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North Rhine-Westphalia

Little Owl Athene noctua ©Nigel Blake Website

North Rhine-Westphalia is the westernmost and - in terms of population and economic output - the largest Federal State of Germany. North Rhine-Westphalia has over 18 million inhabitants, contributes about 22% of Germany's gross domestic product and comprises a land area of 34,083 km² (13,158 square miles). North Rhine-Westphalia is situated in the Western part of Germany and shares borders with Belgium and the Netherlands. It has borders with the German states of Lower Saxony to the North and Northeast, Rhineland-Palatinate to the Southwest and Hesse to the Southeast.

The state is centred on the sprawling Rhine-Ruhr urbanised region, which contains the cities of Düsseldorf, Bonn and Cologne as well as the Ruhr Area industrial complex. The Ruhr area consists of, among others, the cities of Dortmund, Essen, Duisburg, Bochum, Gelsenkirchen and Oberhausen.

The state's area covers a maximum distance of 291 km from north to south, and 266 km from east to west. The total length of the state's borders is 1,645 km. The following countries and states have a border with North Rhine-Westphalia: Belgium (99 km), The Netherlands (387 km), Lower Saxony (583 km), Hesse (269 km), Rhineland Palatinate (307 km)

For many people North Rhine-Westphalia is synonymous with industrial areas and agglomerating cities. But the largest part of the state is used for agriculture (almost 52%), forests cover 25%. The southern parts of the Teutoburg Forest are located in the northeast. In the southwest, Nordrhein-Westafalen shares in a small part of the Eifel, located on the borders with Belgium and Rheinland-Pfalz. The southeast is occupied by the sparsely populated regions of Sauerland and Siegerland. The northwestern areas of the state are part of the Northern European Lowlands.

The most important rivers that run at least partially through North Rhine-Westphalia include: Rhine, Ruhr, Ems, Lippe and Weser. The Pader, which runs only through the city of Paderborn, is considered the shortest river in Germany.



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Useful Information

State Bird

Little Owl Athene noctua


Bund für Vogelschutz und Vogelkunde e.V. Herdecke und Hagen


Nature protection and ornithology in the central Ruhr Valley of Westphalia, Germany, centred on the towns of Hagen, Herdecke and Wetter. The website contains basic information about the society and its magazine Cinclus, the current programme, etc…

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 translations@david-conlin.de)

NABU Neuss


Useful birder information from the Neuss (near Duesseldorf) area

North-Rhine Westphalia Ornithological Association


With more than 1,200 members, the Association ensures that the needs of the regional bird world receive the attention they deserve from politicians and society as a whole. In 1998 the Rhine Ornithological Association and the Westphalia Ornithological Association, which had been separated for over 30 years, merged into a single society…

Trip Reports

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


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.

2014 [04 April] - Rob Gordijn - Bayern

Report PDF

After reading a report by other Dutch Birders in 2011 (see literature) we formed the idea to copy their trip for a long weekend of snow, German beer and a couple of lifers. We decided to go there during Easter and were joined by Marten Hornsveld and Vivian Jacobs.


Biological Station for the Western Ruhr Region


…covering 6 Germany Ordnance Survey 1:25:000 map sheets: the right bank of the Lower Rhine, Duisburg and Oberhausen, parts of Ratingen and Dinslaken. In German only but comprehensive species of all that flies and creeps. Literature to download, and event news…

Biological Station Krickenberger Lakes


Satellite View

Homepage of the Biological Station Krickenbecker Seen, also in Dutch - All Biological stations on the Lower Rhine are linked with one another. This site has topical information on geese numbers and an archive…

Wesel District Biological Station


The Wesel District Biological Station (BKSW) was founded in 1984 by committed conservationists of the BUND and NABU nature protection organisations. The station's main task is the collection and collation of data on the regional flora and fauna…

Other Links

Arbeitsgemeinschaft Bergischer Ornithologen (ABO)

… modest site from the relatively bird-poor, hilly Bergisch Land, includes sporadic observations from the Wahner Heide heath, my local patch…

Bird Sightings from the Lower Rhine


(In German only) Regularly updated sightings from nature reserves and other birding sites in the German Lower Rhine region. The website is coordinated by the Krickenbecker lakes Biological Station and sponsored by the Promotion of the Krickenbecker Lakes Association.

Birding NRW


DIe Seite für Birding in Nord Rhein-Westfalens und Deutschland…

Birds in the Münster area


(In German only) Here you will find everything worth knowing about birds in Muenster and vicinity. This includes up to date sightings, information on good birding areas, a good link collection with our comments and much more…