Birding in Budapest Hungary
What kind of opportunities possible to find in a 1.7 Million population city? It is interesting, this is not a Pantanal in Brazil, or a tropical forest in Costa rica, or the Okawango in Africa. Obviously the birds can be found here are different as well.
Birding in Budapest Hungary
I realized I spent most of my time birding in Budapest where I live.
About Budapest Hungary
Budapest is the 25th most popular tourist target in the whole world. More than 4 million tourist appear here every year. When I worked in the inner city I was always amazed the quantity of tourists appear here in every time of the year, from Spring to Winter.
Best places for birding
There are many good places here, but don’t think in extremes, this is not the Serengeti. There are many people around everywhere, so the best times in the early morning or the late afternoon on most places. Other places apart from the main season (summer or weekends in good weather) fine all day, when the people work. It mostly depends on your skills, what you can see. I put numbers to check the locations on map, the numbers goes from the city center to outside areas.
The best season is the migration period in Spring, or Autumn. Winter is also can be interesting.
For easy birders :).
Apart from zoo birds there are many wild birds there as well as waterfowl in the Great Lake, singing birds etc. This why you sometimes can see Grey herons flying above the houses of the inner city. A very nice place, but there is some entrance fee. With kids a must have program. It is in the city Park also listed here. Read more about the Budapest zoo and see dozens of pics here
There are two bigger cityparks can be found inside Budapest, the Varosliget and the Nepliget. The area of the two parks is approximately the same. The Varosliget is much more frequented by tourist because many attractions can be found there, just next to Heroes square, Vajdahunyad Castle, Iceskating ring, Fine art museum, Zoo, Szechenyi bath etc. The Nepliget is much more abandoned.
This is not an unsafe area but sometimes strange people can be there. So if you are a pretty young girl, perhaps not the best idea to find out the most abandoned darkest part of the park at night alone.
Nepliget city park is a very good place for birding. The easiest to access by the M2 (Blue line), at the stop also called Nepliget. The Park starts right there. The Park relatively abandoned, because not so many attractions there as in the Varosliget. You can see lots of singing birds, crows, woodpeckers there. If you lucky Owls as well. Squirrel is also appear there. Species I saw there (just an idea, not a complete list): Magpie, Hooded crow, Rook, Robin, Jay, Yellow Kinglet, Fieldfare(winter), Redwing (winter), Blue tit, Great tit, Nuthatch, Hawfinch, Green woodpecker, Black woodpecker, Great spotted woodpecker, Wren.
2. Varosliget City park
The Varosliget City park and the vicintity is packed with tourist attractions. It is a must not miss place if you visit Budapest. The easiest to get there from Deak Square on Metro line M1 (small ancient looking yellow vehicles). There is an ice skating ring or a boating lake in summer, and an other small artificial lake always packed with birds. Mallards, gulls, occasionally Great cormorant, Little grebe can be found there. The birds are quite tame, you can make good photos easily. In the park lots of singing birds, and woodpeckers can be found. Species I saw there: Magpie, Hooded crow, Great tit, Blue tit, Blackbird, Western jackdow, Robin, Wren, Starling, Great spotted woodpecker, Mallard, Nightingale, Collared flycatcher, Black headed gull, Great cormorant, Little grebe, Wood pidgeon. The waterfowl are mainly in winter. Bohemian waxwing in invasion periods, in certain years.
3. Kerepesi cementery
An unusual place with a huge area near Keleti railway station. If you check on the map it is located between the two other parks and almost that big in size, than the two parks. Here also lots of singing birds and crows can be find.
4. Margaret island
The Margaret island is a 2.5km long, 0.5km wide island in Budapest. It can be accessed by Tram No 4,6 from the Margaret bridge which is connected the South part of the island. Running track going all along the sideline of the island. The island is mostly tree covered with several free areas. There are many huge trees can be found there with 2-3 or more meters diamater. Species: Nightingale, Hooded crow, Magpie, Nuthatch, if you lucky you can see Owls as well. There is a small zoo as well here with several birds in it like Ducks, White stork (walking among the visitors), Buzzards, White tailed eagle.
5. Gellért hill
The Gellert hill is a small hill near to City center. The best place to make a photo of the city. see the picture at the top of the page. From here you can see almost all bridges of Budapest. The Gellert hill is located next to the Danube and starts at Buda side of the Liberty or Franz Josef bridge. Species: tits, crows if you lucky you can see species like Nightjar or Firecrest as well.
6. Feneketlen lake
This is a tiny lake in South Buda, very popular among students, but sometimes surprising birds can appear here. Species: Blue tit, Great tit, Wren, Robin, Hooded crow, Blackbird, Mallard, Moorhen, Blue heron (very rare) Great reed warbler. I saw here other ducks like Pochard as well.
The Danube is crossing the city at Budapest, and here is part of the famous Danube bench. For birding the interesting areas can be found at North or South at the borders of the city. Waterbirds gather at winter at North gulfs. At migration sometimes very interesting birds can be found even in the inner city areas. Species: all kinds of gulls, the Black headed gull is the most common, Great cormorant, Little grebe, Grey heron, Common sandpiper, singing birds at the banks.
8. Kopaszi gat
This is a surprisingly kept area at South Part of Budapest, a very nice place. This is basically a thin (50-80m, in the beginning wider) 1-1.5 km long peninsula to the Danube and the gulf beside. There is pavement in the center, huge trees both sides, and restaurants here and there. It can be found at Buda side just behind the Rakoczi bridge at South (formerly Lagymanyosi bridge).
