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Republic of Austria

Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis ©Ignaas Robbe Website

Austria's amazing variety of habitat types makes it an ideal place for birding. From the steppe landscape in the East with its Great Bustard Otis tarda, Saker Falco cherugg and Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca through the alpine foothills with their White-backed Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucotos, Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva to the high altitudes of the Alps with their Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis and White-winged Snowfinch Montifringilla nivalis, there are breathtaking birds galore.

In spite of the fact that you can travel through all of these habitats by train in four hours, birdwatching is not the Volkssport or national pastime that it is in the UK. This is not to say that the Austrians do not love the outdoors. They do, but they often speed through it schussing down the Alps on their skis in the winter, running up the mountains in their hiking boots or even trainers in the autumn or trying to outrun each other on their mountain bikes in the spring and summer.

One of the few places you'll find them stopping to look at birds is around Lake Neusiedl and the smaller intermittent salt lakes of the Seewinkel area. Here can meet droves of birdwatchers peering through their spotting scopes, but ever on the lookout for cyclists and horse-drawn carriages full of wine-drinking revellers competing for the same trails and the same breathtaking views.

Elsewhere in the country if you're caught with a pair of binoculars, you will most likely be mistaken for a hunter or forester. It is for them that the famous Swarovski company, located in the Austrian province of Tyrol, first started making their excellent field glasses.

If you have any questions on birding in Austria or content for this page, Leander Khil (email address below) will try to help.

Contributor

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 413

National Bird: Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

Checklist

Checklist

WebBirder Checklist

Fatbirder's very own checklists are now available through WebBirder

Useful Reading

Finding Birds in Eastern Austria

Dave Gosney - Covers only a small part of eastern Austria, but includes detailed maps and notes on exactly where to find species such as Nutcracker, Little Crake, Bluethroat, Moustached Warbler, Great Bustard, River Warbler and many other species… See: http://www.shopcreator.com/mall/productpage.cfm/findingbirds/_BKEA/290402/Finding%20Birds%20in%20Eastern%20Austria

Atlas of Austria's Breeding Birds

Dvorak, M., A. Ranner & H.-M. Berg (1993) - Covers all breeding birds in Austria with detailed maps. Bird names and a small summary in English. Not a field guide. Getting a little outdated, but the 2013/14 nationwide breeding bird census is about to update it.

Let's Look at Eastern Austria

An Ornitholidays Guide, No.3 Similar in size and geographical scope to the Gosney guide, but with much more text and only one map. Includes checklists to birds, butterflies, mammals, and reptiles and amphibians. No date or bibliographical data included in the book. 46 pages.

Important Bird Areas in Osterreich

by Michael Dvorak and Eva Karner - Covers the 58 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Austria. German with a 3-page English summary. 1995, 466 pages. Published by BirdLife Austria and the Austrian Ministry of the Environment.

Useful Information

ornitho.at

ornitho.at is a bird records database of BirdLife Austria:
http://www.ornitho.at
Check out the latest bird observations from Austria and contribute with your own sightings!

Birding in Vienna

http://www.khil.net/blog/?page_id=2280
An annotated map of birding sites in Austria's capital

orniwetter.info

orniwetter.info – das Wetterportal für Vogelfreunde
http://www.orniwetter.info
Weather forecast, specifically for birdwatchers, in german.

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Birding Pal

Information

Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…

Wings

Tour Operator

The holiday begins before any musical counter-attractions with two days devoted to birding to ensure the basis for a good list…

Sunbird

Tour Operator

This twelve-day extravaganza - with its many options in a full, yet relaxed, programme - is ideal both for the ardent birder and music-lover and for anyone with a more casual attitude to leisure activity…

The Travelling Naturalist

Tour Operator

We visit the lakes, forests and mountains of wonderful Eastern Austria in spring, at a time when the breeding season is in full swing, and the mountains are in flower, and again in early autumn, with the excitement of passage migrants…

Birding Guide - Hans Uhl

Guide

Hans Uhl - uhl@naturundmensch.com - is an ornithologist, naturalist, social worker and meditation guide located in the province of Upper Austria who runs the Office for the Integration of Nature and Man…

Rockjumper Birding Tours

Tour Operator

A brief foray into Austria is included in our Central & Eastern Europe tour, which also explores the prime birding areas, along with several cultural and historical sites and old towns, in Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Birding Guide - Leander Khil

Guide

Leander Khil is a professional birding guide based in Vienna.

