Beautiful Bird on Reykjavík Pond

One of the horned grebes on Reykjavík Pond.

One of the horned grebes on Reykjavík Pond. Photo: Árni Árnason

Vala Hafstað

Two horned grebes (Podiceps auritus) were spotted last week on the Pond in Reykjavík. This is the first time the species has been seen on the Pond, RÚV reports.

It was listed as endangered in Iceland at the beginning of the century, but has since recovered. Its numbers are up in the country’s southwest corner. Never before, though, has the bird chosen to make downtown Reykjavík home.

Photo: Árni Árnason

Biologist Snorri Sigurðsson tells RÚV the two birds could likely be a couple, although they have yet to build a nest. He reports that horned grebes have long been on the pond Ástjörn in Hafnarfjörður, just south of Reykjavík.

The bird builds a floating nest, for which conditions are not ideal on Reykjavík Pond, Snorri states. “There is a lack of vegetation on the edge of the pond, which the horned grebe needs for attaching the floating nest it makes, but they’re staying close to the islet. They may see an opportunity there.”

Photo:Árni Árnason

The horned grebe is the only bird in Iceland to make a floating nest. On the lakes Vífilsstaðavatn and Elliðavatn in the capital area, people have successfully created conditions for the bird to make a nest. “The horned grebes arrived right away to take advantage of that,” Snorri states.

Photographer Árni Árnason took the photos above of the colorful birds on Reykjavík Pond. They are published with his permission.

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