Tag Archives: Gyrfalcon

Gyrfalcon chasing ducks

Fálki – Gyrfalcon – Falco rusticolus

Gyrfalcons are out and about at this time of year in search of prey but they are annual guests here in the winter time.  At other times of the year they keep to their territories, most of them in the North. In the last two weeks an adult and a young bird have been spotted in the area. They fly over the river, chasing ducks and occasionally manage to succeed.

These predatory birds are always of interest and these photoes show the young Gyrfalcon. The ducks seemed to feel secure on the water although the falcon was in the air.


Predatory birds on the river

Fálki – Gyrfalcon – Falco rusticolus

In the last two weeks we have had very cold weather with temperatures going down to minus 10 to 12 degrees here in Selfoss. This cold weather seems to attract predatory birds, see our latest blogs on The White-tailed Eagle, and this weekend we also saw two Gyrfalcons here on the river by Selfoss. One of them was eating a duck.

The Gyrfalcon is a majestic bird and always a treat to see. We watched one of them hunting by the river which is home to a lot of ducks, geese, whooper Swans and gulls. When a White-tailed Eagle appeared in the area the Gyrfalcon was not  willing to give up its place and despite being much smaller attacked and drove it away.

Gyrfalcon driving a White-tailed Eagle away

With White-tailed Eagles and Gyrfalcons surging over the river it surely is a very special place.

Hunting Gyrfalcon

Fálki – Gyrfalcon – Falco rusticolus

A Gyrfalcon  was searching for prey by River Ölfusá yesterday. He flew over a flock of ducks and swans. They did not move and most stayed in the water.


Soon some Ravens came by and chased the Gyrfalcon away.


The Ravens are a tough bunch.  This time the Gyrfalcon fled without a morsel to eat.


Out on the ice

Fálki – Gyrfalcon – Falco rusticolus

It is always exciting to see a Gyrfalcon, the biggest falcon in the world. Its main food source in Iceland is the Ptarmigan but it also hunts other birds such as ducks, geese and gulls. Last weekend we saw a Gyrfalcon eating a duck far out on the ice on Ellidavatn Lake, just outside Reykjavik.  The Gyrfalcon was shy and not prepared to let a photographer get anywhere near.


By cropping the photo identification was possible and this time the Gyrfalcon had managed to catch a  male Red-breasted Merganser.

Pursuing a Mallard

Fálki – Gyrfalcon – Falco rusticolus

I caught sight of this Gyrfalcon over the river yesterday. It is a young bird, probably a male. It is always exciting to see a Gyrfalcon and I was ready with my lens when it passed by at great speed. It was pursuing a Mallard on Ölfusá River, South Iceland. The chase was without the desired result.
Photo taken on Nikon D90, Nikkor 200-500mm, f 5.6, 500mm, 1/1250, ISO 800.

Young Gyrfalcons

Fálki – Gyrfalcon – Falco rusticolus

The Gyrfalcon is not a common breeding bird in Iceland so seeing one is always a treat. Estimated number of breeding pairs is 300. They are more common in the North but can be spotted all over the country. Their numbers are determined by the numbers of Ptarmigan which is their main food although they hunt most birds.

Gyrfalcon on flight

The two Gyrfalcon siblings that I came across had killed a Pink-footed Goose and were busy eating it. They did not want to leave their prey which made photographing them not to difficult.

The remains of a Pink-footed Goose
The remains of a Pink-footed Goose