Republic of Austria

Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis ©Ignaas Robbe Website
Birding Austria

Austria’s amazing variety of habitat types makes it an ideal place for birding. From the steppe landscape in the East with its Great Bustard Otis tarda, Saker Falco cherugg and Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca through the alpine foothills with their White-backed Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucotos, Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva to the high altitudes of the Alps with their Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis and White-winged Snowfinch Montifringilla nivalis, there are breathtaking birds galore.

In spite of the fact that you can travel through all of these habitats by train in four hours, birdwatching is not the Volkssport or national pastime that it is in the UK. This is not to say that the Austrians do not love the outdoors. They do, but they often speed through it schussing down the Alps on their skis in the winter, running up the mountains in their hiking boots or even trainers in the autumn or trying to outrun each other on their mountain bikes in the spring and summer.

One of the few places you’ll find them stopping to look at birds is around Lake Neusiedl and the smaller intermittent salt lakes of the Seewinkel area. Here can meet droves of birdwatchers peering through their spotting scopes, but ever on the lookout for cyclists and horse-drawn carriages full of wine-drinking revellers competing for the same trails and the same breathtaking views.

Elsewhere in the country if you’re caught with a pair of binoculars, you will most likely be mistaken for a hunter or forester. It is for them that the famous Swarovski company, located in the Austrian province of Tyrol, first started making their excellent field glasses.

If you have any questions on birding in Austria or content for this page, Leander Khil (email address below) will try to help.

Contributors
  • Leander Khil

    | leander|at|khil.net - please replace [at] with @

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 416

    As at July 2018

    National Bird: Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica

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 Eastern Austria

    By Dave Gosney | Easybirder | 1994 | Paperback | 22 pages, b/w maps | ISBN: 9781907316333 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Important Bird Areas in Austria

    (Die wichtigsten Gebiete für den Vogelschutz in Osterreich) | by Michael Dvorak | Naturhistorisches Museum Wien | 2009 | Paperback | 576 pages, colour photos | ISBN: 9783902421357 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Where to Watch Birds in Carinthia, Austria

    (Vögel Beobachten in Kärnten) | By Gerald Malle & Peter Wiedner | Naturwissenschaftlicher Verein für Kärnten | 2017 | Paperback | 160 pages, colour photos, colour maps, colour tables | ISBN: 9783853280737 Buy this book from NHBS.com
Useful Information
  • Birding in Vienna

    http://www.khil.net/blog/?page_id=2280 An annotated map of birding sites in Austria's capital
  • orniwetter.info

    orniwetter.info – das Wetterportal für Vogelfreunde https://www.orniwetter.info/ Weather forecast, specifically for birdwatchers, in german.
Festivals & Bird Fairs
  • Pannonian Bird Experience

    Bird Fair Website
    Annual birdwatching fair in the Neusiedler See
Observatories
  • Auring Biological Station

    Observatory WebsiteSatellite View
    The AURING Association is dedicated to nature conservation, nature education, and research on conservation issues. The association is located in Hohenau an der March in one of the most species-rich regions of Austria.
Organisations
  • Austrian Avifaunistic Committee

    Website
    The Austrian Avifaunistic Committee (Avifaunistische Kommission - AFK) collects, reviews and processes records of rare bird species and vagrants to Austria. On the website, you'll find the list of species that should be reported to the AFK, the latest records reviewed, published reports, a reporting form, the Austrian list of bird species and more
  • BirdLife Austria

    Website
    Die F
  • BirdLife Austria

    Website
  • Birdlife Austria - Vorarlberg

    Website
    Museumplatz 1/10/8, A-1070 Wien +43 1 523 4651 birdlife@blackbox.net This atlas contains specifications on all 159 species of breeding bird in the Austrian province of Vorarlberg. For each species the atlas records their distribution, habitat, density, and seasonal occurrence and provides a distribution map. This work is based on an almost 10-year study by our team of several researchers and covers 278 pages
  • Club 300 Austria

