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