Spitsbergen songbirds

This video says about itself:

A great birding/nature holiday in Lapland and Svalbard (Spitsbergen). Springtime 2011. Music: Sigur Ros.

Snow buntings are the only songbirds which one might expect to see and hear regularly on the Svalbard archipelago.

However, they are not always the only passerines there.

The book Birds and Mammals of Svalbard, has, on pages 190-191, a list of no less than 59 songbird species, recorded once or more on the islands.

The Internet version of that book does not have that list.

The site svalbardbirds.com has a more extensive bird species list, also probably more up to date. That list includes 64 passerine species.

Most of them have been seen less or far less than twenty times on this Arctic archipelago. Some of them only on Bear Island, halfway between continental Norway and Spitsbergen.

Let us look at some species which are more frequent than that, though far less frequent than snow buntings.

A few barn swallows visit each year.

There is one breeding record of a house martin couple.

This video is about a house martin nest in urban Poland.

Once, there has been a meadow pipit nest on Bear Island, Birds and Mammals of Svalbard says. Svalbardbirds.com says that these birds have nested more than once in Svalbard, though still irregularly; and not only on Bear Island.

Both sources agree that white wagtails visit the archipelago in small numbers, and have nested there once.

Northern wheatears visit regularly, and nest irregularly.

This is a northern wheatear video from Poland.

Starlings visit fairly regularly, and have nested once on Bear island.

Blackbird and fieldfare visit in most years, but don’t nest as far as people know.

Redwings have nested on Svalbard more than once.

Mealy redpolls breed irregularly.

Arctic redpolls probably nest annually; at least according to Svalbardbirds.com.

Lapland buntings may nest irregularly, Svalbardbirds.com says.

This video from Norway says about itself:

Singing Lapland Bunting (Longspur). Bunting female and fledgling. Bunting and Dunlin calling together on the same rock.


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