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2008 - Hans Schick - Bodensee

Report

From 2002 to 2008 I had the opportunity to visit Lake Constance (Bodensee) once a year. I always spent a day in the surroundings of Fußach, where the River Rhine flows into the lake. This area is a well known birding place (Vorarlberger Rheindelta) and has the status of a nature reserve. In addition I visited other interesting sites at the German lake shore as the Peninsula of Mettnau, the Island of Reichenau, Lake Mindelsee or the natur reserves Wolmatinger Ried and Eriskircher Ried. The observations made during the last seven years are summarized in this report…

2009 [09 September] - John Muddeman

Report

…The chill breeze got through to us though, so we moved on a short distance and walked down to the Warmblutterköppel, which amazingly in autumn, was as high as in the spring! Great White and Little Egrets, a flying Purple Heron, and large numbers of Red-crested plus a few Common Pochard were all novel, but it was the presence of several Pygmy Cormorants, including a small gathering on a little mud island at the end, which stole the show…

2009 [05 May] - Stephen Daly

Report

…Penduline Tit and Bearded Reedling were also present with Great Reed and Reed Warbler. River Warbler was heard at our visit to Marchegg, which is a special place and holds the largest White Stork colony in Austria…

2012 [06 June] - Bob Shiret

Report

…There is a funicular railway that goes up to 1750 metres and two gondola cable cars that reach 2050 metres. Note: - the funicular and gondolas only started operating the Saturday before our arrival. In truth I did not expect to be constructing a trip report after this holiday but after seeing five “lifers” in our first four days I thought it might be useful to share the details….

*CloudBirders Trip Report Repository

Website

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features…

2015 [07 July] - Bob Shiret - Birds & Butterflies

Report

...Fairly obviously Obergurgl would not be the ideal location to come for a week’s intensive birding, but if you, like us you want to combine a walking holiday in high summer without excessive heat in fabulous surroundings whilst enjoying some rare birds and butterflies then you will not be disappointed...

2015 [07 July] - Bob Shiret - Obergurgl

Report

Fairly obviously Obergurgl would not be the ideal location to come for a week’s intensive birding, but if you, like us you want to combine a walking holiday in high summer without excessive heat in fabulous surroundings whilst enjoying some rare birds and butterflies then you will not be disappointed.

Places to Stay

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

St. Martins Therme & Lodge

Accommodation

Discover central europe's premier lodge at the border of Austria's Puszta, the Neusiedler See-Seewinkel national park. St. Martins offers regular tours on nature and wildlife to the Austrian and Hungarian parts of the region as well as custom made itineraries fitted to your needs.

Organisations

Birdlife Austria - Vorarlberg

Website

Museumplatz 1/10/8, A-1070 Wien +43 1 523 4651 birdlife@blackbox.net
This atlas contains specifications on all 159 species of breeding bird in the Austrian province of Vorarlberg. For each species the atlas records their distribution, habitat, density, and seasonal occurrence and provides a distribution map. This work is based on an almost 10-year study by our team of several researchers and covers 278 pages…

Club 300 Austria

Website

A ranking of Austria's twitchers and rarity-news.

BirdLife Austria

Website

Die Fähigkeit der Vögel zu fliegen und ihre schier unendliche Mannigfaltigkeit an Farben und Formen haben die Menschen immer schon fasziniert. Heute ist das Birdwatching oder einfacher gesagt Vogelbeobachten für mehr und mehr Menschen ein faszinierendes Hobby geworden. Buntschillernde Gefieder, halsbrecherische Flugmanöver, eindrucksvolle Balzrituale oder stimmungsvolle Gesänge machen die Vogelwelt zur attraktiven Erlebniswelt…

Austrian Avifaunistic Committee

Website

The Austrian Avifaunistic Committee (Avifaunistische Kommission - AFK) collects, reviews and processes records of rare bird species and vagrants to Austria. On the website, you'll find the list of species that should be reported to the AFK, the latest records reviewed, published reports, a reporting form, the Austrian list of bird species and more…

BirdLife Austria - Kärnten

Website

BirdLife Austria - Upper Austria

Website

Festivals

Pannonian Bird Experience

Bird Fair Website

Annual birdwatching fair in the Neusiedler See – Seewinkel national park.

Reserves

National Park Neusiedler See

Information

Satellite View

This national park on the plains at the heart of Europe - reached from both Austria and Hungary - shows that nature knows no boundaries. Its aim is the long-term preservation of habitats for a wide variety of bird and plant life at the point where the Alps meet the Euro-Asiatic plains. The basis for the Park was created by the inclusion of large privately owned areas of cultivated land.