    Website
    A ranking of Austria's twitchers and rarity-news.
Reserves

Abbreviations Key

  • Absetzbecken Hohenau – Ringelsdorf Wetland

    InformationSatellite View
    The wetland area of the Absetzbecken Hohenau – Ringelsdorf (total area 55 ha) is an artificial creation, important chiefly for waterfowl and waders. This area is maintained and protected as a substitute for natural wetlands (natural backwaters of lowland rivers, muddy habitats), which hardly exist any longer in Central Europe. The water from the nearby river March and the water pumping system of the sugar factory make it possible to keep certain areas wet and free from vegetation. The vogel.schau.plätze have been maintained and protected since 1998 by the AURING society.
  • NP Donau-Auen

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Situated between the European capitals Vienna and Bratislava, the Donau-Auen National Park preserves the last remaining major wetlands environment in Central Europe. Here, the Danube is still free flowing and is the lifeline of the National Park. It creates a habitat for numerous animals and plants, some of which are rare species. Accompanied on guided walking tours or on boats, visitors have ample opportunity to get to know the fascinating world of the "Donau-Auen", the Danube wetlands. A wealth of information is available at the schlossORTH National Park Centre in the town Orth on the Danube.
  • NP Gesäuse

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Water, forest, alpine pastures and rock are the defining elements of Gesäuse National Park. Starting in the valley of the blue river Enns, the hiker gets through various altitudinal belts: From the zone of green woods up to the region of alpine pastures where towering rocks of Dachstein limestone build the roof of the national park.
  • NP Hohe Tauern

    WebsiteSatellite View
    The largest nature reserve of the Alps… A wild, primeval landscape and a landscape cultivated by mountain farmers. These are the two faces of the Hohe Tauern National Park. The nature reserve encompasses sweeping, primeval Alpine landscapes, such as glaciers, rock faces and turf, as well as mountain pasture landscapes which have been carefully and painstakingly cultivated for centuries. The National Park covers parts of the three provinces of Carinthia, Salzburg and Tyrol and is now the largest nature reserve in Central Europe, with an area of over 1,834 km2.
  • NP Kalkalpen

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Kalkalpen National Park is made up of two mountain ranges: The Reichraminger Hintergebirge is one of Austria's largest distinct forest areas - a sea of forest, which has not yet been dissected by public transportation routes and human habitation. Here, you will also find one of the longest intact stream systems of the Eastern Alps. The Sengsengebirge is a northern outpost of the Limestone Alps. The ca. 20 km long main ridge reaches its highest point at the Hoher Nock (1,963 m).
  • NP Neusiedler See

    InformationSatellite View
    This national park on the plains at the heart of Europe - reached from both Austria and Hungary - shows that nature knows no boundaries. Its aim is the long-term preservation of habitats for a wide variety of bird and plant life at the point where the Alps meet the Euro-Asiatic plains. The basis for the Park was created by the inclusion of large privately owned areas of cultivated land.
  • NP Thayatal

    WebsiteSatellite View
    The National Park Thayatal guarantees, together with the Czech Národni park Podyjí, the conservation of one of the most beautiful, romantic and biodiversity rich valley landscapes. There are not many places where such a diversity of flora and fauna can be found in a close space as here at the Thaya. Nature has the absolute priority; visitors are invited to look, wonder and relax. Take the time to get to know and understand Nature's best sides.
  • Rheindelta

    WebsiteSatellite View
    The rhine delta in the eastern Lake Constance is a remarkable landscape: Between the old Rhine at the border between Austria and Switzerland and the river Dornbirnerach, there are around 2000 hectares of shallow water, reed belts, wet meadows and alluvial forests. The wetland is both an important breeding area and stopover site for birds – up to today, more than 300 species have been recorded in the rhine delta.
Guides & Tour Operators


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

  • Birding Guide - Hans Uhl

    Guide
    Hans Uhl - uhl@naturundmensch.com - is an ornithologist, naturalist, social worker and meditation guide located in the province of Upper Austria who runs the Office for the Integration of Nature and Man…
  • Birding Guide - Leander Khil

    Guide
    Leander Khil is a professional birding guide based in Vienna.
  • The Travelling Naturalist

