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Hungary

Ural Owls Strix uralensis ©Gabor Orban - Ecotours-Kondor EcoLodge Website

Hungary, like much of central Europe has cold winters and warm summers as the climate is profoundly effected by the continental landmass. Although it was always among the most developed and affluent of the old soviet block it is still relatively under developed and agricultural practices have not yet been so intense as to ruin the land's potential for wildlife. The birds which were once familiar all over European farmland still thrive including Turtle Doves and Tree Sparrows, Corn Buntings and Red-backed Shrikes, White Storks and Hoopoes. A supporting cast of Golden Orioles, Bee-eaters and Serins are a delight to birders from the UK.

For a one-day trip the Kiskunsag area is the best. This is similar to Hortobagy, but smaller, there is puszta, fish-ponds, alcaline lakes, marshes, ect. It is close enough for an outing from Budapest, but you can find an interesting variety of birds including some of the 'specials' such as Great Bustard, Red-footed Falcon, Golden Oriol, European Bee-eater and Roller as well as a variety of herons, egrets, wildfowl, passerines, etc.

The most interesting areas, from the birders point of view, include the Puszta and the wooded Bukk Hills. The former is the remnant of the great grassy steppes formerly used to run cattle - notably Hungarian Grey Cattle. These grassy areas are still home to the highest densities of Red-footed Falcons and Eastern Imperial Eagle in Europe and high populations of Great Bustard and Aquatic Warblers. The most well known area being Hortobagy, although it is not the only area of Puszta left, and is also renowned for its Autumn accumulation of Common Cranes by the thousand. The Bukk Hills and surrounding copses, villages, farmlands are home to Wryneck and all but one of the species of European Woodpecker. The woodlands are alive in spring with Hawfinches and Collared Flycatchers and, if you are lucky you may spot a day-flying Ural Owl. Ponds, lakes, marshes and fishponds abound and are home to the three marsh terns, many wildfowl, and sought after passerines such as Bluethroats and Savi's Warbler, as well as other goodies such as Pygmy Cormorant, Night Heron and the like.

Also for a one-day trip the Buda hills, Börzsöny hills and their localeoffer some good birding. Woodpeckers [sometimes White-backed], passerines, including Hawfinches, raptors, ect. For the Cranes (in 2009 there were more than 100.000 birds) autumn, and mainly the month of October is the best.

What is more Hungary remains a relatively cheap destination with low cost accommodation and restaurants and a pleasant landscape of neat villages and attractive farms, good wine and bird friendly people with no tradition of hunting of small birds. The woodpeckers alone are sufficient reason to take a trip.

Contributor

Laszlo Albert

Birding Guide

kopike@freemail.hu

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 392

National Bird - Great Bustard Otis tarda

Checklist

Checklist

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Useful Reading

The Birds Of Hungary

Gerard Gorman - 1996 (Helm)

ISBN: 0713642351

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Finding Birds in Hungary

By Dave Gosney | Buckingham Press | DVD | Dec 2015 | 73 Minutes | Accompanying 36 page Booklet: ISBN 9781907316531
See Fatbirder Review

ISBN: 9781907316548

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Guides & Tour Operators

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

E-Tours

Tour Operator

We have been organizing the birdwatching tours since 1991. We work for leading UK and world birding tour operators and various associations. We have three main criteria in designing the BW holidays: Professional competence and personality of expert group leaders and the local ornithologist Choice of the most interesting sites Smooth organization and a comfortable environment to ensure customer enjoyment and commercial success. E-mail us for a detailed itinerary and birdlists! info@etours.cz

Probirder

Tour Operator

Hungary`s most experienced birding guides are available year-round to assist individuals, groups of friends, bird clubs & tour companies. From a few hours, one day, one week, to as long as you request. Save time & effort and let Birding Hungary guides show you the regulars, rarities and hard-to-find species. With 15 years of experience in Hungary our guiding skills and services are second to none!

Sakertour

Tour Operator

Established in 1994 by Prof. J. Oláh and field ornithologists. Specialising in bird tours in The Carpathians, covering Hungary, Slovakia and Transylvania…

Birding Pal

Information

Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…

Wings

Tour Operator

Hungary is known as the land of the Great Bustard and the steppe of raptors, as well as the homeland of Lizst, Bartók and Kodály. Some 100 miles from the famous Hortobágy National Park, itself a small piece of Asia inside Europe, and nearly midway to the high Carpathian Mountains, sleeps a quiet and forested landscape, the Zemplen foothills of the Carpathians…

Birdfinders

Tour Operator

With excellent pensions, superb scenery, wonderful birds and the country's top bird guide and author of the much acclaimed books Where to Watch Birds in Eastern Europe and The Birds of Hungary, how can you go wrong with a visit to Hungary, one of Eastern Europe's most visitor-friendly countries? This tour is specially timed with the school summer holiday in mind.

