North Rhine-Westphalia

Little Owl Athene noctua ©Arturo Nikolai
Birding North Rhine-Westphalia

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). It is situated in the Western part of Germany and shares borders with Belgium and the Netherlands. It also 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 major 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. 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.

The state contains forests, rivers, meadows and fields, and the state’s multitude of nature parks and reserves and the Eifel National Park cover nearly 40 percent of its overall area. In this green location, you can see both flamingos and storks.

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 356

    (As at March 2019)

    State Bird - Little Owl Athene noctua

  • Biological Station Krickenberger Lakes

    Observatory WebsiteSatellite 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…
  • Biological Station for the Western Ruhr Region

    Observatory WebsiteSatellite View
  • Wesel District Biological Station

    Observatory WebsiteSatellite View
    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…
  • Bund f

    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
  • 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

Abbreviations Key

  • NP Eifel

    InformationSatellite View
    The Eifel National Park is the 14th national park in Germany and the first in North Rhine-Westphalia. The area covers about 10,700 hectares (26,000 acres), is bordered to the northwest by the Rur Reservoir and includes the neighbouring Urft Reservoir, the former Vogelsang Military Training Area. Amongst the other forms are wildlife in the park are the wildcat, the black stork, the middle spotted woodpecker and the wall lizard which is a rarity in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
  • NR Großes Torfmoor

    InformationSatellite View
    The Großes Torfmoor is a raised bog located in the northeast of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (in the district of Minden-Lübbecke) in Germany south of the Mittelland Canal. It is between the town of Lübbecke and the community of Hille. The bog is a nature reserve and is under special protection from the European Union because of the bird species living there.
  • NR Klingelbachtal

    InformationSatellite View
    The Klingenbachtal Nature Reserve in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, consists of 27.44 hectares to the west of Scherfede within municipal area of Warburg located in Höxter. In Klingelbach there are creek-ash-alder woods (Bach-Eschen-Erlenwälder) and Alder swamp forests (Erlen-Bruchwälder). There are several species of plants and animals within the forest which have been found to be vulnerable.
  • NR Tannenbusch Dunes

    InformationSatellite View
    Tannenbusch Dunes is a nature reserve located in the Tannenbusch section of Bonn. The nature reserve consists of inland dunes and measures 6.7ha. The dunes appeared after the last ice age, approximately 10,000 years ago.
  • NR Worringer Bruch

    InformationSatellite View
    The Worringer Bruch is a section of 164 hectares (410 acres) swampy lowlands in the far north of Cologne, Germany. It is approximately 8,000 years old, and is now almost a completely dried up meander part of the Rhine. Worringer Bruch serves as a valuable regional habitat for several endangered plants and animal species.
Sightings, News & Forums
Trip Reports
  • 2014 [04 April] - Rob Gordijn - Bayern

    PDF Report
    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.
Other Links
  • Arbeitsgemeinschaft Bergischer Ornithologen (ABO)

    The Bergisch Birdnet is supported by the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Bergischer Ornithologen (ABO). This is a loose union (no association) of z.Zt. 103 bird friends. We meet twice a year for an exchange.
  • Birding NRW

    DIe Seite f
  • 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…

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