Swiss Confederation

Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius ©Ignaas Robbe
Birding Switzerland

Switzerland may be small, but it is a very varied land and has much more to offer than its famous cheeses, cuckoo clocks and good Swiss chocolate. The most important Swiss cities are Berne, Zurich and Geneva; Berne as the capital, Zurich because it is the largest and most economically important city and Geneva for its international importance as the main seat in Europe of the UNO for example.

Die Schweiz ist zwar ein kleines, aber doch sehr vielseitiges Land. Sie hat wesentlich mehr zu bieten als nur den bekannten Käse und die gute schweizer Schokolade. Die wichtigsten Städte der Schweiz sind Bern, Zürich und Genf. Bern ist wichtig als Hauptstadt; Zürich, weil es die grösste und wirtschaftlich bedeutendste Stadt der Schweiz ist und Genf wegen der internationalen Bedeutung, zum Beispiel als UNO-Hauptsitz.

Switzerland has stunning landscapes. The well-known Swiss Alps, with the Matterhorn in pride of place, are especially magnificent. Equally beautiful, in their own right, are the myriad lakes of all sizes, and the rivers and streams, which are often to be found in literally fairytale surroundings.

Landschaftlich ist die Schweiz sehr reizvoll. Besonders beeindruckend sind natürlich die bekannten Schweizer Berge, allen voran das Matterhorn. Ebenfalls sehr schön sind die vielen grossen und kleinen Seen, Flüsse und Bäche, welche zum Teil in märchenhaften Gegenden liegen.

From an ornithological point of view the Swiss Alps are of particular interest as almost all European mountain species are represented. In addition they present migrating birds with a formidable obstacle and thus channelling them into particular routes. Many mountain passes offer superb vantage points for observing migrant birds. Large areas of the former wide-ranging moor land areas have sadly disappeared due to drainage out and adjacent agricultural use. Many breeding birds have as a result almost completely vanished. Nonetheless the Swiss wetlands remain interesting above all for the passage of migrating species.

Die Schweizer Alpen sind auch aus ornithologischer Sicht sehr interessant, denn hier sind praktisch alle europäischen Gebirgsarten vertreten. Ausserdem stellen sie ein bedeutendes Hindernis für Zugvögel dar, wodurch diese zu bestimmten Routen gezwungen werden. So sind viele Pässe ausgezeichnete Beobachtungspunkte für durchziehende Vögel.Grosse Teile von den ehemals weitläufigen Sumpfgebieten der Schweiz sind leider durch Trockenlegung und anschliessende landwirtschaftliche Nutzung verschwunden. Dadurch sind viele Brutvögel fast ausgestorben. Deshalb sind die schweizer Sumpfgebiete vor allem als Rastplätze für Zugvögel interessant geblieben.

What Switzerland misses most is a coastline. For this reason all typical sea and coastal birds are rarely, if ever, seen.

Was der Schweiz fehlt, ist ein Anschluss ans Meer. Aus diesem Grund sind alle typischen Küstenvögel nicht oder nur ausnahmsweise zu beobachten.

  • Michael Gerber


Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 422

    (As at April 2020)
  • iGoTerra Checklist

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

  • Where to watch birds in Switzerland

    | By Marco Sacchi, Peter Ruegg & Jacques Laesser | Christopher Helm | 1999 | Paperback | 192 pages, B/w photos, line illustrations, maps | ISBN: 9780713651836 Buy this book from
  • The Sempach Observatory (Schweizerischen Vogelwarte Sempach)

    Observatory WebsiteSatellite View
    The homepage of the Swiss Observatory at Sempach, the largest private field research institute. Includes a quiz on Swiss birds, extensive information on Swiss species and a lot more besides. [Die Homepage der schweizerischen Vogelwarte Sempach, welche das gr
Museums & Universities
  • Museo Cantonale di Storia Naturale

    Nel 1854 Luigi Lavizzari, naturalista e uomo politico, creò presso il Liceo cantonale (allora nel centro di Lugano) un gabinetto di storia naturale con parte delle sue collezioni, nell`intento di gettare le basi per un futuro museo patrio…
  • Ala - Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Vogelkunde und Vogelschutz

    The Swiss society for the protection and preservation of birds.Werner Holliger, Breitestr. 22, CH-5015 Niedererlinsbach,
  • Ficedula - Società pro avifauna della Svizzera italiana

    The Swiss society for the protection and preservation of birds in Italian Switzerland.
  • Nos Oiseaux - Societe Romande pour l`Etude et Ia Protection des Oiseaux

    50 rue AchilleMerguin, CH-2900 Porrentuy. +41 6666 5629Nos Oiseaux est une soci
  • Ornithologische Arbeitsgemeinschaft Graubünden

