Dutch birding highlights

Dutch birding highlights

Like all trips on our website, this is just an example of a multiple day tour. If this is not exactly what you are looking for, please send us an email, let us know what you want and we will make you a personalized offer!

Day 1
Pick-up at the airport and transfer to your hotel in the central part of the Netherlands. Depending on your arrival time, we can go birding in a grassland area close to the hotel. Possible birds include Eurasian Spoonbill, White stork, Little Owl, Kingfisher and Purple Heron.
Overnight in a hotel in Zuid-Holland.
Day 2
An early start takes us to the province of Zeeland in the south-western corner of the country. Today’s focus will be on waders and waterbirds, with possible highlights like Eurasian Golden Plover, Wood Sandpiper, Spotted Redshank, Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwit, Common Ringed Plover and Little Plover, Dunlin and Pied Avocet.
The province of Zeeland was severely hit by the 1953 disaster floods and has undergone serious changes since then. The Delta Project, a series of projects that have created several dams and dikes, not only made this part of the country safe from floods, it also created several new habitats for animals.
Before the Delta Project was put into effect, most water was salt water with a direct connection to the North Sea. Today salt water only remains at the coast itself and partly in the only connection Antwerp has to the Sea, the Westerschelde. Most other parts are either fresh water or brackish water and birds have found their way in this diverse eco system.
The birds that are present vary enormously with the seasons. Zeeland is the warmest part of the country in winter and because of this geese abound on the grassland: Greater and Lesser White-fronted Goose,  Black Brant, White-bellied Brant, Barnacle, Brent, and Greylag Goose and the very rare Red-breasted Goose.
Since most of the water doesn’t freeze over, ducks like Long-tailed Duck, Pintail, Shoveler, Mallard, Goldeneye, Black Scoter, Surf Scoter, Eurasian Teal and Scaup are often present in the relative warm water here.
Other waterbirds to look out for in winter are up to five species of grebes, three species of loons and six species of gulls.
In spring and summer some of these species will have left, but usually we are able to find a lot of these winter birds that stay during the summer, supplemented with new breeding birds and some migrants.
Birds to look for in summer include Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Garden Warbler, Icterine Warbler, Great and Blue Tit, Gargeney, Little Tern, Turtle Dove, Yellow Wagtail and Blackcap.
At the end of the day we drive back to our hotel.
Overnight in a hotel in Zuid-Holland.
Day 3
Our focus for today will be woodland birds. Depending on the time of year we may visit a wetland first, looking for Common Tern, Marsh Harrier, Greater Whitethroat, European Goldfinch and Marsh Warbler.
Alternatively we may drive to the surrounding areas of one of the largest National Parks of the country, Hoge Veluwe. This park was established during the first decades of the 20th century by a wealthy business man who bought the area as a hunting reserve. In the 1930’s the area was bought by the Dutch government and opened to the public.
Target birds for today are the world’s second largest woodpecker: Black Woodpecker and smaller birds like Coal Tit, Goldcrest, Eurasian Nuthatch, Short-toed Treecreeper, Hawfinch, Bullfinch, Pied Flycatcher and Wood Warbler. In summer it may be possible to have an evening excursion for Nightjar in this area.
Depending on the time of year we may also visit a roost for Tawny Owl on our way to the hotel.
Overnight in a hotel in Gelderland.
Day 4
A visit to the southernmost province of the Netherlands, Limburg, will bring us some birds that are only possible here. We will focus on forest birds, with Wryneck, Nightjar, Middle Spotted Woodpecker and Firecrest as some of today’s target birds.
Limburg is somewhat different in geography from the rest of the country. It is the only place where there are hills, which have some birds that are not present in other parts of the country. The target bird for today (and for many for the entire trip) is Eurasian Eagle Owl! The world’s second largest owl has a roost in the extreme south of the country. Although it is difficult to see anywhere in the world, we may be fortunate enough to see up to 5 individuals of this species, even in broad daylight.
Other key species for today are Fieldfare, Red-backed Shrike, Common Crane, Treecreeper and Short-toed Treecreeper, Yellowhammer, European Serin and in some years Melodious Warbler.
Overnight in a hotel in Gelderland.
Day 5
This morning we head for one of the best birding sites of the country, the Oostvaardersplassen.
The Oostvaardersplassen were meant to be an industrial area when the Flevopolder was turned into land in 1968. Fortunately the remarkable status of the area was quickly noticed and the plans for the industrial area were abolished and the area was made into a nature reserve. Birds that were scarce in north-western Europe in the 1970’s, such as Bearded Tit and Great Egret quickly found their way to the Oostvaardersplassen and are now relatively easy to see.
We will visit several areas within the reserve and will focus on birds like Pintail, Shoveler, Barnacle Goose, Pied Avocet, Northern Goshawk, Marsh Harrier, Eurasian Spoonbill, Smew, Snow Bunting, Kingfisher, Brambling, Rough-legged Buzzard, Bluethroat and of course possibly the best-known rare bird species in the Netherlands, White-tailed Eagle. The eagles have since long been coming to this area in winter to hunt the geese and ducks, but in recent years they have also become a breeding species. Nesting poles were erected to attract Ospreys to breed, but the White-tailed Eagles have – rather unexpectedly – taken possession of the nesting sites and have been breeding successfully for several years now.
Overnight in a hotel in Zuid-Holland.
Day 6
Depending on your departure time we will have the opportunity to go birding close the hotel, visiting sites where birds like Little Owl, Purple Heron, Mediterranean Gull, Icterine Warbler, Tree Sparrow, Kingfisher and White Stork are regular birds.
If you have a flight leaving from Amsterdam we will drop you off at the airport. If you have an extended stay in the country, we can also take you to your hotel.
Please note: the itinerary is to be used as a guideline. Depending on the weather and the whereabouts of the birds, we may rearrange the route or go to different areas.

