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Birding in Vienna (1 Viewer)

IreneBR

Well-known member
I'll be staying in Vienna for a few days in August.

I would like to ask which are the best places within the city and around for birdwatching. Is it possible to see the White-tailed eagle without going too far from the city centre? I'm also interested in the various species of woodpeckers in Austria (Picus canus, Dendrocopos syriacus, Leiopicus medius, Dendrocopos leucotos, and the much rarer Picoides tridactylus). I've seen that Lainzer Tiergarden is a good spot for all woodpeckers except for the three-toed, as well as for Red-breasted flycatchers, which I'd also like to see. I've also seen there are old records for some of these species around Schonbruun, are they still around?

Any help will be appreciated, thank you sm in advance! :)
 
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SlowLowFlyingTurkey

Well-known member
I saw a Grey-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus) in the grounds of Schonbrunn Palace in 1990 while Interrailing round Europe, but I don't know if they still occur here.

More recently I had Red-breasted and Collared Flycatchers in Lainzer Tiergarden in Spring 2014 while on a brief stopover on a flight from UK to Armenia. The only woodpecker I saw here was Great Spotted but there must be others. It was easy to reach on public transport. Also some fairly tame Wild Boars here.

Also in 1990 I took a short train ride from Vienna to Marchegg on the Slovakian border for a day in some good wooded habitat along the river. I knew about it from an old book of European birding sites.

Hopefully you'll get some more up to date information from someone who knows the city better than me. Also, have you tried ebird hotspots yet?
 

SlowLowFlyingTurkey

Well-known member
Having just looked at Schonbrunn on ebird, I see Grey-headed WP hasn't been reported there since 1994! Marchegg, however, looks good for White-tailed Eagle and various woodpeckers, as well as Black Stork (which I think I saw there).
 

IreneBR

Well-known member
Having just looked at Schonbrunn on ebird, I see Grey-headed WP hasn't been reported there since 1994! Marchegg, however, looks good for White-tailed Eagle and various woodpeckers, as well as Black Stork (which I think I saw there).
Thank you! I'll check out Marchegg and try to get there!

I've seen failry new Middle-spotted and Syrian WP sightings (2019-2021) at Wiener Prater, Stadtpark, and Schönbrunn using eBird. Donau-Auen Nationalpark/Donauinsel also look good, with more species than most centric hotspots and recent (2021) White-tailed eagle reports. The Gray-headed WP, however, seems more difficult to see around the city's parks.

Since I will be taking a day trip to Salzburg, maybe I can catch a few more species there as well.
 
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albatross02

Well-known member
I saw a Grey-headed Woodpecker (Picus canus) in the grounds of Schonbrunn Palace in 1990 while Interrailing round Europe, but I don't know if they still occur here.

More recently I had Red-breasted and Collared Flycatchers in Lainzer Tiergarden in Spring 2014 while on a brief stopover on a flight from UK to Armenia. The only woodpecker I saw here was Great Spotted but there must be others. It was easy to reach on public transport. Also some fairly tame Wild Boars here.

Also in 1990 I took a short train ride from Vienna to Marchegg on the Slovakian border for a day in some good wooded habitat along the river. I knew about it from an old book of European birding sites.

Hopefully you'll get some more up to date information from someone who knows the city better than me. Also, have you tried ebird hotspots yet?
Look at
 

Bitis

Well-known member
Austria
Hi, I am from Vienna, so maybe I can help you out a little.
Regarding the woodpeckers you mentioned: Dendrocopos leucotos is the rarest woodpecker species in Vienna, so the chances of finding one are really slim (there are two records this year on ornitho.at, one from Lainzer Tiergarden though). There are no records of Picoides tridactylus from Vienna as far as I'm aware of. You would need to go more to the west, where the mountains start getting higher, for them. Picus canus is also not the most common woopecker species, so you also need a little bit of luck, but they are possible. Syriacus an medius are both possible. Medius in the forest (Lainzer Tiergarden e.g.) or also in parks. Syriacus you won't find in the forest, this species prefers more open spaces, so I would look for them in parks or other open landscapes. Black Woodpecker (D. martius) is also possible and in some places pretty common.

