The majority of Greenland's birds are migratory birds, and there are therefore only around 60 species that are regarded as permanent breeders in the country. A total of 235 species of bird have been observed in Greenland, and you can read about the most common or the most spectacular breeding birds below:
The white-tailed eagle - the largest bird of prey
Among the most striking species is the white-tailed eagle - or nattoralik, as it is called in Greenlandic. The white-tailed eagle is Greenland's largest breeding bird. It lives primarily on fish such as cod and char, but also on carrion and sea birds such as eider. The Greenlandic white-tailed eagle is slightly bigger than its counterparts in other parts of the world. It is found in particular along the southern part of the west coast down to Cape Farewell. The white-tailed eagle is a fully protected species in Greenland.
The fulmar - the characteristic petrel
The fulmar - qaqulluk - is a compact little gliding bird which is often seen with stiff wings hovering just above the water, even when the sea is rough. It resembles the seagull, but is actually a part of the petrel-family. The fulmar is the bird that is seen most frequently in Greenlandic waters, particularly at Disko Bay and further to the north.
The black guillemot - the most common auk
This auk is the most common breeding bird in Greenland, and is often seen on the wing just above the water or at some of the country's major bird colonies. The Brünnich's guillemot (appa) is another important auk, whose breast is a popular delicacy found on the menu of many restaurants.
Eider - a common sea duck
The eider, or aavooq, is the most important breeding wild fowl in Greenland. It is particularly common in coastal regions all over Greenland and broods on small islands and rocks. When young, the bird is almost indistinguishable from the king eider (miteq siorakitsoq), which is also a sea duck, but which is most common in the northeast of Greenland.
Ptarmigan - Greenland's only gallinaceous bird
The ptarmigan - aqisseq - breeds all over Greenland and can be seen in practically any sort of terrain. It is a popular delicacy and the population thus varies from year to year. The ptarmigan changes its plumage according to the season, and is thus white in the winter and grey in the summer.
Other birds in Greenland
In addition to the birds above, a number of other birds should also be mentioned. This applies in particular to the black raven, which is probably the bird that the majority of people notice. The raven is in the crow family and breeds all over the country. Its characteristic croaking call can be heard very clearly if you are out hiking. The snow bunting is another very common bird that leaves Greenland in about September and returns in March. Greenland also has two species of falcon - the peregrine falcon and the gerfalcon - which are both protected species.
Ptarmigan in grey summer feathers