The fauna of the Northeast Iceland is diverse in character, offering all nature lovers something to suit their special interests. Varying environmental conditions provide the foundation for this diversity; lowlands, highlands, nourishing lakes and wetlands, woods, heather moors and the shoreline in all its variety of shapes.


In Skjálfandaflói Bay, several species of whale may be observed, the most common being minke whales, humpbacks and harbour porpoises. Húsavík is the centre of whale watching in Iceland and has a whale museum by the harbour. The first organised Icelandic whale watching expeditions began here and turned out very successfully. An ever-growing number of people seek the opportunity to sail out to sea hoping to observe those distinguished creatures as they break the surface to blow and breathe.

Fish & Seals

The offshore seas are rich in countless species of fish. Trout abound in several lakes as do different varieties of arctic charr, and salmon energetically swim far upstream in several local rivers. Seals relax on skerries or swim effortlessly near the shore if a human presence happens to arouse their curiosity. Quite often common seals (harbour seals) travel up the river Skjálfandafljót as they also do in the Bakkahlaup area of river Jökulsá á Fjöllum, where they use river islands as safe havens when giving birth to their offspring.


Northeast Iceland is renowned for its rich and diverse birdlife. The coast, where the contrasting worlds of land and marine life meet, provides particularly rich environment for a variety of birds. It is quite possible to see 70 species in one day in the coastal regions of Northeast Iceland and further inland, the Mývatn area hosts more species of ducks during the summer than any other location in the world.


Melrakkaslétta is the proper domicile of the fox, as indicated by its very name, which translates to Fox Plain.  Foxes are also found elsewhere and mink is widespread over the entire region. The fox population has grown considerably in areas like Flateyjardalur which human population has left to abandonment.