Raven Corvus corax ©Gerd Rossen Website
Birding Schleswig-Holstein

Schleswig-Holstein is the only German federal state that lies between two seas. Between these runs the Kiel Canal, the busiest man-made waterway in the world. The Land Schleswig-Holstein is bordered in the north by Denmark and the Baltic; in the east by Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and the Baltic; in the south by Hamburg and Lower Saxony and in the west by the North Sea.

The marshlands represent the youngest landscape, being formed of marine sediments laid down in the Ice Age. Among these are the marshlands on the mainland and the Wadden Sea as well as the islands. They are characterised by heavy, fertile soils. The islands are Fehmarn: 185.35 sq. km Sylt 97.02 sq. km, Föhr 82.81 sq. km, Nordstrand 48.64 sq. km,Pellworm 36.24 sq. km, Amrum 20.45 sq. km and Helgoland 4.20 sq. kmThe Geest, a band of light, sandy soil, interspersed with patches of moorland that forms a “central spine” between the marshlands and the hills is composed of landscapes of different ages and diverse origins, characterised by poor soils. In the west is the High Geest formed of Saalian moraines; in the east is the flat Low Geest deriving from sandy fluvioglacial deposits of the Weichselian period. The Low Geest has extensive areas of bog.

The hill country along the Baltic coast in the east was formed by the glaciers that covered Schleswig-Holstein during the last European Ice Age (the Weichselian glaciation). The ice left behind a diverse young moraine landscape. The hills, impressive in their form and relative elevation, meet the Baltic at a coast of bays and fjords.A characteristic feature of the Schleswig-Holstein landscape are the Knicks, hedge and earth bank combinations intended to mark the boundaries between fields. These provide a retreat for insects and birds and offer protection against wind and erosion. For this reason the Knicks are identified as a protected biotope (a habitat with its associated species) under Schleswig-Holstein’s nature conservation legislation.

There are a number of Islands

Fehmarn: 185.35 sq. km; Sylt: 97.02 sq. km; Föhr: 82.81 sq. km; Nordstrand: 48.64 sq. km; Pellworm: 36.24 sq. km; Amrum: 20.45 sq. km; Helgoland:4.20 sq. kmSchleswig-Holstein has some 300 lakes, covering 28,000 hectares, approximately 1.7% of the total surface area of the Land. They are home to very many animal and plant species. Endangered species such as the sea eagle have now re-established themselves here.Schleswig-Holstein has 21,700 km of rivers and streams – something like half the circumference of the earth! They provide habitats for the otter and the kingfisher and are a paradise for canoeists. The longest rivers are the Eider 180 km, the Trave 112 km and the Stör 83 km.

  • David Conlin

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 476

    (As at March 2019)
  • Heligoland Bird Observatory

    Facebook PageSatellite View
    The Ornithologische Arbeitsgemeinschaft (OAG) Helgoland e.V. (Heligoland Ornithological Work Group) was founded on 9th March 1991 with the aim of supporting research on birds on Heligoland. The number of the members has recently risen to over 500. The main task of the OAG is to publish the annual Bird Report for the island, in cooperation with the Institut für Vogelforschung "Vogelwarte Helgoland". All OAG members receive a copy of the Report free of charge…
  • NABU Schleswig-Holstein

    Founded in 1899, NABU (Nature And Biodiversity Conservation Union), is one of the oldest and largest environment associations in Germany. The association encompasses more than 620,000 members and sponsors, who commit themselves to the conservation of threatened habitats, flora and fauna, to climate protection and energy policy.
  • Regional Owl Conservation Group - Schleswig-Holstein

    The association was founded in 1981 to protect our native owls. With the support of the Schleswig-Holstein government, it carries out conservation programs for a number of species of owls in the country.

Abbreviations Key

  • BS Lebrade Pond

    InformationSatellite View
    The Lebrade Pond Bird Sanctuary is a nature reserve in the north German state of Schleswig-Holstein, that lies within the district of Plön, about 7 kilometres north of the town of Plön. The reserve is part of the Holstein Switzerland Nature Park and covers an area of about 144 hectares (360 acres). In the area of the pond and succession growth there are in places rare breeding birds like the gadwall, mute swan and grebe. In addition, protected amphibians like the moor frog and the European fire-bellied toad are also found here.
  • BiR Delver Koog

    InformationSatellite View
    The Delver Koog is a koog, about 1,200 hectares in area, that is dominated by agricultural grassland and through which one of the large bends of the River Eider meanders. It contains one of the ten nature reserves in the Eider-Treene Depression in the western part of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. Since 1976, an area of 190.1 hectares has been protected as a nature reserve. The nature reserve is distinguished by areas of fen with reed beds and meadows of large and small sedge. The many, small, open waterbodies with an extensive irrigation ditch system form an important habitat, especially for birds. It is one of the most important stopover sites for the hen harrier, as well as waders, gulls and wet meadow birds which rest here during their migration. In addition, there are reed buntings, Savi's warbler, various reed warblers, great bitterns and marsh harriers.
  • BiR Süderoog