    Tour Operator
    We visit the lakes, forests and mountains of wonderful Eastern Austria in spring, at a time when the breeding season is in full swing, and the mountains are in flower, and again in early autumn, with the excitement of passage migrants…
Trip Reports


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

  • 2012 [06 June] - Bob Shiret

    Report
    …There is a funicular railway that goes up to 1750 metres and two gondola cable cars that reach 2050 metres. Note: - the funicular and gondolas only started operating the Saturday before our arrival. In truth I did not expect to be constructing a trip report after this holiday but after seeing five “lifers” in our first four days I thought it might be useful to share the details….
  • 2015 [07 July] - Bob Shiret - Birds & Butterflies

    Report
    ...Fairly obviously Obergurgl would not be the ideal location to come for a week’s intensive birding, but if you, like us you want to combine a walking holiday in high summer without excessive heat in fabulous surroundings whilst enjoying some rare birds and butterflies then you will not be disappointed...
  • 2015 [07 July] - Bob Shiret - Obergurgl

    Report
    Fairly obviously Obergurgl would not be the ideal location to come for a week’s intensive birding, but if you, like us you want to combine a walking holiday in high summer without excessive heat in fabulous surroundings whilst enjoying some rare birds and butterflies then you will not be disappointed.
  • 2017 [06 June] - Tony Moverley - Pertisau, Tyrolean Alps

    Report
    This was a 10 day holiday with my wife where we made casual observations of various wildlife and flora; no concerted effort was made to either target specific species or maximise lists.
  • 2019 [07 July] - Bob Shiret

    PDF Report
    This area is about five minutes walk from the Lohmann Hotel: follow the road down out of the rear of the hotel onto the meadow below and before you reach a dung heap there is a path on the right through the meadow which leads up to a ravine type walk for a couple of hundred metres. This area was good for Common Redpoll, Black Redstart, Linnet, Crag Martin, Sand Martin, Swift, Great Tit, Coal Tit, House Sparrow, Crow, Siskin, White Wagtail, Fieldfare, Blackbird, Crow, Treecreeper and Wheatear
Places to Stay


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

  • St. Martins Therme & Lodge

    Accommodation
    Discover central europe's premier lodge at the border of Austria's Puszta, the Neusiedler See-Seewinkel national park. St. Martins offers regular tours on nature and wildlife to the Austrian and Hungarian parts of the region as well as custom made itineraries fitted to your needs.
Other Links
  • Bird.at

    Website
    bird.at - the austrian website for birdwatchers and enthusiasts!
  • Vivara Naturschutzprodukte

    Website
    Alle Produkte werden speziell auf die Ansprüche wild lebender Kleintiere wie Vögel, Igel oder Fledermäuse hin entwickelt und regelmäßig von Ornithologen und Biologen analysiert und getestet…
  • ornitho.at

    Website
    Welcome to ornitho.at hosted by BirdLife Austria. This site provides a new way of collecting, managing and illustrating ornithological observations for the whole of Austria. The data entered here is intended to aid the study and protection of Austria’s native avifauna. Correctness of data shown here cannot be guaranteed. The use of ornitho.at is free of charge.
Blogs
  • Gilbert Hafner - Natur im Seewinkel

    BLOG
    The 'Neusiedler See' is a steppe lake and is situated between the easternmost parts of the Alps and the western part of the Small Hungarian Plain. From the biological point of view this area offers a variety of habitats: Alpine, Pannonic, Asian, Mediterranean, and Nordic influences enrich the extra-ordinary diversity with more than 340 different bird species.
  • Leander Khil - Birds & Photography

    BLOG
    Leander Khil reports on birds and photography…
  • Martin Suanjak - Birding Suanjak

    BLOG
    Young birder Martin Suanjak writes about his birding discoveries in Austria and abroad… not updated since 2014
Photographers & Artists
  • Photographer - Leander Khil

    Gallery
  • Photographer - Otto Samwald

    Gallery
  • Photographers - Rober Kreintz & Eduard Flori

    Gallery
    Gallery

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