where to watch birds in switzerland

If you are interested in birds and want to know where to watch birds in Geneva, Switzerland, here is the list of my 10 favorite birding hotspots in the Canton of Geneva. Whether you are an avid birder or ornithologist visiting Geneva, or simply curious about nature and birds around Geneva, this list will give you great tips about where to go. Hope you enjoy!

It is fantastic to go birding by the shores of Lake Geneva any time of the year! The area is famous for welcoming thousands of wintering ducks, including the rare Ferruginous Duck, but I enjoy it every time I go.

My advice is to go early, arriving for sunrise or even before. From Genève Plage to Jardin Botanique on the other bank, crossing the Rhône on Pont des Bergues, the entire zone is fantastic. I highly recommend it.

Ok this is my favorite place to go birding in Geneva area, along with the lake. I absolutely LOVE it. Marais de Sionnet is very well-known among ornithologists. It is very enjoyable during both migrations, but also during the breeding season. All year long there is a chance to see for example the Common Kestrel, Little Owl, Grey Heron.. and then, depending on the season, sightings include the Bluethroat, Spotted Crake, Garganeys, Common Teal, Great White Egret, Common Stonechat, Western Marsh-harrier, Common Reed-warbler, Northern Lapwing, Peregrine Falcon and many more!

I recommend going on a weekday as it can get pretty busy with walkers, joggers, even horses during the weekend.

Find out what are the latest sightings at Marais de Sionnet on ebird.

Really great nature reserve on the shore of Lake Geneva. Birding there will give you fantastic sightings of ducks, gulls and more. The observation point from the top of the tower is really nice, except for taking pictures at eye level.

The entire stretch between Jonction in Geneva and the dam of Verbois can potentially bring great sightings, especially for Black Kites and Common Terns.

2 beautiful reserves on each side of the Rhône. Both have several hides and viewing points. If you stay long enough at Teppes de Verbois, chances to spot the Common Kingfisher are really high. It is also a great place for the Common Snipe.

Eurasian Skylark, Little Owl, Common Cuckoo, Barn Owl, European Turtle-dove, Cirl Bunting. Here are just a few of the many species breeding in the area called “Champagne Genevoise”. It is very enjoyable to explore the area by bike or by car. Walking is the best of course but you have to know where to go because it is a pretty large area.

Not far the Champagne is the Vallon de la Laire, another stunning area where many birds species can be seen in a few hours.

Walking around the harbor at Port Choiseul and along the lake in Versoix will give you great birding opportunities. Winter is really great there, with hundreds, if not thousands of ducks. Several beautiful species spend winter in the area, such as Tufted Ducks, Common Pochards, or Red-crested Pochards. I also love the atmosphere of the area in spring and summer, when Barn Swallows, Black Kites, and Great-crested Grebes chicks are all around.

From Vessy to Veyrier, the path along the arve is stunning and many great species can be seen depending on the time of the year. Common Kingfisher, Black-headed Gull, Mandarin Duck, Mallard, Grey Heron, Great Cormorant, Eurasian Wigeon… even Middle-spotted Woodpecker and White-throated Dipper!

Walking around the ponds in Veyrier have given me many many great birding moments. The best was probably seeing the Eurasian Bittern twice, but I find some interesting species almost every single time. Great White Egret, White-throated Dipper, Long-tailed Tit, Eurasian Siskin, Common Pheasant, Common Kingfisher..

Despite its small size, Switzerland is a very diverse country with much more to offer than its well-known cheeses, cuckoo clocks, and fine Swiss chocolate. The three most significant Swiss cities are Berne, Zurich, and Geneva. Berne is the nation’s capital; Zurich is the biggest and most economically significant city; and Geneva is significant on a global scale as the primary UNO seat in Europe, for instance.