For White-tailed Eagles near the city center you also need a lot of luck, because they breed in the flood plain forests east of Vienna and north of Vienna. Sometimes you can see them flying along the river Danube. But if you want higher chances of seeing them I would go with the train a little outside of Vienna. There you could also possibly see Eastern Imperial Eagles and other raptors. Marchegg, as already mentioned, is a good place for example. But there are also places with, in my experience, higher chances of seeing them.
If you want to look for them within Vienna I would recommend Lobau in the East of Vienna, this is where the flood plain forest starts. It's a beautiful National Park and awesome for all kind of animals, not just birds (I wouldnt go on the week ends though, because then it is very crowded, especially on warm and sunny days).

So inside of Vienna, Lainzer Tiergarden for most of the Woodpeckers and Flycatchers is a good idea I think. For Syrian Woodpecker I'm not quiet sure what to recommend, they are not rare but also not that common in Vienna, maybe you can try on Zentralfriedhof (Central Cemetery) there are some records from this year there. You also have chances of seeing European Hamsters (Cricetus cricetus) there. The other parks you mentioned in your last post are also a possibility of course for the Woodpecker.
If you also are interested in Mammals by the way, in and around Vienna there are places with very good chances of seeing European Ground Squirrels (Spermophilus citellus).

If you have more questions, please feel free to ask :)
 
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kb57

Well-known member
Europe
I remember visiting Vienna on a birding trip in the 1970s and hearing and seeing grey-headed woodpecker in one of the parks, I think Schonbrunn. I also remember a nuthatch taking food from my hand while a middle-spotted woodpecker looked on close by - it was just lacking in a little courage!
Syrian woodpeckers I recall being the most frequent species we saw on the trip, which included places like Marchegg and Neusiedl.
 

Bitis

Well-known member
Austria
I remember visiting Vienna on a birding trip in the 1970s and hearing and seeing grey-headed woodpecker in one of the parks, I think Schonbrunn. I also remember a nuthatch taking food from my hand while a middle-spotted woodpecker looked on close by - it was just lacking in a little courage!
Syrian woodpeckers I recall being the most frequent species we saw on the trip, which included places like Marchegg and Neusiedl.
Sounds like you had a great experience here :)

Yes, the more east/south-east from Vienna you go, the more common Syrian Woodpecker gets. Because basically west and south-west of Vienna is where the Alpes start/are getting higher and higher and you have a lot of forest, so not the ideal habitat for Syrian Woodpecker. In the other direction on the other hand the landscape ist getting flater with less forest. Basically the transition into the Eurasian Steppe (Lake Neusiedl is the most western steppe lake). Vienna ist right at that "transition border" so you have them there, but in Vienna Great-Spotted Woodpecker is more common.
 
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kb57

Well-known member
Europe
Sounds like you had a great experience here :)

Yes, the more east/south-east from Vienna you go, the more common Syrian Woodpecker gets. Because basically west and south-west of Vienna is where the Alpes start/are getting higher and higher and you have a lot of forest, so not the ideal habitat for Syrian Woodpecker. In the other direction on the other hand the landscape ist getting flater with less forest. Basically the transition into the Eurasian Steppe (Lake Neusiedl is the most western steppe lake). Vienna ist right at that "transition border" so you have them there, but in Vienna Great-Spotted Woodpecker is more common.
You're right, I really loved Vienna - I was 15 years old and it was the first major European city I'd ever visited - I'd only ever travelled through London twice before in order to change trains. It was my first time birding outside of Britain so I had many 'lifers'. I've always meant to go back but somehow never got round to it.

You've given a good explanation of why we saw so many Syrian woodpeckers, since for most of the trip we were based at Lake Neusiedl.
 

Bitis

Well-known member
Austria
You're right, I really loved Vienna - I was 15 years old and it was the first major European city I'd ever visited - I'd only ever travelled through London twice before in order to change trains. It was my first time birding outside of Britain so I had many 'lifers'. I've always meant to go back but somehow never got round to it.

You've given a good explanation of why we saw so many Syrian woodpeckers, since for most of the trip we were based at Lake Neusiedl.
I see, sounds like some good memories. Maybe you find the time to come back some day, Vienna probably changed a lot since the the last time you visited!

Lake Neusiedl and the surrounding areas probably is the best place for seeing them. In general, it probably is the best (or one of the best) places for birding in Austria.
 

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