This place become incredibly popular among people as well(:)), so the weekdays are better, than weekends. Species: singing birds, Grey Heron, Gulls, Kingfisher, Mallard, other Ducks can appear as well.
9. Soroksar Danube branch
The branch at the East side of Csepel island is a 50km long, 60-100m wide lake. There all kinds of waterfowls can be found. It can be approached from the Csepel island, or from XXth district area. Species: Mallard, Coot, Little bittern, Grey Heron, Great Crested Grebe, Little grebe, Blue tit, Great tit, Green Woodpecker, Wren, Great spotted woodpecker, Great reed warbler, Wood pigeon, Collared dove.
10. Soroksar botanical garden
It is a little bit outside from the city, it is quite an abandoned area. This is why perhaps it is so interesting. The botanical garden is connected to one of the Universities here, the entry fee is around 2 Euro. Obviously if you want to see flowers, this is not a good idea to go there in winter. But for birding the off-season times are better, because basically almost nobody are there. Species: all kinds of singing birds, jay, even some birds of prey.
11. Buda hills and Buda green areas
This is a huge area and some knowledge is needed because you can spend lots of time there without see anything interesting.
Species: singing birds, woodpeckers, Owls, Goshawk, Sparrowhawk.
12. Other outside lakes – Naplas lake, Koerberek lake, Omszk lake, Csepel gravel pit lakes
There are several outside lakes, which can be interesting in different times of the year especially in migration period, or in winter but most of them are not easy to access even with local people, consume lots of time just to travel there and back and not so interesting areas generally just one-or two interesting species can occur several times a year. Better for people live nearby who understand when to get there and what to expect. The thing is the same here, lots of people usually everywhere (fisherman, people just go there) who scares everything away, this is why winter is better at this places.
Bird species appear in Budapest
The list is not complete, this is only what I know. More than hundred species I guess. Needed some time to finish.
|Bee eater||Merops apiaster||outside areas hard to get there|
|Black woodpecker||Dryocopos martius||Nepliget|
|Buzzard||Buteo buteo||Outside open areas|
|Crested lark||Galerida cristata||Outside agricultural areas|
|Common sandpiper||Actitis hypoleucos||Along the Danube|
|Eagle owl||Bubo bubo||Seen once|
|Goshawk||Accipiter gentilis||Buda hills|
|Great crested grebe||Podiceps cristatus||Soroksari Danube|
|Great grey shrike||Lanius exhubitor||South outside areas|
|Great spotted woodpecker||Dendrocopos major||Common|
|Green woodpecker||Picus viridis||North and South areas|
|Grey Heron||Ardea cinerea||Danube, Soroksari Danube|
|Hoopoe||Upupa epops||Outside districts|
|House Sparrow||Passer domesticus||Outside districts|
|Jay||Garrulus glandiarus||Nepliget, Buda hills, Soroksari botanical garden|
|Kestrel||Falco Tinnunculus||Inside outside open areas||Kingfisher||Alcedo atthis||Danube, Soroksari danube, Varosliget, Margaret island|
|Lesser spotted woodpecker||Dendrocopos Minor||Several places|
|Little bittern||Lxobrychus minutus||Soroksari Danube|
|Little grebe||Tachybaptus ruficollis||Varosliget, Soroksari Danube|
|Magpie||Pica pica||almost everywhere, apart from city center|
|Mallard||Anas plathyrsynchos||Varosliget, Feneketlen lake, Danube, Soroksari Danube|
|Mute swan||Cygnus olor||Danube, Soroksari Danube|
|Nightjar||Caprimulgus europeaus||Buda hills, very rare|
|Peregrine falcon||Falco peregrinus||On the St Stephen cathedral|
|Pheasant||Phasianus colchicus||Outside inside abandoned areas|
|Pygmy cormorant||phalacrocorax pygmeus||very rare at migration|
|Red crested pochard||Netta rufina||Very rare at migration|
|Robin (Eurasian)||Erithacus rubecula||Varosliget, Nepliget, Gellert hill|
|Ruddy shelduck||Tadorna ferruginea||Very rare at migration|
|Sparrowhawk||Accipiter gentilis||South areas, XI district, Buda hills|
|Syrian woodpecker||Dendrocopos syriacus||several areas|
|Swift||Apus apus||on Block houses in suburb areas|
|Tawny Owl||Strix aluco||Nepliget, Margaret island, several places in Buda|
|Tree Sparrow||Passer Montanus||Several places|
|Tufted duck||Aythya fuligula||North in winter|
|Yellow kinglet||Regulus regulus||Varosliget, Gellert hill, Nepliget mostly in Autumn, Winter|
|Waxwing (Bohemian)||Bombycilla garrulus||Winter, Varosliget, and other areas as well but not every year, some years but many birds these times usually|
|Western jackdaw||Corvus monedula||Varosliget, and many other places, next to roads|
Other fine birding places near Budapest
there is a bird ringing station in a protected areas, app 25km South from Budapest.
It is a small settlement. The bird ringing station is at the side of the city, where different habitats meet. Only can access through the bird ringing station.
The Danube bend
(the hills the river between Budapest and Esztergom app 60km long area where the Danube has a 90 degree turn from East to South direction) with it’s islands are a very fine place for birding as well, with many interesting species like raptors and many other interesting birds as well.
is also a very interesting place, the North part of the 27km2 Lake there is a protected area with the neighboring marshlands (Dinnyes Ferto). It is located app. 50km from Budapest. Other ways in summer is a very popular beach area (The South side of the Lake).
Ok ok where are these birds, show some !
All below pictures were made inside the Budapest city border.