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10 remarkable Arctic birds

By: Roni Robbins on Dec. 20, 2012, 4:27 p.m.
snow bunting in snow

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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At home in a harsh region

The warmest month in the Arctic Circle still means temperatures below 50 degrees. But that doesn’t deter about 200 species of Arctic birds from making the northernmost part of the Earth their home for at least part of the year.

During the winter, ptarmigan are the most abundant birds in the Arctic, while ravens are the most noticeable birds.

In the summertime, more birds can be found throughout the region. Some nest there, staying to care for their hatchlings, while others may just fly through the Arctic on migratory routes. As the weather gets colder, the birds depart, with only a few species remaining year-round.

We asked ornithologist Dr. Nathan Senner, who studies Arctic species with the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, for his top 10 list of interesting Arctic birds. His selections include birds with long migratory flight patterns, two with flamboyant mating rituals and another with a distinctive call that differs during day and night. (Text: Roni Robbins)