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Hortobágy Birdwatching in Hungary

Dress warm and prepare your camera for impressive pictures of gorgeous wild birds

Hortobágy Birdwatching
Hortobágy Birdwatching
Hortobágy Birdwatching
Hortobágy Birdwatching

Hortobágy is a National Park with mostly steppe landscapes, but due to its large territory, it also includes some water reservoirs, both natural and artificial. Hortobágy is the most popular place for birdwatching in Hungary, as it hosts about 342 species of birds, which can be spotted during different seasons of the year. The most prominent though is autumn, when fishponds are full of food and attract nearly 40,000-70,000 Common Cranes. Guided by a local naturalist you can observe them walking in the ponds in search of food during the day or enjoy their graceful flight at dusk.​

Late autumn, depending on weather, may not give you a chance to see cranes, but it brings other gorgeous birds closer to humans. The White-tailed Eagle, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Long-eared Owl, and Rough-legged Hawk are ​impressive predatory birds worth checking out at Hortobágy National Park.

Practical info

What is the optimal period to observe Common Cranes in Hortobágy?

The best time to visit Hortobágy if you want to observe Common Cranes is between October and November. Tens of thousands of cranes fly into the National Park late afternoon and form huge roosts in the waterfish ponds for the night. Eastern Imperial Eagles, Rough-legged Hawks, and Long-eared Owls are other predatory birds that can be spotted during this period. Show more

How many species of birds reside in Hortobágy National Park?

About 342 species of birds can be found in Hortobágy National Park, and the park maintains records of the bird population around water reservoirs and roosting sites to aid birdwatchers in tracking them. The park attracts flocks of birds all year round, though autumn is undoubtedly the peak season. Tens of thousands of birds can be found here, making it Hungary's most popular birdwatching destination. Show more

Which bird species is the most prominent during autumn in Hortobágy?

The Common Crane dominates birdwatching excursions in Hungary's Hortobágy National Park. In autumn, tens of thousands of cranes can be seen walking along the fishponds during the day and settling in roosts at night alongside other species of predatory birds. White-tailed Eagles, Eastern Imperial Eagles, Long-eared Owls, and Rough-legged Hawks are some of the other species that may be observed. Show more

Are tours available to assist with birdwatching at Hortobágy National Park?

Yes, guided tours of the Hortobágy National Park are available, and participants are often provided transportation to key birdwatching spots. Local naturalists typically lead these tours, possessing intricate knowledge regarding the park's layout and bird movements. Guided tours can be arranged for individuals or groups, but visitors are encouraged to book in advance, as space fills up quickly. Show more

What other types of predatory birds besides Common Cranes can be spotted in the Hortobágy National Park?

Rough-legged Hawks, Long-eared Owls, Eastern Imperial Eagles, and White-tailed Eagles are among the predatory birds visitors can observe in the Hortobágy National Park, in addition to the Common Crane. The White-tailed Eagle, with a wingspan of up to 2.5 meters, is a sight to behold, perching on trees at the water's edge or soaring overhead. The Long-eared Owl is a stealthy bird with excellent nocturnal vision and a silent flight, while the Rough-legged Hawks have an impressive flight and inhabit the Arctic tundra during breeding season. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin