Myvatn - Laxa

Country/territory: Iceland

IBA criteria met: A4i, A4iii, B1i, B2, B3 (2000)
For more information about IBA criteria, please click here

Area: 152,890 ha

Fuglavernd - BirdLife Iceland
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) Threat (pressure) Condition (state) Action (response)
2015 medium not assessed medium
For more information about IBA monitoring, please click here

Site description (baseline)
A shallow eutrophic lake (Mývatn) with many islands and fed by cold and thermal springs. There are numerous small lakes, pools, bogs and sedge marshes (Carex, Eriophorum) in the surrounding area. The Laxá river drains the lake into Skjálfandi bay. `Rocky areas' here are lava. Land-uses include farming, fishing, energy production (hydroelectric and geothermal), mining and tourism.

Key biodiversity
The site holds 20,000 or more waterbirds on a regular basis. Some duck species˜Anas penelope, Aythya fuligula and Aythya marila˜breed at higher densities than anywhere else in Europe. Other notable birds include diverse breeding waterbirds, raptors and passerines, and, outside the breeding season, moulting Mergus merganser (365 birds; mean 1975-1989).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Myvatn - Laxa. Downloaded from on 29/05/2023.