|Photo credit: screenshot from a video by Birkir Rafnsson||Author: Magnús Sveinn Helgason, Reykjavík, Iceland
Historically one of the most prized exports of Iceland were gyrfalcons. During the Middle Ages, Icelandic falcons (Falco rusticolus islandicus) were considered prized possessions of European kings and nobility. The gyrfalcon is the largest of the falcon species. It breeds on Arctic coasts and the islands of North America, Europe, and Asia. One-fourth of the entire European gyrfalcon population is believed to live in Iceland. Currently the Icelandic population, which has been protected since 1940, numbers between 300 and 400 adult nesting pairs.
Most of the falcon population of Iceland lives in Northeast Iceland, with the Jökulsárgljúfur river canyon being one of its key habitats, but these majestic birds also live in the Westfjords, where a video was shot by Birkir Rafnsson.
Magnificent birds and efficient hunters