Day 1: The province of Zuid Holland
Day 2: The province of Zeeland
Day 3: The central provinces
Day 4: The province of Limburg
Day 5: The Oostvaardersplassen
Day 6: The province of Zuid Holland

Just some of the species we hope to see (depending on the time of year):

  • Little Owl
  • Tawny Owl
  • Long-eared Owl
  • Short-eared Owl
  • Eagle Owl
  • Purple Heron
  • Little Bittern
  • Great Bittern
  • Mediterranean Gull
  • Caspian Gull
  • Greater Black-backed Gull
  • Little Tern
  • Arctic Tern
  • Common Tern
  • Spoonbill
  • Northern Goshawk
  • Marsh Harrier
  • Montagu’s Harrier
  • Rough-legged Buzzard
  • White-tailed Eagle
  • Smew
  • Lesser White-fronted Goose
  • Red-breasted Goose
  • Black Woodpecker
  • Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
  • Green Woodpecker
  • Bearded Tit
  • Savi’s Warbler
  • Grasshopper Warbler
  • Marsh Warbler
  • Reed Warbler
  • Crested Tit
  • Pied Flycatcher
  • Eurasian Kingfisher
  • Water Rail
  • Bluethroat
  • Golden Oriole
  • Snow Bunting
  • Twite
  • Purple Sandpiper
  • Green Sandpiper
  • Common Sandpiper
  • Red Knot
  • Little Ringed Plover
  • Common Ringed Plover
  • Curlew
  • Whimbrel

Total number of bird species to be expected: 110 (in winter) to 150 (in spring and early summer)


  • 1 person: Euro 1795 per person
  • 2 persons: Euro 1395 per person
  • 4 persons: Euro 1195 per person
  • 6 persons: Euro 1095 per person

Book this tour


  • 6 days of birding
  • 5 nights hotel in a double room
  • breakfast
  • lunch
  • transportation
  • coffee, tea or water on the road
  • fruits
  • snacks
  • all road tolls
  • all entry fees
  • VAT
  • digital checklist at the end of the tour


Not included

  • diner
  • other drinks
  • personal expenses
  • travel insurance


Where to go birding

Birding Holland

Birding Holland

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