BIRDING HUNGARY

birds

The Birds Of Hungary (Helm, 1996,

ISBN 0-7136-4235-1)

A review and status guide to all the country's birds, with many maps and sections on habitats, geography, climate and conservation. Essential background reading.

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Hungary is one of Europe’s great birding destination. From the hills to the lowlands there is a rich range of species. Here is a selection.

 

Wildfowl includes breeding Ferruginous Duck, Garganey and Red-crested Pochard. From autumn through winter there are masses of Greater White-fronted Geese as well as Bean Geese, and some Lesser White-fronted and Red-breasted Geese. Herons include Little and Great Bitterns, Great White and Little Egrets, and Squacco, Night and Purple Herons. Both Black and White Storks nest, the latter often along village streets and on rooftops in huge nests. Pygmy Cormorants are increasingly widespread.

 

Hungary is excellent for birds of prey: Saker, Red-footed Falcon and Eastern Imperial are in their European strongholds, and Lesser Spotted, Short-toed and White-tailed Eagles, Montagu’s and Marsh Harriers, Honey and Long-legged Buzzards and more also breed. Hen Harriers and Rough-legged Buzzards winter in good numbers.

 

Over 100,000 Common Cranes stopover in Hungary autumn, as do many species of shorebirds. Collared Pratincoles and Stone Curlews are rather localised breeders but can be seen with our help, as can Hungary’s national bird the Great Bustard. Yellow-legged, Caspian and Mediterranean Gulls and White-winged Black, Black and Whiskered Terns all breed, too.

 

Hungary is home to Ural, Tawny, Eagle, Little & Long-eared Owls, the latter gathering in large communal winter roosts. There are a few pairs of Eurasian Pygmy Owl and in summer also  Scops Owl. An impressive eight woodpecker species are resident, including Europe’s largest, Black Woodpecker, the smallest, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, and the rarest White-backed Woodpecker. Wryneck is a summer visitor.

 

Colourful birds like Hoopoe, Golden Oriole, Roller and Bee-eater are here in spring and summer and are often popular with photographers. Red-backed and Lesser Grey Shrikes occur in summer and Great Grey Shrikes in winter. A few Wallcreepers and Alpine Accentors overwinter.

 

In spring and summer there is a great selection of warblers including Barred, Moustached, River, Savi’s, Marsh, Great Reed and Icterine. There are Reed, Corn and Rock Buntings and other passerines include Bluethroat, Collared Flycatcher, Bearded and Penduline Tits, Short-toed and Common Treecreeper, Hawfinch, Serin and many more.

For more information see The Birds of Hungary by Gerard Gorman.