Hungary

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

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 top years there can be 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.

This page is sponsored by EcoTours Hungary

Contributors
  • Laszlo Albert

    | kopike@freemail.hu

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 424

    As at July 2018

    National Bird - Great Bustard Otis tarda

Checklist

  • iGoTerra Checklist

    iGoTerra Checklist
    Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web
Useful Reading

  • Finding Birds in Hungary

    By Dave Gosney | Easybirder | DVD | Dec 2015 | 73 Minutes | ISBN: 9781907316548 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Finding Birds in Hungary

    by Dave Gosney | Easybirder | 2015 | Paperback | 36 Pages, Maps | ISBN: 9781907316531 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Magyarország Ragadozó Madarai (Birds of Prey of Hungary)

    By Papp Gábor, Kovács András & Turny Zoltán | Magánkiadás | 2016 | Paperback | 200 pages, 300+ colour photos, b/w illustrations, colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9789631234978 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • The Birds Of Hungary

    By Gerard Gorman | Christopher Helm | 1996 | Hardback | 192 pages, 50 line drawings, 363 maps | ISBN: 0713642351 Buy this book from NHBS.com
Observatories
  • Hungarian Bird Ringing Centre

    Observatory WebsiteSatellite View
    1121 Budapest, Költ ő u. 21. Tel.: (+36-1) 391-1772 ▪ Fax: (+36-1) 275-6267 ▪ E-mail: ringers@mme.hu
Organisations
  • 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
  • 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.
Reserves

Abbreviations Key

  • NP Aggtelek

    InformationSatellite View
    Animals present in the Aggtelek National Park included the fire salamander, hucul pony, common buzzard, eastern imperial eagle, European copper skink, white-throated dipper, red deer, Eurasian lynx, gray wolf, wild boar, crested tit, goldcrest, Eurasian bullfinch, hazel grouse, common kingfisher, red-backed shrike, old World swallowtail, scarce swallowtail and the saga pedo.
  • NP Bükk

    InformationSatellite View
    Mountainous and forested, Bükk is Hungary's largest national park and is situated in the northern mountains, between Szilvásvárad and Lillafüred.
  • NP Danube-Drava

    InformationSatellite View
    Danube-Drava National Park was founded in 1996 and is located in the south west of Hungary. The current area is 490 square kilometres and the majority of the national park sites are located within the Danube and Drava floodland areas, of which 190 km² are Ramsar wetlands.
  • NP Fertő-Hanság

    InformationSatellite View
    The area gives home to various kinds of birds, like the great egret, purple heron, common spoonbill and greylag goose. During the migration season species of the family Scolopacidae appear. Rare birds include red-breasted goose, white-tailed eagle and hen harrier. The lake is inhabited by weatherfish, northern pike and ziege. On the meadows west from the lake vegetation of rare plants like the yellow lady's slipper, fly orchid, the Hungarian iris and Iris pumila and various butterfly species can be found, while the eastern puszta areas are covered by Puccinellia peisonis, Aster tripolium, A. pannonicum and Suaeda maritima.
  • NP Hortobágyi

    InformationSatellite View
    The Hortobágy is Hungary's largest protected area, and the largest semi-natural grassland in Europe. It provides habitat for various species including 342 species of birds. The red-footed falcon, stone curlew, great bustard and aquatic warbler are represented by breeding populations. The area is an important stopover site for migrating common cranes, dotterels, and lesser white-fronted geese Hungarian website: http://www.hnp.hu/
  • NP Kiskunság

    InformationSatellite View
    he park covers an area of 570 km2 and stretches across the Little Cumania (Kiskunság) region of the Great Hungarian Plain. The alkali lakes of the Little Cumania are found near Fülöpszállás and Szabadszállás. Their unique flora and fauna are of special value. Avocets, geese and black-winged stilts nest in the area. The lakes provide a temporary home for tens of thousands of migratory birds. This ornithologist paradise is also a UNESCO biosphere reserve.
  • NP Körös-Maros

    InformationSatellite View
    The park was created in 1997 for the protection of birds. Körös-Maros National Park has a number of regions such as Kis-Sárrét swamp, Fáspuszta, Mágor-puszta or Kardoskúti Fehértó. It features a bustard reserve established in 1975. The major towns of the area are Szarvas and Dévaványa.
  • NR Sas Hill

    InformationSatellite View
    The Sas-hegy Nature Reserve belongs to the Danube-Ipoly National Park. The 30 acres (120,000 m2) area on the top of the hill was placed under protection in 1958. It was one of the first nature reserves of Hungary, protecting the limestone landscape and its special flora and fauna. Hungarian website here: http://www.dunaipoly.hu/hu/helyek/vedett-teruletek/adonyi-termeszetvedelmi-terulet/budai-sas-hegy-tt
  • Wetlands

    WebpageSatellite View
    Hungary currently has 29 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance
Forums & Mailing Lists
Guides & Tour Operators


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

  • Birdwatching Hungary

    Tour Operator
    Enjoy birdwatching in Hungary - 100% profits go into local bird projects! Local guides and English Tour leaders
  • 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
  • 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…
  • 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
  • Green Eye Ecotours

    Tour Operator
    Today we provide outdoor-oriented tours, adventures, expeditions…
  • 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.
  • Hungarian Birdwatching

    Tour Operator
    Hungarianbirdwatching.com is an association of young, enthusiastic birders. We organise birding tours and birdwatching holidays in Hungary and in Budapest. Our birding tours are highly customised to your needs.
  • 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
  • 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. Ol
  • 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!
Trip Reports


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  • 2005 [04 April] - Fatbirder