    InformationSatellite View
    It is one of the Halligen, a group of islands in the North Frisian Wadden Sea, off the west coast of Schleswig-Holstein in north Germany. It belongs administratively to the parish of Pellworm and is a bird reserve.
  • BiR Wallnau Waterbird Reserve

    InformationSatellite View
    The water bird reservation Wallnau which is located on the Fehmarn peninsula ranks among the most valuable and most interesting areas of the Baltic.. The mosaic of different habitats have been managed for many years. Together with East Holstein and Schleswig-Holstein branches the NABU set themselves the aim of protecting meadows and small woods and special habitats for animals and plants.
  • NP Wadden Sea

    InformationSatellite View
    The Wadden Sea National Parks in Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands are located along the German Bight of the North Sea. In Germany and Denmark they also mark the area of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Wadden Sea.
  • NR Dassower See

    InformationSatellite View
    As home to approximately 30 kinds of duck, the Dassower See is one of the largest bird reserves in Germany. The lake provides refuge and is also an important migration and wintering area for Nordic water fowl that shelter on its two islands of grass and reeds.
  • NR Dithmarscher Eiderwatt

    InformationSatellite View
    The Dithmarscher Eiderwatt, officially the Dithmarscher Eidervorland mit Watt ("Dittmarschen Eider Foreland and Watt"), is a nature reserve in the districts of Dithmarschen and Nordfriesland in the north German state of Schleswig-Holstein. The nature reserve enables the retention of a wet area in the tidal saltwaters and brackish waters of the Eider estuary and its mudflat and foreland areas and the conservation of animal and plant habitats typical of such areas, particularly for the wading and water birds that breed here or pass through on migration as well as the invertebrates occurring here. 2006 a total of 35 species (2165 pairs) breed in the reserve.
  • NR Einfelder See

    InformationSatellite View
    Einfelder See is a lake in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. At an elevation of 26.79 m, its surface area is 1.78 km². It is located in the northern suburb of Neumünster and in the Kreis Rendsburg-Eckernförde. The lake is located on a water divide of the rivers Stör and Eider.
  • NR Großer Plöner See

    InformationSatellite View
    It is the largest lake (30 km²) in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is located near the town of Plön. Its main tributary, as well as its main outflow, is the River Schwentine.
  • NR Lanker See

    InformationSatellite View
    The Lanker See has wealth of small bays. Almost the entire western area from the lakeshore to the tracks of the Preetz-Ascheberg railway line are a nature reserve.
  • NR Norderoog

    InformationSatellite View
    It is only temporarily inhabited by a bird warden from March to October. The refuge hut at the northeastern end is called Jens Wand Hütte, which is built on stilts to protect it from flooding. Norderoog is a resting and hatching place for a number of rare species of marine birds. Notably the Sandwich tern (Sterna sandvicensis), common tern (Sterna hirundo) and Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea) use to breed on Norderoog.[2] For a long time, Norderoog was the Eurasian oystercatcher's (Haematopus ostralegus) most densely populated breeding colony in the German Bight.
  • NR Schwentine Oxbow Lake

    InformationSatellite View
    It received this conservation status because the waterbody has remained close to its natural state due to its steep river banks and is a habitat for a range of rare plants and animals. It covers an area of 19 hectares (47 acres). In addition to the section of river it includes an oxbow lake, a tributary, hedgerows, wooded river banks and slopes, rich in herbs, and small ponds. Native bird species include the kingfisher, grey wagtail and white-throated dipper. The first two breed in the nature reserve, whilst the dipper only rests and overwinters. In the ponds amongst the grasslands there are amphibians like the common toad, smooth newt, water frog, common frog and moor frog as well as grass snakes. The hedgerows are used by many animals including the red-backed shrike, great spotted woodpecker and tawny owl.
  • NR Südfall

    InformationSatellite View
    Südfall is a small island in the Wadden Sea off the west coast of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, one of the ten German Hallig islands. It has a permanent population of two people. It covers an area of 0.56 square kilometres (0.22 sq mi).
  • NR Tönsheide Forest

    InformationSatellite View
    The nature reserve has an area of 67 hectares (170 acres) and lies east of Aukrug specialist hospital. Its consists of large areas of near-natural woodland with scattered with areas of heath. In the woods are the source area and upper reaches of the Sellbek.

Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND

Skip to content