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Sedge warbler (Image: P. Buchner)Bluethroat (Image: Thaler)Little bittern (Image: P. Buchner)Snipe (Image: P. Buchner)Marsh harrier (Image: A. Ausobsky)

Breeding birds

Little bittern

The little bittern is the smallest member of the heron family found in Europe. It is invariably a migrant bird, found here only between the end of April and September. In 2002 little bitterns were identified in the Weidmoos for the first time. A female was observed in July 2002 and it thus seems likely that at least one pair of little bitterns is nesting in the Weidmoos, but because they live very reclusively in the reed-beds this is difficult to prove.

Marsh harrier

The Weidmoos is home to two breeding pairs of marsh harriers. They build their nests in the large reed-beds in the central part of the Weidmoos. Marsh harriers are migrants and they leave the area in autumn to fly to their wintering grounds in the south. There have been a couple of sightings of young birds which have hatched in the Weidmoos.

Water rail

Water rails are reclusive relatives of the more widely-known coot. For most of the year they live hidden among the reed thickets of the Weidmoos. They make themselves known mostly by their call, which can be very loud and often sounds like the squealing of a piglet. More than ten breeding pairs live in the Weidmoos.

Spotted crake

Throughout Europe spotted crakes are an endangered species. They breed primarily in flooded sedge beds. In 2002 calling spotted crakes were identified in two places in the central part of the Weidmoos.


The lapwings’ astonishing courtship flight is one of the most striking sights in the Weidmoos in spring. Lapwings breed in the wetland meadows and raise their young here. During the breeding season around 25 breeding pairs can be found in the Weidmoos. During migration in late summer there may be several hundred present.


During courtship the male snipe perform breathtaking dives, during which they produce a drumming sound like a muffled bleating. This sound has earned the snipe the nickname of Himmelsziege (“sky goat”). The sound is not produced vocally but comes from the two outermost tail feathers, which vibrate. Five or six breeding pairs of snipe nest in the Weidmoos.


The Weidmoos is home to more than 30 breeding pairs of white-spotted bluethroats, one of the largest populations in Austria. Bluethroats are among the loveliest birds found here, although for most of the year they are rarely seen as they hide in dense vegetation. They are readily noticed only when they return in May from their overwintering grounds; the males then sing as they mark out their territory and defend it from neighbours.

Grasshopper warbler

Although grasshopper warblers are very secretive birds, they are frequent and readily noticed inhabitants of the Weidmoos. Their song, which is very like the chirping of grasshoppers, forms a striking background sound in the Weidmoos.

Download > Complete list of all birds recorded in the Weidmoos.



(c) P. Buchner
Little bittern ...


(c) P. Buchner
Marsh harrier ...


(c) P. Buchner
Water rail ...


(c) A. Ausobsky
Lapwing ...


(c) P. Buchner
Snipe ...


(c) Thaler
Bluethroat ...