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Slovak Republic

Eurasian Pygmy Owl Glaucidium passerinum ©Fero Bednar Website

Birding Slovakia

Slovakia is essentially a land of mountains; high, snow-capped, rugged, often wild mountains. Birding here often involves some walking, if not trekking, and the mountains and forests do not always give up their delights easily. But delights there are: Eagle, Ural, Pygmy and Tengmalm's Owls, Three-toed, White-backed, Middle Spotted, Grey-headed and Black Woodpeckers, Black Stork, Booted, Lesser-spotted, Imperial and Golden Eagles, Black Grouse, Hazel Grouse, Ring Ouzel, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Nutcracker, Common Rosefinch, Alpine Accentor and the enticing Wallcreeper to mention just a few. Though one invariably needs local expertise, incredible luck, or a combination of the two to see them, there are also Brown Bear, Lynx and Wolf in many of Slovakias forested mountain ranges. At the highest elevations, often accessible by cable-car or ski-lift, Chamoix and Marmots are often quite easy to see.

The Pieniny, Mala (Little) Fatra, Nizke (Low) Tatry and the rugged High Tatras are all typical ranges with dense broad-leaved forests at lower levels, mixed beech-conifer higher up, then spruce and alpine zones of dwarf pine and boulder-country around their peaks. But one must be prepared for sudden changes in weather and carry the right equipment, supplies and clothing when birding these mountains. In the very east of the country the Slanske Hills and Vihorlat Range are particularly good woodland birding areas which are not as rugged as the higher ranges and include some old virgin beech-spruce forests particularly good for White-backed Woodpecker. Here in the east, too, there are stable, if not increasing, populations of Saker and Imperial Eagle and in the very northeast the ranges of Thrush Nightingale and Common Nightingale meet.

Another fine area is the Slovensky Kras, a scenic karst, hilly region of gorges, broadleaved woods, scrub and meadows bordering Hungary, with Rock Thrush, Rock Bunting, a good selection of raptors and most of the woodpeckers. Besides mountains and forests Slovakia also boasts some fine lowland habitats, mainly along the Danube flood-plain bordering Hungary. The last Great Bustards in Slovakia hang on here: birds such as White Stork, Syrian Woodpecker, Short-toed Treecreeper, Red-backed Shrike, Golden Oriole, Serin and Icterine, River and Barred Warblers are fairly common in suitable habitat. In the southeast corner of the country the Senne fish-ponds and surrounding agricultural land and grasslands have a bird life more akin to the Hungarian Plain to the south - such as Little Egret, Purple Heron, Little Bittern, Spoonbill, Whiskered Tern, Red-footed Falcon, Bee-eater and Lesser Grey Shrike; and it has a reputation for turning up rarities.

Slovakia is a long narrow country, which stretches from its capital Bratislava in the very southwest, up against the Austrian border, to the Ukraine in the far east. To the north there is Poland, to the south Hungary and, to the immediate west, the Czech Republic. There is an airport at Bratislava but few international carriers land there. A better flight option is nearby Vienna or Budapest in neighbouring Hungary. A very organised outdoor, and in particular winter, sport based tourist industry means that almost wherever one finds oneself in Slovakia there is no shortage of accommodation, invariably inexpensive, ranging from hotels proper, newly established bed & breakfasts, zimmer-frei, camp-sites at lower elevations, mountain chalets and basic but well-placed cabins. Indeed, besides boasting some of Europes best mountain scenery Slovakia also remains one of Europes most affordable countries to visit.

Contributor

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 357

(As at December 2018)

National Bird - Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos

Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

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

Useful Reading

Birds Distribution in Slovakia

By S Danko | Arbora Publishers | 2002 | Hardback | 688 pages, illustrations | Text Slovak & English |

ISBN: 9788022407144

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Owls of Slovakia in Pictures

By Stanislav Harvancik | Arbora Publishers | 2009 | Hardback | 136 pages, Colour photos | Text English, German & Slovak |

ISBN: 9788096946150

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Organisations

Carpathian Wildlife Society

Website

The Carpathian Wildlife Society (CWS) is a Slovakian non-profit-making organisation (NGO) bringing together people with a shared interest in the research and conservation of large mammal and bird species in the Western Carpathian mountains. Established in 1994, the CWS is a young and dynamic organisation working to raise national, and international, awareness and increase understanding of the rich and varied wildlife of the Western Carpathians, with particular emphasis on endangered or threatened species. The CWS aims to find real-world answers to conflicts between wildlife and local people.

Slovak Ornithological Society - BirdLife Slovakia

Website

SOS / BirdLife Slovakia is a nongovernmental organisation. Our mission is to research and to protect nature, mainly birds and their biotopes in Slovakia.

Slovak Wildlife Society

Website

We are a not-for-profit organisation focused on wolf, bear and lynx. We work with local communities, providing practical and financial assistance to reduce human-wildlife conflicts. We conduct research and education and specialise in combining ecotourism, wildlife monitoring and conservation.

Reserves

Abbreviations Key

Czech Biosphere Reserves Network

Information

Czechoslovak National MAB Committee…

NP BR Poloniny (East Carpathian Biosphere Reserve)

Information

Satellite View

The East Carpathian Biosphere Reserve is a transboundary protected area, designated as an area of global importance under UNESCO's Programme on Man and the Biosphere. It is located in the Eastern Carpathians and includes parts of three countries: Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine. Poloniny National Park in northeastern Slovakia at the Polish and Ukrainian borders. It is home to around 198 bird species.

