Western Mývatn offers some of the best birdwatching in Iceland, with more than 115 species recorded in the area – including 28 species of ducks. Most species of Icelandic waterfowl are found here in great numbers. Three duck species – the scoter, the gadwall and the Barrow’s goldeneye – breed nowhere else in Iceland.
Other species frequenting the area include harlequin and tufted ducks, mallards, scaup, whooper swans, great northern divers, Arctic terns and golden plovers. The area’s bogs, marshes, ponds and wet tundra are a high-density waterfowl nesting zone. Off-trail hiking in defined (and signposted) nesting areas on the western shore is restricted between 15 May and 20 July (when the chicks hatch), but hides near Sigurgeir’s Bird Museum allow for birding.