)

Protected

Common raven

Corvus corax

Vulnerable (VU)

Not protected

Great black-backed gull

Larus marinus

Vulnerable (VU)

Not protected 

Common gull

Larus canus

Near-threatened (NT)

Protected 

Red knot                  

Calidris cantus

Near-threatened (NT)

Not protected

Eurasian oystercatcher

Haematopus ostralegus

Near-threatened (NT)

Protected

Common eider

Somateria mollissima

Near-threatened (NT)

Protected

Whooper swan 

Cygnus cygnus

Least concern (LC)

Protected 

Rock ptarmigan

Lagopus muta

Least concern (LC)

Protected except from 15 Oct to 22 Dec

Greylag goose 

Anser anser

Least concern (LC)


Pink-footed goose

Anser brachyrhynchus

Least concern (LC)

Protected except from 20 Aug  to 15 Mar

European golden plover

Pluvialis apricaria

Least concern (LC)

Protected

Black- headed gull

Larus ridibundus

Least concern (LC)

Protected except from 1 Sep to 15 Mar

Arctic tern

Sterna paradisaea                 

Least concern (LC)

Protected

Brant (goose)

Branta bernicla

Least concern (LC)

Protected

Lesser black-backed gull

Larus fuscus

Least concern (LC)

Not protected

Merlin

Falco columbarius                 

Least concern (LC)

Protected

Whimbrel

Numenius phaeopus

Least concern (LC)

Protected