    Report
    Chasing woodpeckers with Gerard Gorman…
  • 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…
  • 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….
  • 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 [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 [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 [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 [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 [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…
  • 2014 [05 May] - Ecotours

    PDF Report
    After arrival to Budapest Airport we do either a quick 1-1,5-hour-long transfer to Kondor EcoLodge or we check out habitats and photographing birds as we go in the Kiskunsag National Park, arriving in the evening to the accommodation.
  • 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 [04 April] - Damien Gailly & Noé Terorde - Zempléni Hills & Hortobàgy NP

    Report PDF
    ...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 [05 May] - Gábor Simay - Hungary, Slovakia & Transyvania

    Report PDF
    This year’s highlights were nine speciesof owls including Ural, Eagle, Scops and Tengmalm’s Owls, ten species of woodpeckers (allthe European breeding species) including superb views of White-backed and Three-toedWoodpeckers; nineteen species of raptors including Short-toed and Eastern Imperial, Lesserand Greater Spotted Eagles, Long-legged Buzzard, Red-footed Falcon and Saker; GreatBustard, Little Crake, Corncrake, Collared Pratincole, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Great Snipe,Wallcreeper, Thrush Nightingale, Moustached and River Warblers; and even some localrarities were found by the group, namely Pectoral Sandpiper and Slender-billed Gull.
  • 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 [11 November] - Gerard Gorman

    PDF Report
    ... Our first Black Woodpecker of the week was seenhere, 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....
  • 2017 [05 May] - János Oláh - Hungary & Transylvania

    PDF Report
    This is a perfect introduction to birders visiting Europe for the first time but also offers some difficult-to-see birds for those who birded the continent before. But apart from birds it is also a great tour to see a wide range of habitats from the Hungarian ‘puszta’ to the cool pine forests of Transylvania.
  • 2017 [05 May] - Simay Gábor - Hungary, Slovakia & Transylvania

    PDF Report
    ...This tour cover s three Central European count r ies a nd most of their bird habitats from the Hungarian gra sslands to the Slovakian and Romanian spruce forests. This is an extremely productive tour in Europe and can be easily combined with the Romanian Danube Delta Tour for overseas travellers...
  • 2017 [05 May] - Terry Stevenson & Lajos Nemeth-Boka - Hungary & Romania

    Report
    As always, the birding included the specials of the region, with Pygmy Cormorant, Dalmatian Pelican, Imperial Eagle, Great Bustard, Black Woodpecker and Wallcreeper being just a few from an impressive list. However, this year we also did absolutely exceptional for mammals, with European Mink being the rarest, but we also had Common 'Golden' Jackal, Wildcat, and no less than 8 Brown Bears.
  • 2017 [10 October] - József Kecskés - Hortobágy

    PDF Report
    In the last few years a few migration times has changed. Notable the Cranes usually arrive in large numbers by late September and the Scandinavian Lesser White-fronted Geese only stay for a few days in the Hortobágy.
  • 2017 [11 November] - Simay Gábor

    PDF Report
    On ourthirdRed-breasted Goose Special Tour we recorded 113 species, among them eight speciesof geese. Hortobágy National Park has always been well-known for its amazing number of wild geese and our tour is focusing on this spectacle!
  • 2018 [09 September] - Ecotours Wildlife Holidays

    PDF Report
    Moving on, we came across a field full of Common Cranes. While admiring them, we also spotted a juvenile Red-backed Shrike, a Turtle Dove and a stunning Cardinal Fritillary butterfly. We next drove down a rough track where we were treated to overhead views of at least two huge White-tailed Eagles. A bit further on, we walked to a slight hump in the flat habitat to scan for bustards
  • 2018 [11 November] - János Oláh - Hortobágy

    PDF Report
    Not many places in the World where you can see this two threatened geese species – Red-breasted and Lesser White-fronted - in such a short and comfortable weekend but the World Heritage Hortobágy National Park is certainly one of these!
  • 2018 [11 November] - Zoltan Baczo

    Report
    he third Red-breasted Goose Special Tour in a row organized by Sakertours was a successful trip again! We recorded 121 species of birds, which is very high number for such a short tour in November.
Places to Stay


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  • FFábián Panzió

    Accommodation
    Fábián Panzió is a family-run Bed and Breakfast with a Mediterranean atmosphere situated in the centre of Kecskemét, 200 metres from the main square.
  • 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 B
  • 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"…
  • Nomad Hotel

    Accommodation
    Traditional Lodge with great Hungarian food - often used by birders in the Bukk Hills
Other Links
  • 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
  • Birds of Hungary

    Website
    Birds of Hungary by Thomas Miko, of Pasadena
  • Hungarian Birds, nature photography, digiscoping

    Website
    Birding BLOG and photos from an Hungarian birder
  • Hungarian Important Bird Areas (IBAs)

    Website
    …describes the 43 Hungarian Important Bird Areas (IBAs)…
Blogs
  • Soproni Jani - Photoblog

    BLOG
    Birding & nature photography in NW Hungary
Photographers & Artists
  • BirdphotographyHungary

    Gallery
    Site showcasing a number of Hungarian photographers of birds
  • Photographer - Csaba L

    Gallery
    Hungarian photographers excellent gallery of bird pictures
  • Photographer - Eduardo Balogh - Birdwatcher

    Gallery
    Excellent photographs from this Hungarian birder
  • Photographer - Farkas Bal

    Website
    Bird photos from Farkas Bal
  • Photographer - Lantai-Csont Gergely

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

    Gallery
    Photographer from Pecs where he also leads birding tours…
  • Photographer - Old Shutter Hand

    Gallery
    Bird photos of the birds of Hungary etc…

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