In the Faroe Islands there are currently about 110 different species of birds although, including vagrants. During the last 150 years, over 260 species have been recorded. There are about 40 common breeding birds, including the seabirds fulmar (600,000 pairs), puffin (550,000 pairs), storm petrel (250,000 pairs), black-legged kittiwake (230,000 pairs), guillemot (175,000 pairs), Manx shearwater (25,000 pairs).
Symbolically, the most important of the birds of the Faroe Islands is the Eurasian oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus). Their annual arrival on about 12 March is celebrated by the Faroese people as the start of spring. For this reason, the tjaldur (pronounced [ˈtʃaldʊɹ]), is recognised as the national bird of the Faroes. However, in numbers, the avifauna is dominated by an estimated two million pairs of breeding seabirds of several species. There are also some resident landbirds and many regular visitors, both passage migrants and breeders, as well as several species recorded occasionally as vagrants, mainly from Europe. The Faroese postal system, the Postverk Føroya, prints stamps portraying Faroe birds. See external links.
In the 19th century, the islands were occasionally visited by black-browed albatross; one bird regularly summering with gannets for 34 years before it was shot for the Natural History Museum in Copenhagen. The great auk also visited the Faroes and may have bred there, but became extinct throughout its range in the North Atlantic in the early 19th century due to human predation. The pied raven, a colour morph of the common raven, also occurred but disappeared by the middle of the 20th century.
Historically, harvesting seabirds for food was an important source of nutrition for the islanders. A reduced and strictly regulated harvest, mainly of fulmars and puffins, continues. In general, the seabirds and their nesting areas are now strongly protected.
The most common birds are listed with their Faroese names too.
Excellent places for watching seabirds (guillemots, kittiwakes and puffins are common everywhere) including:
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Birds on Faroese stamps.|