Nationalpark Hohe Tauern

Website

Satellite View

The largest nature reserve of the Alps… A wild, primeval landscape and a landscape cultivated by mountain farmers. These are the two faces of the Hohe Tauern National Park. The nature reserve encompasses sweeping, primeval Alpine landscapes, such as glaciers, rock faces and turf, as well as mountain pasture landscapes which have been carefully and painstakingly cultivated for centuries. The National Park covers parts of the three provinces of Carinthia, Salzburg and Tyrol and is now the largest nature reserve in Central Europe, with an area of over 1,834 km2.

Nationalpark Kalkalpen

Website

Satellite View

Kalkalpen National Park is made up of two mountain ranges: The Reichraminger Hintergebirge is one of Austria's largest distinct forest areas - a sea of forest, which has not yet been dissected by public transportation routes and human habitation. Here, you will also find one of the longest intact stream systems of the Eastern Alps. The Sengsengebirge is a northern outpost of the Limestone Alps. The ca. 20 km long main ridge reaches its highest point at the Hoher Nock (1,963 m).

Nationalpark Gesäuse

Website

Satellite View

Water, forest, alpine pastures and rock are the defining elements of Gesäuse National Park. Starting in the valley of the blue river Enns, the hiker gets through various altitudinal belts: From the zone of green woods up to the region of alpine pastures where towering rocks of Dachstein limestone build the roof of the national park.

Nationalpark Donau-Auen

Website

Satellite View

Situated between the European capitals Vienna and Bratislava, the Donau-Auen National Park preserves the last remaining major wetlands environment in Central Europe. Here, the Danube is still free flowing and is the lifeline of the National Park. It creates a habitat for numerous animals and plants, some of which are rare species. Accompanied on guided walking tours or on boats, visitors have ample opportunity to get to know the fascinating world of the "Donau-Auen", the Danube wetlands. A wealth of information is available at the schlossORTH National Park Centre in the town Orth on the Danube.

Nationalpark Thayatal

Website

Satellite View

The National Park Thayatal guarantees, together with the Czech Národni park Podyjí, the conservation of one of the most beautiful, romantic and biodiversity rich valley landscapes. There are not many places where such a diversity of flora and fauna can be found in a close space as here at the Thaya. Nature has the absolute priority; visitors are invited to look, wonder and relax. Take the time to get to know and understand Nature's best sides.

Rheindelta

Website

Satellite View

The rhine delta in the eastern Lake Constance is a remarkable landscape: Between the old Rhine at the border between Austria and Switzerland and the river Dornbirnerach, there are around 2000 hectares of shallow water, reed belts, wet meadows and alluvial forests. The wetland is both an important breeding area and stopover site for birds – up to today, more than 300 species have been recorded in the rhine delta.

Absetzbecken Hohenau – Ringelsdorf Wetland

Information

Satellite View

The wetland area of the Absetzbecken Hohenau – Ringelsdorf (total area 55 ha) is an artificial creation, important chiefly for waterfowl and waders. This area is maintained and protected as a substitute for natural wetlands (natural backwaters of lowland rivers, muddy habitats), which hardly exist any longer in Central Europe. The water from the nearby river March and the water pumping system of the sugar factory make it possible to keep certain areas wet and free from vegetation. The vogel.schau.plätze have been maintained and protected since 1998 by the AURING society.

Blogs

Leander Khil Birding and Bird Photography

Blog

Leander Khil reports on birds and photography…

Birdingsuanjak

Blog

Young birder Martin Suanjak writes about his birding discoveries in Austria and abroad…

Other Links

Swarovski Optik

Website

Binoculars, spotting scopes and accessories for birders.One of the most impressive sites I`ve come across… slick technology and a well presented message about one of the world`s leading optics producers. I use only Swarovski optics Fatbirder

Bird.at

Website

bird.at - the austrian website for birdwatchers and enthusiasts!

Vivara Naturschutzprodukte

Website

Alle Produkte werden speziell auf die Ansprüche wild lebender Kleintiere wie Vögel, Igel oder Fledermäuse hin entwickelt und regelmäßig von Ornithologen und Biologen analysiert und getestet…

Photographers & Artists

Photographer - Rober Kreintz

Gallery

Rober Kreintz’ Nature photography…

Photographer - Otto Samwald

Gallery

Benjamin Seaman Nature Photography

Gallery

Photographer - Leander Khil

Gallery