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Zwin Reserve (Het Zwin) - BirdForum Opus

Photo by kmassche
Barnacle Geese at Zwin Reserve



Belgium's best-known bird reserve is situated on the border with the Netherlands and consisting of saltmarshes and mudflats in the former mouth of the River Zwin.


Notable Species

Large lagoons have been created to attract breeding birds with some success. There is a collection of captive wilfowl including free-flying White Stork and Black-crowned Night Heron breeds ferally in the area. Between Zwin and the town of Het Zoute is a large area of scrub-covered dunes with scattered pools and pinewoods that attract a wide range of passerine and other migrants and hold breeding Icterine Warbler, Crested Tit and Eurasian Golden Oriole.

Kentish Plover, Black-tailed Godwit and Mediterranean Gull occur in summer and Little Egret began breeding in the late 1990s. Small numbers of feral Barnacle Goose also breed. Eurasian Spoonbill, Purple Heron and a wide range of waders occurs on passage and the area is very important for waterfowl including Smew and geese in winter. Raptors hunt over the reserve in winter and Horned Lark, Twite, Lapland Bunting and Snow Bunting can be seen on the saltmarshes.


Birds you can see here include:

Great Cormorant, Black-crowned Night Heron, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, White Stork, Eurasian Spoonbill, Tundra Bean Goose, Pink-footed Goose, White-fronted Goose, Barnacle Goose, Common Shelduck, Mallard, Long-tailed Duck, Smew, Red-breasted Merganser, Goosander, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Northern Goshawk, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Common Kestrel, Merlin, Eurasian Oystercatcher, Pied Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Kentish Plover, Eurasian Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Northern Lapwing, Red Knot, Sanderling, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Jack Snipe, Common Snipe, Eurasian Woodcock, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Common Tern, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Tern, Arctic Tern, Roseate Tern, Long-eared Owl, Short-eared Owl, Eurasian Skylark, Horned Lark, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail, White Wagtail, Common Nightingale, Whinchat, European Stonechat, Common Redstart, Northern Wheatear, Ring Ouzel, Eurasian Blackbird, Icterine Warbler, Barred Warbler, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Crested Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Eurasian Golden Oriole, Common Magpie, Carrion Crow, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, European Serin, European Greenfinch, European Goldfinch, Eurasian Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, Twite, Common Rosefinch, Lapland Bunting, Snow Bunting

Other Wildlife

To do

Site Information

History and Use

To do

Access and Facilities

To reach the reserve take Route 67 north from Brugge and turn to Knokke-Heist and it is then signposted east on a minor road. The Zwin Dunes can be reached from the western end of the reserve parking area.

Contact Details

To do

External Links

Content and images originally posted by Steve