Travelling Naturalist

Tour Operator

We visit the fabulous steppes, lakes, and marshes of the Hortobágy and the Hungarian forests at the peak of the breeding season. Join us for some of the best birdwatching in Europe!

Hungarian Birdwatching

Tour Operator

Hungarianbirdwatching.com organises birding tours and birdwatching holidays in Hungary. Tours are mainly bespoke tours for small groups (4-6 people). You just decide what kind of birds you would like to observe, what kind of meal and accommodation you require Hungarianbirdwatching.com Team does the rest. Our English speaking experienced tour leaders guarantee that you will see the birds you wish to observe without disturbing them in their living environment. We also assist you to visit the cultural heritages of Hungary if you are interested in architecture, rural life or theatres…

Honeyguide Wildlife Holidays

Tour Operator

Imagine a day with rollers, bee-eaters and golden orioles where you’re staying, then a wetland with pygmy cormorants and whiskered terns within easy striking distance. Not far away are great bustards on extensive open plains. All this is in the little-known Kiskunság National Park, south of Budapest…

Ecotours Hungary

Tour Operator

Our company was formed with the intention of popularising Hungary as a perfect ecotouristic destination both for amateur naturalists and for those with a more academic interest in plant and animal species, habitats and geology…

Hungarobirds

Tour Operator

Our Birdwatching trips cover almost the whole year and we also organize special tours focusing on special occasions such as great bustards display or crane migration…

Green Eye Ecotours

Tour Operator

Today we provide outdoor-oriented tours, adventures, expeditions…

Rockjumper Birding Tours

Tour Operator

A brief foray into Hungary is included in our Central & Eastern Europe tour, which also explores the prime birding areas in Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Ecotours Wildlife Holidays

Tour Operator

Ecotours Wildlife Holidays is the specialist of Eastern Europe, running regular birding tours in 15 countries of the region. We organise quality Birding, butterfly, moth and dragonfly and bird photography tours, we also offer bear watching and bat watching opportunities, besides running small mammal safaris and general wildlife holidays…

Hungarian Bird Tours

Tour Operator

Roy Adams is a retired police wildlife crime officer and served almost thirty two years with the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary. He lives in a village close to Eger. Since his first visit to Hungary in 1995 he has built up a good knowledge of the birds in eastern Hungary and works closely with the Bukk National Park staff on conservation schemes.

Trip Reports

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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.

2005 [04 April] - Fatbirder

Report

Chasing woodpeckers with Gerard Gorman…

2008 [05 May] - Ken Musgrove & Wayne Geater

Report

…We found the birding difficult and apart from a few Buzzards, one Golden Oriole, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, Magpie, Hawfinch, Chiffchaff, Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer, the odd Cockoo and numerous Red-backed Shrikes and Starlings, the morning was something of a disappointment…

2008 [07 July] - Kerry Gardner - Kiskunsag National Park

Report

I was gong to be in Budapest for three days at the end of an organized tour and decided to try for the Great Bustard. I went online and booked a one-day birding trip to the Kiskunsag National Park area with Hungarian Birdwatching…

2009 [05 May] - Janos Olah

Report

…We saw 15 ‘diamond’ species and recorded 16 species of raptors, 7 species of owls, 10 species of woodpeckers and 17 species of warblers. Trip highlights included superb ‘walk away’ views of Ural Owl and White-backed Woodpecker in the Zemplén Hills, Hazel Grouse and yet more White-backed Woodpeckers in Slovakia, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush and Rock Bunting around Torockó, stunning looks at both drumming male Three-toed and Black Woodpeckers plus Wallcreepers in Transylvania, a breeding plumaged Dalmatian Pelican, a family party of Sakers, displaying Great Bustards, secretive Little Crakes, Great Snipe and skulking Moustached and Aquatic Warblers in the Hortobágy…

2010 [11 November] - János Oláh

Report

There are not many places in the World where you can see the endangered Red-breasted Goose and the vulnerable Lesser White-fronted Goose within a short bird watching break, but Hungary in November certainly offers this possibility…

2012 [06 June] - Chris Durdin - Kiskunság National Park

PDF Report

"Lake Kondor … earlier when we’d stopped here there had been roller, bee-eaters, great white egret and lesser grey shrike, plus a marsh harrier being mobbed by a large group of lapwings. This time there were sounds of golden oriole, black woodpecker, cuckoo and turtle doves as we looked at some butterflies – short-tailed blue and Bath white – and flowers such as dragon’s teeth and downy woundwort."

