The Federal State of Brandenburg is at last being recognised as a good birding venue by Birdwatchers outside Germany. Facilities for birdwatching are very good, with well constructed hides, observation towers and display boards at key sites.
It is one of the largest States of Germany, situated in the east of the country and separated from Poland by the wide River Oder. The terrain is mainly flat but diverse with large rivers, lakes, fishponds and extensive forests and heaths giving a rich variety of bird life, only a few of which are mentioned below.
Among the many excellent sites, special mention should be made of the Lower Oder National Park along the Polish border. The polders, lakes and rivers and surrounding forests provide habitats for a wide variety of species, some of which, such as Thrush Nightingale, River Warbler and Red-breasted Flycatcher are at the western edge of their breeding range in mainland Europe.
The Corncrake population is healthy and both Spotted and Little Crake can be found. Along the river Oder are colonies of Black and sometimes White-winged Black Terns, and Bluethroats are in the damp areas. In winter, the valley is transformed by extensive flooding bringing in thousands of swans, geese and duck from the north.
Gülper See and its environs is perhaps the best place to see the huge flocks of wintering geese. Most of the geese are Bean, White-front, and Greylag plus a few Lesser White-fronts and Red-breasted Geese. Flocks can reach 40-50,000.
Cranes breed and large numbers pass through on migration. Throughout the State are a number of well-known roosting sites, often with observation towers and hides. The largest roost is at Linum where in October the awesome sight of thousands of Cranes arriving in the late afternoon has become a tourist attraction. In 2014 the number reached a record of 100,000.
One of the special birds of Brandenburg is the Great Bustard. There is a small remnant population in protected areas to the west of Berlin. Numbers are increasing and there are now over one hundred birds. They can be watched from hides.
As well as all the forests and the water bodies, extensive areas of partially wooded heathland remain from military training by the Russian army. In summer these provide good habitat for Honey Buzzard, Wryneck, Woodlark, Nightjar, Red-backed and Great Grey Shrike, Wheatear and Tawny Pipit.
The city state of Berlin lies in the centre of Brandenburg, and within the city boundaries are forests, and lakes. Red-necked Grebe breed at the fish ponds. Two Black Tern colonies are in the south-east of the city. Black and Middle Spotted Woodpeckers are in the woodlands.
Birdwatching is well developed in Germany, and NABU (the German society for conservation) oversees nature protection. Most of the literature about birds is written in German, and this is probably one of the main reasons why the country has not been well known to birdwatchers from the UK and other parts of Western Europe.
Now a guidebook in English has been published. A Birdwatching Guide to Brandenburg and Berlin describes 110 sites, and has photographs, coloured maps, and details of habitats, access and species. More details are on the website - See germanybirding.com ( in 'other websites' ) and the book can be obtained directly from the contributor (below).
Author - A Birdwatching Guide to Brandenburg & Berlin
A Birdwatching Guide to Brandenburg & Berlin
Written & Published by Roger White (Feb 2012)
ISBN: 9780957169500Buy this book from NHBS.com
Great Bustard Otis tarda
Forums & Mailing Lists
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This is a forum of the Berlin-Brandenburg and Berlin Ornithological Working Groups. It is designed to serve the exchange of information between ornithologists in the region. Please post information on interesting or unusual sightings, topical conservation themes, events and any other matters of interest to ornithologists and birdwatchers. The aim of the forum is the provision of rapid and up to date information and not the collation and archiving of observation data for later anaysis.
Dies ist ein Forum der Arbeitsgemeinschaft Berlin-Brandenburgischer Ornithologen und der Berliner Ornithologischen Arbeitsgemeinschaft. Es dient dem Informationsaustausch unter Ornithologen in der Region. Erwünscht sind Meldungen über interessante oder besondere Beobachtungen, aktuelle Naturschutzfragen, Veranstaltungshinweise, alles was Ornithologen interessiert. Ziel dieses Forums ist die schnelle Information, nicht die Sammlung und Archivierung von Beobachtungsdaten für die weitere Auswertung.
Guides & Tour Operators
Birding Berlin - Rolf Nessing
Rolf offers field trips getting to know the urban bird life within the city of Berlin, as well as full day trips in the immediate vicinity of Berlin or further afield. There are 46 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) around Berlin as well as one IBA in the city itself (as at 2003). He knows most of them like the back of his hand…
Chorin Nature Tours
National park "Unteres Odertal" - Here is the opportunity to watch rare species of birds or take a walk on the embarkments through the region…
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.
2010 [06 June] - Allan Finlayson
…The above is part of the Schorfheide-Chorin reserve, and I mention it in particular as it was recommended to me by the locals when I enquired as to the best place to go to see White-tailed Eagle (my target species for the trip)…
2011 [07 July] - Allan Finlayson
…Seeing lots of Common Cranes from public transport (train and bus). With the main breeding season over by July, the birds have dispersed from their breeding sites and are easier to see. A notable area was between Löwenberg and Gransee…
Places to Stay
Birding Berlin - Rolf Nessing
Rolf rents out holiday chalets on his own property in Lychen. The chalets consist of 3 rooms, with kitchen and 2 baths/showers. Red and Black Kite, Osprey and White-tailed Eagle grace the skies over Lychen. In the nearby woodland there is a colony of Grey Heron, and Black and Green Woodpecker can be heard.
Arbeitsgemeinschaft Berlin-Brandenburgischer Ornithologen (ABBO) im NABU
Founded in 1991, the ABBO - Arbeitsgemeinschaft Berlin- Brandenburg Ornithologists‘ Working Society serves as the common specialist committee for the NABU Brandenburg und Berlin state sections…
Federation of German Avifaunists (Dachverband Deutscher Avifaunisten e.V. - DDA)
The Dachverband Deutscher Avifaunisten e.V. (DDA) is an umbrella organisation for all German avifaunists. The website contains a wealth of information about the DDA and its monitoring programmes. Here you will find advice and information on bird registration and recording projects, some initial results and completed publications, details of competent local contacts or up to date avifaunistic information and schedules.
(translation by David Conlin firstname.lastname@example.org)
Society for the Promotion of Great Bustard Protection
The aim of the society is the initiation and promotion of measures and activities designed to support the conservation of the Great Bustard as breeding bird in a cultivated countryside in Brandenburg, rich in flora and fauna. The site (in German) gives an overview of the distribution,biolocy and relevant literature. It also has up to date news on the breeding population, provides information for visitors and sets out the aims and work of the society. Visitors who want to see the spectacular display at the start of the breeding season are advised to visit from mid-March to mid-May. The summer months are not good for observation as the birds extremely shy at this atage and, despite their size, can scarcelly be found in the high vegetation. In winter, with a little luck, small groups can be found on rapeseed oil fields. There is an information centre in the centre of the region at Buckow near Nennhausen which is annually open from the beginning of April to the end of May on weekends and public holidays (except Easter Sunday) between 10.00-13.00. See map of Eastern Brandenburg. Guided tours for groups can be arranged with sufficient advance notice (Tel.: +49 33878/60257 Fax: +49 033878/60600)
This website will provide information and advice for visitors to Berlin and the east of Germany. The area covered is bordered by Poland in the east, and the Baltic sea in the north. Berlin is within the State of Brandenburg. North of here is the State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and the Baltic coast and islands. In due course I will be posting Trip reports, and news of recent sightings. See information page for bird guides to the region...
Photographers & Artists
Webcam - White Stork
The NABU Stork Station Vetschau