Winter guests on Lake Laugarvatn

Húsönd – Barrow’s Goldeneye – Bucephala islandica

The Barrow’s Goldeneye stays in Iceland the whole year round. Its distribution has been more or less restricted to Mývatn and Laxá in North Iceland. It prefers to stay in spring water and part of the population goes to the South during the coldest time of the year. Lake Laugarvatn is one the places where you can expect to spot them. Due to geothermal heat it does not freeze over even in the harshest of winters. From January to March they can be seen in groups not far from land.

Lake Laugarvatn in March

Iceland is the only breeding place of the Barrow’s Goldeneye in Europe and the distribution has been more or less restricted to Northeast Iceland. More birds now breed in the South, e.g. in the Southern Highlands, in Lake Þingvallavatn and River Sog. Barrow’s Goldeneye stay in spring water lakes or rivers the whole year round and unlike most non-migrators they do not move to the sea around Iceland in winter.