The Swiss Alps are particularly interesting from an ornithological perspective because nearly all European mountain species are represented there. Furthermore, they create a strong barrier for migratory birds, directing them along specific paths. Numerous mountain passes provide excellent viewpoints for watching migratory birds. Unfortunately, drainage out and surrounding agricultural use have caused large portions of the once-widely distributed moor land areas to disappear. Many breeding birds have as a result almost completely vanished. However, the migration of species continues to be the primary reason why the Swiss wetlands are still fascinating.

The Swiss Alps are also very interesting from an ornithological perspective, as practically all of the European mountain species are represented there. Furthermore, they pose a significant threat to Zugvögel, as these are forced along specific routes. So sind viele Pässe ausgezeichnete Beobachtungspunkte für durchziehende Vögel. Unfortunately, extensive portions of the once-wide Swiss sumpfgebiets have been destroyed by drying up and intensive land-use agriculture. Dadurch sind viele Brutvögel fast ausgestorben. For this reason, the Swiss Sumpfgebiete are primarily still interesting as bird roosting areas.

Despite its small size, Switzerland is a very diverse country. She offers much more than just the well-known Käse and excellent Swiss chocolate. Die wichtigsten Städte der Schweiz sind Bern, Zürich und Genf. Bern is a major city; Zürich is the largest and most economically significant city in Switzerland; and Geneva is significant due to its international significance, serving as the headquarters of the United Nations, among other things.

Really great nature reserve on the shore of Lake Geneva. There is fantastic birding that will allow you to see gulls, ducks, and more. The tower’s observation point is a great place to be, but it’s not ideal for taking eye-level photos.

Any time of year is a great time to go birding along the shores of Lake Geneva! The area is well known for welcoming thousands of wintering ducks, including the endangered Ferruginous Duck, but I always have a great time birdwatching there!

Cirl Bunting, European Turtle-dove, Common Cuckoo, Barn Owl, Eurasian Skylark, and Little Owl These are just a handful of the numerous species that call the “Champagne Genevoise” region home. Riding a bike or driving a car around the area is a lot of fun. Of course, walking is the best, but since it’s a fairly big area, you have to know where to go.

Depending on the season, the path along the Arve from Vessy to Veyrier is breathtaking and home to numerous magnificent species. Black-headed Gull, Mandarin Duck, Mallard, Grey Heron, Great Cormorant, Eurasian Wigeon, and Common Kingfisher even Middle-spotted Woodpecker and White-throated Dipper!.

Okay, this and the lake are my favorite spots to go birdwatching in the Geneva region. I absolutely LOVE it. Marais de Sionnet is very well-known among ornithologists. It’s a lot of fun not only during the breeding season but also during both migrations. There’s always a chance to spot species like the Grey Heron, Little Owl, and Common Kestrel. Afterwards, sightings of the Great White Egret, Common Stonechat, Bluethroat, Spotted Crake, Garganeys, Common Teal, Western Marsh-harrier, Common Reed-warbler, Northern Lapwing, Peregrine Falcon, and many more species depend on the season!

FAQ

Where can I see owls in Switzerland?

The Tawny Owl is widespread in Switzerland, with gaps in distribution occurring at high altitudes, especially in the Valais Alps and Engadine GR. The species inhabits woodlands of all kinds, mainly below 1500 m, but can also be found in wooded areas in towns and villages.

What birds of prey are in Swiss Alps?

The variety of raptors that can bee seen regularly in Switzerland is not very large. The most common are the Common Buzzard (Mäusebussard) and the Red Kite (Rotmilan), closely followed by the Black Kite (Schwarzmilan). In a good spot you may be able to find a Harrier, too (Weihe).

Are there herons in Switzerland?

In Switzerland, the Grey Heron is found mainly on the Central Plateau and in the Jura at altitudes below 600 m, where it breeds close to water and sometimes near settlements. It is also regularly seen foraging on farmland.

Are there pelicans in Switzerland?

While in the past White Pelicans used to now and again arrive in Switzerland from Southeast Europe, they are nowadays most likely birds that have escaped from captivity.