NP Slovak Karst

Information

Satellite View

Slovak Karst National Park is a national park in the Slovak Karst (Slovenský kras) mountain range in South East Slovakia. It lies in the Gelnica, Rožňava and Košice–okolie districts in the Košice region.

NP Slovenský Raj (Slovak Paradise)

Information

Satellite View

The National Park Slovak Paradise is situated in the eastern part of Slovakia. In 1964 it was proclaimed the Protected Landscape Area and in 1988 recategorised by the government imposition to be the National Park. The park covers the area of 19,763ha (197,63km2) and the protected zone 13,011ha (130,11km2).

NP Tatra

Information

Satellite View

Tatra National Park is one of the nine national parks in Slovakia. It is situated in North Central Slovakia in the Tatra Mountains. The park is important for protecting a diverse variety of flora and fauna, with many endemic species, including the Tatra chamois. There are 115 species of birds, 42 mammals, 8 reptiles, and 3 amphibians.

Wetlands

Website

The convention entered into force in Slovakia on 1 January 1993. Slovakia currently has 14 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), with a surface area of 40,697 hectares.

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Ecotours

Tour Operator

With its original habitats, beautiful mountainous landscapes, short driving distances and good infrastructure Slovakia is an excellent birding destination. The High and Low Tatras offer beautiful mountain scenery and vast coniferous forests with all of Europe's woodpeckers, as well as owls, grouses and alpine species.

Etours Travel

Tour Operator

This special trip takes you to the High Tatras to search Brown Bears and some exclusive forest birds. It offers easy exploration of the mountains in bursting springtime. The range of birds seen offers a wide contrast with the possibility of Pygmy Cormorant, Three-toed Woodpecker, Syrian Woodpecker, Alpine Accentor or Spotted Nutcracker together on one list.

Probirder

Tour Operator

Slovakia’s best birding is arguably in its spectacular mountains and forests, where species such as Hazel Grouse, Eurasian Pygmy, Ural and Eagle Owls and 10 woodpeckers occur. Raptors include Eastern Imperial, Golden and Lesser Spotted Eagles, Goshawk and Saker.

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2012 [05 May] - Sándor Borza

PDF Report

We recorded a total of 205 species in 10 days of birding while covering almost all major bird habitats of the Carpathian Basin. This tour also gives a superb insight of the fantastic sceneries in the countries visited: Hungary, Slovakia and Romania…

2013 [05 May] - Sándor Borza - Hungary, Slovakia & Romania

PDF Report

…This year’s highlights were all the European breeding woodpeckers including superb views of the rare and declining White- backed Woodpecker and the enigmatic Three-toed Woodpecker; six species of owls including Ural and Eagle Owl; nineteen species of raptors including Booted, Short-toed and Imperial Eagle, Long-legged Buzzard, Red-footed Falcon and Saker; Great Bustard, Little Crake, Corncrake, Collared Pratincole, Wallcreeper, Red-breasted and Collared Flycatchers, Thrush Nightingale and a wide range of warblers including River Warbler…

2014 [05 May] - Zoltán Baczó

Report

...Finally we arrived to this grassland national park where we were soon watching various goodies like Purple Heron, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Marsh Sandpiper, Black Woodpecker and a fine singing breeding plumaged Barred Warbler...

2015 [05 May] - Janos Olah - Hungary & Transylvania

PDF Report

We had several tour highlights on this recent tour but certainly the displaying Great Bustards, a majestic pair of Eastern Imperial Eagle, the mighty Saker, the handsome Red-footed Falcon, a hunting Peregrine, the shy Capercaillie, the elusive Little Crake and Corncrake, the enigmatic Ural Owl, the declining White-backed Woodpecker, the skulking River and Barred Warblers, a rare Sombre Tit, which was a write-in, the fluty Red-breasted and Collared Flycatchers and the stunning Wallcreeper will be long remembered.

2016 [05 May] - Gerald Broddelez

PDF Report

Once clear of the city, we passed through a rolling patchwork of farmland, mixed woodland and picturesque villages. At roadside stops we saw a flyby Goosander, Eurasian Hobby, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Montagu’s Harrier, Rook, Western Jackdaw, Common Buzzard and White Stork. A brief stop at a petrol station, with the rugged snow-capped peaks of the High Tatras visible in the distance, added European Serin, Common Whitethroat, Tree Pipit, Black Redstart and White Wagtail.

2016 [05 May] - János Oláh - Hungary, Slovakia & Transylvania

PDF Report

This three-country birding tour in Central Europe is one of the most productive birding tours available in Europe and now it is one of Sakertours’ classic tours.

2017 [05 May] - Simay Gábor - Hungary, Slovakia & Transylvania

PDF Report

...This tour cover s three Central European count r ies a nd most of their bird habitats from the Hungarian gra sslands to the Slovakian and Romanian spruce forests. This is an extremely productive tour in Europe and can be easily combined with the Romanian Danube Delta Tour for overseas travellers...

Other Links

Birding Slovakia

Website

Bird sightings…

Tatra National Park

Information

Complete information on Tatry regional park…

Photographers & Artists

Photographer - Fero Bednar

Gallery

Welcome to my website dedicated to wildlife and nature photography. Here you will find some of my favorite images organized in categories by subject. Enjoy browsing and have fun!