Prague, Czech Republic, 3rd - 7th May 2006

Published by Joe Taylor (listingkid AT

Participants: Joe Taylor


I was honoured to be invited to a friend’s brother’s Stag weekend in Prague, and having never been to this region of Europe I couldn’t resist taking my binoculars. I visited the city from Wednesday 3rd to Sunday 7th May. The weather was perfect every day; clear, sunny and hot, and in retrospect I recommend the typical tourist fare of shorts and sandals for a visit at this time of year.

This report is particularly useful for anyone who is planning a short stay in Prague and is interested in doing a spot of birding in the city, and is best read in conjunction with John Hague’s report from November 2002. I have created this report partly in reaction to the apparent shortage of birding reports on the internet that cover Prague.

There are a number of substantial green spaces in the centre of the city that contain good habitats and are within 30 minutes walk from the Old Town Square. I concentrated on the three largest parks that were closest to my hostel. This allowed a couple of early morning visits, though my optimistic attempts at further early visits after nights out failed miserably. All of the parks had plenty of paths. Beware that, predictably enough, at the weekends the parks are very busy, and dodging roller-bladers becomes a priority.

Letná Gardens covers the ridge just north of the River Vltava and north east of Prague Castle. Low scrub covers the slopes on the south side of this park. At the top of the ridge there is managed, open deciduous woodland, with some more ornamental planting towards the western end. At the northern edge there is an area of apparent wasteland and rough grass with some more scrub. I visited this park early on Thursday (06:25-08:15h) and again on Sunday afternoon (13:50-14:20h).

The area I will refer to as Kinský Gardens and Petrín Hill is about ten minutes walk west of the river. This area comprises ornamental gardens at the eastern edge and at the top of the hill, with mature deciduous woodland covering the majority of the hill’s slopes. On the north-eastern slope towards Prague Castle there is an area of low scrub. I visited this area early on Friday (06:30-8:50h), walking the winding roads up the hill through the woodland on the eastern slope and descending across the north-eastern slope.

Stromovka Park, about 20 minutes walk north of the river at Hlakùov Bridge, contains a large variety of habitats with open deciduous woodland, open grassland, small lakes and ornamental gardens. I visited this park on Saturday (10:00-11:55) despite my hangover (it was just about worth the pain), and again on Sunday (12:35-13:45), followed by my second visit to Letná Gardens, about a five minute walk to the south. It is worth noting that my afternoon visits on that busy Sunday were still productive for birdwatching.

Species Lists

Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
Common on River Vltava; also seen on the lakes in Stromovka Park and flying around Letná Gardens.

Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
One male was seen flying east along the River Vltava (4th). One male was on the Vltava by Mánesùv Bridge (5th), and a female was on the river near Legií Bridge on the same morning. One male and two females were on the lakes in Stromovka Park (6th).

Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
One male was seen over Letná Gardens (7th).

Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
One or two birds were regularly seen over the city between the River Vltava and Kinský Gardens.

Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Two were seen on the lakes in Stromovka Park (6th).

Eurasian Coot Fulica atra
One was seen on the lakes in Stromovka Park (6th).

Feral Rock Dove Columba livia

Common Woodpigeon Columba palumbus
Common in all parks visited and over urban areas.

Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
One was seen on Legií Bridge (5th).

Common Swift Apus apus
Quite common over parks and urban areas.

Green Woodpecker Picus viridis
One was seen on Petrín Hill (5th); another was heard in Stromovka Park (6th).

Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major
One was seen in Letná Gardens (4th); one was in Kinský Gardens (5th) and three were seen in Stromovka Park (6th).

Middle Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos medius
One was found giving territorial calls in Stromovka Park (6th).

Crested Lark Galerida cristata
Two were seen on wasteland near Cerný Most tube station on the way back from the go-kart track (6th).

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Charles Bridge was the best place for this species with up to four present (4th).

House Martin Delichon urbica
Fairly common over parks and urban areas with the highest count being 12 over Petrín Hill (5th).

Grey-headed Wagtail Motacilla flava thunbergi
One male was on rough ground near Letná Gardens (4th); this was definitely the most unexpected sighting of the trip.

White Wagtail Motacilla alba
Two were seen on rough ground near Letná Gardens (4th); one was seen by the Vltava near Kampa Park (5th) and one was seen near Letná Gardens again (7th).

European Robin Erithacus rubecula
Decidedly scarce, with only two seen in the woodland on Petrín Hill (5th).

Common Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos
One singing bird was seen well at Letná Gardens (4th).

Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
One male was singing in the gardens at the top of Petrín Hill (5th) and another male was singing in Stromovka Park (7th).

Common Blackbird Turdus merula
Common in all the large parks visited.

Song Thrush Turdus philomelos
Three were seen in the woodland on Petrín Hill (5th).

Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca
One or two were singing at Letná Gardens (4th).

Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
Common in all the large parks visited.

Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix
Three singing birds were in the woodland on Petrín Hill (5th).

Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
Quite common in large parks visited; three were singing in Letná Gardens (4th); six were singing around Petrín Hill (5th) and three were singing in Stromovka Park (6th).

Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca
A grey-brown variant was singing in the Royal Gardens near Prague Castle (5th).

Collared Flycatcher Ficedula albicollis
Three were singing in Stromovka Park (6th and 7th).

Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus
One was seen at Letná Gardens (4th).

Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus
Fairly common in all the large parks visited.

Great Tit Parus major
Common in all the large parks visited.

Wood Nuthatch Sitta europaea
Fairly common in all large parks visited; one was seen at Letná Gardens (4th); three were seen in Kinský Gardens (5th) and five were seen in Stromovka Park (6th).

Short-toed Treecreeper Certhia brachydactyla
One was seen in Letná Gardens (4th).

Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius
Fairly common in all large parks.

Magpie Pica pica
Quite common in all parks and around urban areas.

Jackdaw Corvus monedula
Common in all parks and around urban areas.

Rook Corvus frugilegus
Less common than Jackdaw but conspicuous over all large parks.

Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Quite scarce; one flew over Petøín Hill (5th); two were seen in Stromovka Park (6th), with four there the next day.

Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
Common in all large parks.

European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
One bird was found singing from an avenue between Kampa Park and Charles Bridge (4th).