What is the National Animal of Iceland?

national animal iceland

gyrfalcon – iceland national animal

Gyrfalcon is the national animal of Iceland. This bird species is a magnificent predator that is native to the Arctic region. Gyrfalcons are large birds with long wings and tail, which make them look like eagles. However, they belong to a family of falcons called Falconidae.

Gyrfalcons are found across northern regions like Iceland, Greenland, Scandinavia and Russia. They are considered to be the largest bird in Iceland and are protected by law. The national animal of Iceland is Gyrfalcon, which is protected by law in Iceland since 1975.

Physical Description

The male Gyrfalcon weighs 3.2 kg (7 lb) and measures about 60 cm (24 in) from beak to tail tip; the female is slightly smaller at 2.8 kg (6 lb). The male’s wingspan is about 180 cm (71 in), while that of the female is about 150 cm (59 in).

Gyrfalcon Scientific Classification

Species: F. rusticolus
Family: Falconidae
Class: Aves
Genus: Falco
Kingdom: Animalia

Interesting Facts about Gyrfalcon

  • Gyrfalcon is the official and native animal of Iceland
  • They are called “Gyr” because they can turn their head 90 degrees
  • Gyrs have been known to dive-bomb people who get too close to their nests
  • Gyrfalcon have been known to live up to 20 years in captivity but only 10 years in the wild (this is because of their diet).
  • They are very territorial, especially when nesting or feeding young. They will chase off birds that come too close and have been known to attack climbers who get too close to their nests or young.
  • The gyrfalcon is also known as the sea hawk or sea falcon.
  • The gyrfalcon is a generalist predator that feeds mostly on small birds like ptarmigan, geese, ducks and grouse. It also hunts large mammals such as rabbits, rodents and foxes.
  • Gyrfalcons mate for life and stay together year-round except during migration when they travel separately from October through December until they return to their breeding grounds in April or May .
  • They lay one egg per year but only rarely raise more than one chick because both parents leave the nest after 10 days

Why is Gyrfalcon the national animal of Iceland

The Gyrfalcon is an amazing bird with an impressive history, which makes it an ideal choice for being Iceland’s national bird. This bird can be found in wide areas of North America, Europe and Asia. It is found most commonly in Greenland, Alaska and Canada’s Arctic islands; Norway, Sweden and Finland; Scotland; Ireland; England; France; Spain; Poland and Russia.

The gyrfalcon is theĀ  popular symbol of this beautiful country. The falcon has been chosen as the symbol of Iceland for two reasons. Firstly, it is one of the strongest and most beautiful birds and secondly, it is indigenous to Iceland.