2013 [09 September] - Nick Moss

Report

Every morning I birded from first light (about 6am) until breakfast, and over three mornings here I had a few Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Middle Spotted Woodpeckers, a few Nutchatches, Short-toed Treecreeper, a pair of Black Redstarts, Ravens overhead, a pair of Hawfinches, Spotted Flycatcher, Siskins, Blackbirds, Song Thrush etc….

2013 [06 June] - Paul Tout - Kiskunság National Park

Report

…Underfoot it was very wet and unfortunately the path to the tower hide which overlooks an oxbow lake was flooded, but we did see yellow birthwort scrambling along the verges, a huge stag beetle on a tree trunk, a nuthatch, and in a clearing where there was a very fine carving of a bee-keeper, a black woodpecker flew over and was ‘called back’ using a recording. The birds have already finished breeding by early June but remain territorial…

2013 [05 May] - Gabor Simay

Report PDF

…We drove to a nearby forest to pick up some of the woodland birds. Here we had great views of a Lesser Spotted and a Middle Spotted Woodpeckers. Collared Flycatchers and Wood Warblers were singing away. The first was seen in front of its nest hole and perched on broken branches around it. It is a really beautiful bird with its black-and-white plumage. In the open terrain we had a Short-toed Eagle and some cliff nesting Black Storks - which normally breed in the woods…

2012 [05 May] - Sándor Borza

Report

We recorded a total of 205 species in 10 days of birding while covering almost all major bird habitats of the Carpathian Basin. This tour also gives a superb insight of the fantastic sceneries in the countries visited: Hungary, Slovakia and Romania…

2012 [05 May] - Music & Birds

Report PDF

…The idea had germinated 2 years earlier in Bulgaria, while Balazs was playing some Handel and Bach on his laptop one picnic lunch stop… 1st day: Great Bustards and Beethoven’s Eroica 2nd day birding began on a high note with an Icterine Warbler singing and ended with the Hungarian Dance Ensemble performing Eastern European Folk Dances….

2013 [09 September] - Vernon Lundy

Report PDF

Saker, Red-footed Falcon, White-tailed, Imperial, Golden, Short-toed and Lesser Spotted Eagle, Long-legged and Honey Buzzard, Marsh and Montagu’s Harrier (with luck Pallid and Hen Harrier), Goshawk, Ural and Eagle Owl may all be seen at this time of the year…

2011 [09 September] - Roy Taylor

Report PDF

…In seven days we had seen 37 species of mammal (including 19 species of bat), over 120 species of bird and 44 species of butterfly – a fantastic wildlife haul…

2013 [05 May] - Sándor Borza - Hungary, Slovakia & Romania

PDF Report

…This year’s highlights were all the European breeding woodpeckers including superb views of the rare and declining White- backed Woodpecker and the enigmatic Three-toed Woodpecker; six species of owls including Ural and Eagle Owl; nineteen species of raptors including Booted, Short-toed and Imperial Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, Red-footed Falcon and Saker; Great Bustard, Little Crake, Corncrake, Collared Pratincole, Wallcreeper, Red-breasted and Collared Flycatchers, Thrush Nightingale and a wide range of warblers including River Warbler…

2013 [11 November] - Gábor Simay

PDF Report

…several Hen Harriers, a distant Little Owl and small flocks of Corn Buntings were seen. The weather was somewhat misty and suddenly it started to rain so we had to leave the site, otherwise we would have becomestuck in the muddy road. So not far from here we took a better road and there we found 13 Great Bustards in the closest field….

2014 [05 May] - Zoltán Baczó

Report

...Finally we arrived to this grassland national park where we were soon watching various goodies like Purple Heron, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Marsh Sandpiper, Black Woodpecker and a fine singing breeding plumaged Barred Warbler...

2014 [10 October] - Joan & Paddy Heyland - Hortobagy & Bukk Hills

PDF Report

...Large flocks of Rook and Jackdaw were also evident. Raptors were mainly Common Buzzard and Kestrel, with occasional sightings of Marsh Harriers quartering the fields and grasslands....

2015 [05 May] - Janos Olah - Hungary & Transylvania

Report PDF

We had several tour highlights on this recent tour but certainly the displaying Great Bustards, a majestic pair of Eastern Imperial Eagle, the mighty Saker, the handsome Red-footed Falcon, a hunting Peregrine, the shy Capercaillie, the elusive Little Crake and Corncrake, the enigmatic Ural Owl, the declining White-backed Woodpecker, the skulking River and Barred Warblers, a rare Sombre Tit, which was a write-in, the fluty Red-breasted and Collared Flycatchers and the stunning Wallcreeper will be long remembered.

