Breeding birds

in the "WiesenKönigReich"

WiesenKönigReich Wetlands of the Zeller See

Breeding Birds

The wetlands at the southern end of Lake Zell are a paradise for birds. The sanctuary is important breeding ground and resting place for migratory birds as well.

The reeds and shallow water lagoons provide shelter and food, especially for ground breeding birds and birds of the reed, as well as aquatic birds. So the Eider has been proven breeding here, where else she does that normally on the Baltic Sea and in Iceland. Stonechat and Red-Backed Shrike are common in bushes and hedges. One can see a variety of small birds in the region.

Ground breeding Birds

Vast Wetlands and extensive used meadows have become rare in our country. So the well adapted species of birds find less space to live. Here in the meadows of the Brucker and Zeller Moor ground breeding birds still find place, such as the Corncrake, Common Snipe, Whinchat and Lapwing. The nationally rare Meadow pipit still occupies three breeding territories. But life is not easy for them nowadays.

Disturbing Visitors

Birds are displaced more and more due to habitat loss and the constant disturbance. Recreational activities, dog walkers, they often roam into the sensitive breeding grounds. But even few visitors during breeding time scare the birds away. The number of nests decreases with more people visiting the area too closely.

Especially in the sensitive time between April and May disturbance is critical. Birds begin to mate and build nests, but soon stop breeding and abandon their eggs or offspring.

Population in Danger

The stocks of ground breeding birds are nationally shrunk considerably. In the long run these birds can only survive here, if litter meadows and moist meager meadows are mowed later in the year. Drainage should be stopped, filling the wetlands with water again.

It remains to be seen how the stocks will develop in the coming years. The optimized visitor information plays an important role, as well as a sensitive agriculture, and population trends of the birds in general.

Read more about it in the study  "Meadow Bird Survey" by Haus der Natur, Museum of Natural History in Salzburg on behalf of the Federal State of Salzburg.


"Meadow Bird Survey" by Haus der Natur (pdf for download, in German only)

Birdwatching list (pdf-download, in German only)

WiesenKönigReich Wetlands of the Zeller See

Breeding Birds

Other bird species

Many other bird species brood within the nature sanctuary. Some of the more important species include:
common reed bunting, tree pipit, Eurasian reed warbler, marsh warbler, common whitethroat, white-spotted bluethroat.


The whinchat has suffered dramatic losses in population since the 1960s. Once a frequent and characteristic bird of the valley bottom between Zell am See and Krimml, it has since be severely decimated.



The corncrake is a shy and rare migratory bird. In May, it comes from its overwintering areas of Sout-Eastern Africa to Austria and nests amid wet meadows.

Common Snipe

The Common Snipe is one of Salzburg's rarest breeding birds. One breeding pair was observed regularly inseide Zeller SEe nature sanctuary until the year 2000.  


The brooding season for the 18-19 cm-large skylark is from mid-April until August. It, too, lays its nest directly on the ground. Its food is provided by insects and seeds.