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White-tailed Eagle © Szabolcs Kókay The Czech Republic is one of the most under-rated birding destinations in Europe. The country has mile after mile of old deciduous and conifer forest, high mountain terrain, vast peat-bogs, marshes, fish-ponds dating from the Middle Ages, karst landscapes, orchards, vineyards and some of the best intact flood-plain habitats in Europe. For a quite small (covering an area of 78,866 sq. km) landlocked country (see map below showing neighbouring countries) the avifauna is surprisingly impressive. Indeed the Czech Republic lies on a kind of ornithological crossroads between northern and southern Europe where an interesting mix of birds breed. There are boreal species like Hazel Grouse, Ural Owl, Nutcracker and Fieldfare as well as "Mediterranean" species like Night Heron, Bee-eater and Hoopoe. All ten European woodpeckers are here, too. In South Bohemia one can’t go far without finding a fish-pond. These come in all shapes and sizes, are often enclosed in wooded landscapes and are almost always good for birds.
Many of the Bohemian fish-pond systems are centuries old, having been created 
by monks in the Middle Ages and have become, along with adjacent pastures, meadows, marshes and thickets, important wildlife habitats. There are hundreds 
of ponds around Trebon and Ceske Budejovice where wildfowl pass through in numbers in spring and breeding birds include Red-crested Pochard. In some parts 
of Bohemia Corncrakes are not uncommon. Another wonderful region is South Moravia where hops are replaced by vines, "pivnice" by wine-cellars, and more "southern" European species like Saker Falcon and Syrian Woodpecker occur. For more detailed information on birds, birding and sites in the Czech Republic refer to Where To Watch Birds in Eastern Europe (pages 44-67).
Little Bittern © Szabolcs Kókay

Selected Birding Sites in the Czech Republic
Map of the Czech Republic
1) Krkonose NP.2) River Vltava/Prague.3) Brehynsky & Novozamecky Ponds. 4) Beskydy Mountains.5) Palava.6) Soutok.7) Trebon Basin.8) Ceske Budejovice Ponds. 9) Sumava NP. 10) Jeseniky Mountains.

Many of the Czech Republic's best birding areas are, however, vast and
finding the key species, especially when one's time is limited, can at times be a daunting task. And as is often the case some of the very special species, such as rare raptors, owls and woodpeckers, can be difficult to find and observe without inside local knowledge. Thus, Czech Birding is in the process of setting up a network of professional English speaking local guides (including some of the Czech Republic's top ornithologists) to guide visiting birders for a few hours, one day, or on private trips, in Prague, South Bohemia and South Moravia.
Golden Eagle © Szabolcs Kókay

Our guides include...

Dr. Josef Chytil is one of the Czech Republic's top birders. Indeed, he is a living legend. He is a former Secretary of the Czech Rarities Committee, a professional field zoologist and enthusiast for all things Moravian, including wine! Gerard Gorman was the first "western European" birder to realise the potential of the Czech Republic as a birding destination. He is author of "Where To Watch Birds in Eastern Europe" and "Woodpeckers of Europe".
For information on birding in the Czech Republic email us: info@czechbirding.com
 © czechbirding.com 2004

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