2015 [05 May] - Gábor Simay - Hungary, Slovakia & Transyvania

Report PDF

This year’s highlights were nine species of owls including Ural, Eagle, Scops and Tengmalm’s Owls, ten species of woodpeckers (all the European breeding species) including superb views of White-backed and Three-toed Woodpeckers; nineteen species of raptors including Short-toed and Eastern Imperial, Lesser and Greater Spotted Eagles, Long-legged Buzzard, Red-footed Falcon and Saker; Great Bustard, Little Crake, Corncrake, Collared Pratincole, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Great Snipe, Wallcreeper, Thrush Nightingale, Moustached and River Warblers; and even some local rarities were found by the group, namely Pectoral Sandpiper and Slender-billed Gull.

2015 [07 July] - Gabor Orban & David Walsh

Report PDF

...We disembarked just up the road in an area of grassland with numerous European Susliks amongst the horses; the Great Egret looked a little out of place! An odd insect with dragonfly wings and ‘horns’ was, perhaps, some sort of antlion. Butterflies occupied us for a while, perseverance paying off with good looks at the plentiful Eastern Pale Clouded Yellows and Eastern Bath Whites; a single helice Clouded Yellow also excited Gabor! Stopping by a church in a small copse, we strolled through the fields, seeing our first Crested Lark and a number of impressive hornets.

2015 [04 April] - Damien Gailly & Noé Terorde - Zempléni Hills & Hortobàgy NP

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...There we had our first frustration: the observation of a probable Lesser Spotted Eagle (Clanga pomarina), but too far to be identified with certainty. We also saw Black Storks (Ciconia nigra) and Northern Ravens (Corvus corax).

2015 [07 July] - Gabor Orban - Butterflies of Hungary

PDF Report

2015 [11 November] - Gabor Simay

PDF Report

....We had a quick stop by the Tisza-lake – a big shallow lake along the River Tisza – where we added a few common water birds to our list, including Greylag Goose and Great Crested Grebe. Not far from this lake the extensive grasslands of the Hortobágy (the so called “puszta”) start. We reached this area at dusk, so we had just enough time to find our first small flocks of Common Cranes of the trip....

2015 [11 November] - Janos Olah

PDF Report

...Red-breasted Goose is certainly one of the best-looking geese in the World and every birder should be able to see and admire its beauty one day! This species is classified as vulnerable and its numbers are highly fluctuating (or not properly surveyed). Also the species is undergoing a continuous change of wintering area...

2016 [06 June] - Barry Madden - Kiskunság National Park

PDF Report

By slowly driving along the sandy tracks we were able to get very close to a large colony of nesting bee-eaters. These birds were busy excavating their burrows, courting, mating and generally going about their business. The rainbow colours of these excellent birds were seen to stunning effect when sunlit against the backdrop of brooding storm clouds.

2016 [November] - Gabor Simay - Crane Spectacular & Wild Goose Chase

PDF Report

...However, we easily found a few Red-breasted Geese and also a Barnacle Goose which is a scarce migrant here. A nice adult Peregrine and our first, though very distant White-tailed Eagle were also spotted. Probably best of all was a Black Woodpecker that turned up flying close by and gave good flight views for everyone...

2016 [11 November] - Gerard Gorman

PDF Report

... Our first Black Woodpecker of the week was seen here, then a Green Woodpecker called and flew in, and then two Great Spotted Woodpeckers. A Kingfisher, Mistle Thrush and Marsh Tits were also here, and we also heard a Water Rail. Before checking into our hotel, just a few miles away, we scanned the “Old Lake” at Tata, seeing lots of geese, mostly Greater White-fronts but also some Greylag and rafts of ducks, gulls and roosting cormorants. On an easy walk in the lakeside woods before dusk arrived, we found another Black Woodpecker and a Grey-headed Woodpecker....

Places to Stay

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Farm Lator

Accommodation

Farm Lator is specialist and host in the mountains, wetlands and plains of NE Hungary. With two restored, idyllically situated farmhouses and a natural campsite in the Bükk Mountains as a base, we travel with our guests through the region and show the best of nature and culture. We compose personalised trips, but there is also an excursion program. Yearly events are the spring and autumn birdtours, and summer butterflytours. The programs of the tours are either readymade or tailored to the exact wants of clubs, companies and societies…

Fábián Panzió (Fabian Hotel)

Accommodation

The Fábián Panzió (Fabian Hotel) is in Kapolna Street, Kecskemet. …a British Birder says: the hotel is superb, Mrs Fabian and her daughter speak fluent English, and Mrs F is an accomplished birder…

