Birds of the Zwin

Many thousands of birds land each year at the Zwin to brood, to spend the winter or to look for food.

There is a constant coming and going of birds in the Zwin Nature Park; in spring many return from their wintering area in the deep south to land at their brooding areas in the north; in autumn they set out on their journey in the opposite direction.

Numerous species of birds follow coastlines and use estuaries and other nature areas to rest for a while or to find food. You can compare it with aircraft that must make as stop during a long-haul flight to refuel at an airport. For very many migratory birds that follow the coastline, the Zwin is an important layover point on their long journey. The Zwin area is an airport, but one reserved exclusively for birds, the 'International Airport for Birds'!

Species which can almost always be observed in the area are the cormorant, white stork, curlew, oystercatcher, redshank, greylag goose, little egret, black-headed gull and common kestrel.
Birds which can often be observed but are absent during a certain period of the year are the skylark, avocet and shelduck.

A male shelduck (rear left) goes out with a female

White-fronted geese in full flight. The belly bars and the white at the base of the bill are characteristic of adult birds

A white stork in flight shows its long and wide gliding wings

Avocets stand out for their fine, upturned black bill and long bluish legs

Spoonbills during morning toilet

A black-tailed godwit

A common tern with its freshly caught prey

Oystercatchers fish deep into the mud for shellfish that they then open with their powerful bill

Cormorants have a long bill with a hooked point