  • Pro Natura

    Pro Natura - Switzerlands Number One in Conservation - we provide nature reserves with in-the-field conservation in over 700 reserves all over the country; in agricultural, forest, urban and wilderness areas. Pro Natura was founded to create the only Swiss National Park in 1914 and has since helped to establish half of all protected areas in Switzerland. The creation and management of reserves is still one of the main tasks of Pro Natura.
  • Swiss Association for the Protection of Birds - Schweizer Vogelschutzes SVS

    Wiedingstr 78, P0 Box 8521, CH-8036 Zurich. +41 1 4637271 The Swiss Association for the Protection of Birds SVS - BirdLife Switzerland is active for the conservation of bio-diversity in Switzerland and, through it partnership to BirdLife International all over the world. SVS has a membership of 60
  • Swiss Ornithological Institute

    The Swiss Ornithological Institute is a non-governmental scientific research institute at Sempach, near Lucerne. It was founded in 1924, mainly as a centre to organise and co-ordinate bird ringing in Switzerland and to study bird migration. Since 1954 the SOI has been a private foundation for ornithology, supported by donations and subscriptions from the Swiss population. It nowadays covers a wide range of topics from bird migration and ecology to population monitoring and applied studies for landscape management and conservation.
  • Swiss Rarities Committe

    The Swiss Rarities Committee (SRC) works independently from any other organisation. It is a member of the Association of European Rarities Committees, AERC and follows its recommendations. Its main task is to check if unusual bird observations are sufficiently documented to be cited in scientific literature. The species concerned either occur rarely in Switzerland or are rarely seen at a specific time of the year or in a particular part of the country. The first breeding records in Switzerland are also examined by the SRC

Abbreviations Key

  • NP Parc National Suisse

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Here you can obtain information about the only national park in Switzerland, its particularities and what it has to offer. Use the search machine to find the information you are looking for.
Sightings, News & Forums
Guides & Tour Operators
  • BBC [Birds, Beer and Chips] Swiss Tours

    Tour Operator
    Interested in a bird, beer and chips tour of Switzerland? It is not that expensive. We provide expert guides, transport (including pickup and return to the airport), accommodation (dinner/breakfast), bird lists and humour. We visit famous Roman Ruins, Swiss scenic views as well as seeing some of the 390 birds of Switzerland at a realistic price
  • Liberty Bird

    Tour Operator
    A Swiss company which organises Worldwide Birding Holidays, besides individual or group birding trips in Switzerland. Profesional, local guides show visitors all the specialities of Switzerland. Located in Bern, Switzerland
Trip Reports
  • 2018 [12 December] - Roland van der Vliet

    PDF Report
    ...My observations do give you an idea what can be seen. These include alpine species like Golden Eagle, Alpine Accentor, Lammergeier, Alpine Chough and Spotted Nutcracker. I searched for my WP nemesis bird, Three-toed Woodpecker, during both trips but again failed... Especially the December trip should have delivered, as I was certain I was in prime habitat under the guidance of local birder Hans Meierhans. I want to thank him for taking me out birding. I also want to thank Jan Bisschop for bringing us in contact...
  • 2019 [06 June] - Alps

    PDF Report
    ...From the train we saw out first butterflies, managing to spot Small Tortoiseshell, Large and Small Whites and Common Ringlets...
Other Links
  • Birds On-line

    Much information on European birds, over 250 pictures, red lists, etc
  • CH Club 300

    Here is information about the SMS-Rarities Service and news about rare birds in Switzerland (birdnames in german, french and english). There is also a ranking of the swiss birders
  • Oiseaux

  • Vogelbilder

    Birds and other pictures of nature
  • Birding in Switzerland an abroad

    Welcome to my blog. I love a lot of things. There is wonderful nature with lots of animals that I like to take pictures of - I like to share them with you here
  • Birds, Beer & Chips

    A group of Basel based Bird watchers
Photographers & Artists
  • Photographer - Fotos freilebender V

    Bird photos from this Swiss bordering photographer
  • Photographer - Michel Roggo

    Welcome to Michel Roggo Online featuring the work of swiss wildlife photographer Michel Roggo. It contains two parts. The first For Editorial Use, is made especially for people looking for stories or photographs of nature and wildlife for commercial use. The fastest way to get some information about Michel Roggo and his work is to go to About Roggo. Stories features stories ready to edit in magazines, an there are Photographs of particular species, especially of fish, birds, and mammals. For a fast and up-to-date information about the photographs in the files, please go to Archive List, and you may as well print this list.
  • Vogelfotos der Westpal


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