Nomad Hotel

Accommodation

Traditional Lodge with great Hungarian food - often used by birders in the Bukk Hills… Fatbirder Recommended

Hotel Villa Volgy

Accommodation

With a brand new building, an elegant and friendly atmosphere this hotel guarantees relaxation in a natural environment. The hotel is made up of 37 rooms, a restaurant with a balcony, an exclusive wine cellar and a conference room with a capacity to hold up to 60 persons. The restaurant with its Hungarian gastronomical specialties, great tasting traditional dishes and remarkable wines is capable of catering to 70 hungry guests with appetites of all sizes. The terrace is ideal for grill parties and barbecues on hot summer days. It is also customary to taste the wines of the region, and lest we forget goulash…

Benedek Tanya Holiday Cottage - Kiskunság National Park

Accommodation

The cottage is ideal for couples and families who wish to enjoy the wonderful countryside, slow pace of life and explore central Hungary…

Kondor EcoLodge

Accommodation

We offer an unique place as a base to stay to discover the special butterflies, dragonflies, birds, mammals, botanical and other natural values of the Great Hungarian Plain, the so called "Puszta"…

Organisations

Hungarian Ornithological & Nature Conservation Society

Website

(MME) Kolto u. 21, 391, H-1536Budapest. + 36 1 275 6267 mme@c3.hu

Hungary Rarities Committee

Website

Comprehensive lists of Hungarian avifauna plus rarity submissions etc.

Birding.hu

Website

The objective of birding.hu is to provide quick, helpful information to field-birders in Hungary. Our aim is to give quality information in hopes of improving field-birding, so anyone anywhere can get up-to-date news about interesting birds. Aside from anything in connection with birding (pictures, expositions of areas and groups, news, trip reports, links, classified ads etc) that can be presented on our site, we welcome suggestions…

Observatories

Hungarian Bird Ringing Centre

Observatory

Hungarian Bird Ringing Centre - MME/Birdlife Hungary, H-1121 Budapest, Költo u. 21., Hungary. Tel.: +36-1-275-6247 Fax: +36-1-275-6267 E-mail: ringers@mme.hu

Reserves

Hortobagy National Park

Website

Satellite View

Mostly in Hungarian…

Wetlands

Website

Hungary presently has 21 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 154,147 hectares…

Blogs

Szimi Style Birding Blog

Blog

Birding & Photography Experiences of Gyorgy Szimuly (Szimi)…

Webmadarász

Blog

A blog about nestcams from Hungary

Jani's New Birding Photoblog

Blog

Birding & nature photography in NW Hungary

Other Links

Birds of Hungary

Website

Birds of Hungary by Thomas Miko, of Pasadena…

Green Spider Network

Website

Environmental campaigns.

Report of Budapest Ringing Scheme

Website

The Hungarian Bird Ringing Centre is run by Birdlife Hungary (MME, Hungarian Ornithological and Nature Conservation Society) since 1976. Bird ringing started in Hungary in 1908…

Hungarian Important Bird Areas (IBAs)

Website

…describes the 43 Hungarian Important Bird Areas (IBAs)…

Hungarian Birds, nature photography, digiscoping

Website

Birding BLOG and photos from an Hungarian birder…

Birding Hungary

Website

Why go birding in Hungary? Well, good reasons include Saker Falcon, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Pygmy Cormorant, Lesser White-fronted Goose, Ferruginous Duck, Great Bustard, Corncrake, Ural Owl, Aquatic Warbler and nine speciesof woodpecker. With such birds, plus much unspoiled habitat and a good and value-for-money tourist infrastructure, Hungary is now firmly established as one of Europe's very best birding destinations. And another good reason is that WE are here to help you find and see these birds…

White stork webcam - Nagyhalász

Website

Live camera on stork’s nest in Hungary….

Photographers & Artists

BirdphotographyHungary

Gallery

Site showcasing a number of Hungarian photographers of birds…

Photographer - Csaba Lóki - Naturephoto Gallery

Gallery

Hungarian photographers excellent gallery of bird pictures…

Photographer - Lantai-Csont Gergely

Gallery

Lantai-Csont Gergely's online photo galery - This website is about publishing wonderful photos about nature, mammals, birds …

Photographer - Eduardo Balogh - Birdwatcher

Gallery

Excellent photographs from this Hungarian birder…

Photographer - Miklos Onodi

Gallery

Photographer from Pecs where he also leads birding tours…

Photographer - Farkas Balázs

Website

Bird photos from Farkas Balázs

Photographer - Old Shutter Hand

Gallery

Bird photos of the birds of Hungary etc…