and reptiles


Lech Krzysztofiak,
Wojciech Misiukiewicz








A young individual of the marsh
harrier (Cirrus aeruginosus)

In Poland birds Aves are most numerous phylum of vertebrates, amounting to 420 species. About 230 species regularly nests in this country, though some of them have only a couple of pairs. Most bird species, as many as 395 ones, are strictly protected, and 5 of them partially protected (in accordance with the decree of the Minister of Environment as of September 26th, 2001). The partially protected species is the cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo, which is not protected, however, in the area of so-called breeding districts is not protected.


All the bird species outside the species protection are partially (seasonally) protected in accordance with the game-law. The appropriate decrees set out regulatory rules for the management of the species and introduce corresponding close times. 


The history of legal species protection in Poland dates back to the late 19th century, specifically to 1868. It was when the Galicia Parliament passed a law protecting singing and insectivorous birds.

The hoopoe
(Upupa epops)

The law banned bird catching, shooting, selling and stealing eggs from bird nests, and concerned selected bird species. The original reading of the law was altered for many times, and the final form the law obtained in 1874 under the name: "The Law on protection of animals to be useful for land cultivation" and was signed by Austria emperor Franz Joseph. The characteristic thing was the law introduced a division into harmlful and harmless bird species, with the latter including these: the black kite Milvus migrans, the white-tailed EagleHaliaeetus albicilla, the northern goshawk Accipiter gentilis, the Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus, the golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos, the peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus, the Eurasian hobby Falco subbuteo, the merlin Falco columbarius, the Bengal eagle owl Bubo bubo, the marsh harrier Cirrus aeruginosus. All of the aforementioned species are also strictly protect at present.


Up until now in the territory of the WNP 205 bird species have been observed, which is about 49% of the Polish fauna, 186 of which are strictly protected, a 5 of them – partially protected. Al in all it is almost 48% of all protected bird species in the territory of this country.


The great reed warbler
(Acrocephalus arundinaceus)

These are the protected bird species in the Park: one species of the order Diver (genus: diver), four species of the order Grebe (genus: grebe, little grebe), one species of the order Totipalmate (cormorant), four species of Sandpiper (heron, bittern, stork), 16 species of Lamellirostral (swan, garganey, wigeon, pintail, gadwall, shoveler, ferruginous duck, scaup, red-crested pochard, common goldeneye, common merganser, red-breasted merganser, smew), 18 predatory species (eagle, spotted eagle, white-tailed eagle, buzzard, bee eater, kite, hawk, sparrow hawk, harrier, falcon, northern hobby, common kestrel, merlin, osprey), three species of Galliformes (capercaillie, black grouse, common quail), six species of Gruiformes (crane, moorhen, crake, corn crake, water rail), 22 species of Charadriidae (lapwing, plover, dotterel, curlew, black-tailed godwit, sandpiper, ruff, common snipe, great snipe, mew, tern), three species of Columbidae (stock pigeon, collared turtle dove, turtle dove), one species of the order Cuculinae (cuckoo), six species of the order Strigiformes (barn owl, tawny owl, Tengmalm’s owl, little owl, eagle owl, long-eared owl), one species of Caprimulgidae (nightjar), one species of Apodidae (swift), three species of Coraciidae (kingfisher, roller, hoopoe), nine species of Picidae (wry-neck ,wood-pecker, lesser wood-pecker), 91 species of Passerinae (lark, crested lark, wood lark, shore lark, wagtail, pipit, swallow, shrike, wax-wing, wren, accentor, thrush, red-wing, blackbird, nightingale, blue-throat, robin, common redstart, black redstart, northern wheatear, whinchat, warbler, chiffchaff, willow warbler, warbler, Savi’s warbler, grasshopper warbler, river warbler, icterine warbler, great reed warbler, reed warbler, marsh warbler, sedge warbler, fly-catcher, titmouse, long-tailed tit, penduline tit, goldcrest, firecrest, nut-hatch, treecreeper, bunting, reed bunting, corn bunting, ortolan bunting, redpoll, linnet, twite, chaffinch, greenfinch, northern bullfinch, European serin, hawfinch, rosefinch, crossbill, sparrow, common starling, golden oriole, common raven, crow, rook, jackdaw, magpie, jay, nutcracker).


The black stork
(Ciconia nigra)

Some bird species are very rare or their presence in the territory of this country is endangered to a high extent. All such species were enlisted in the Red List of Dying Out and Endangered Animals in Poland and in the Polish Red Book of Animals. In the Red List there are 32 bird species present in the WNP, including 2 died-out ones or probably died-out in Poland – the redthroated loon Gavia arctica, and the golden ploverPluvialis apricaria, seven dying-out species: red-breasted merganser Mergus serrator, golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos, osprey Pandion haliaetus, peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus, capercaillie Tetrao urogallus, wood sandpiper Tringa glareola and European roller Coracias garrulus, nine endangered species: bittern Botaurus stellaris, northern pintail Anas acuta, marsh hawk Circus cyaneus and Montagu’s harrier Circus pygargus, spotted crake Porzana porzana, little crake Porzana parva, ruff Philomachus pugnax, western curlew Numenius arquata and save little terns Sterna albifrons,

The wigeon
(Anas penelope)

11 rare species: black stork Ciconia nigra, wigeon Anas penelope, red-crested pochard Netta rufina, white-tailed eagle Haliaeetus albicilla, lesser spotted eagle Aquila pomarina, herring gull Larus argentatus, white-winged black tern Chlidonias leucopterus, Bengal eagle owl Bubo bubo, boreal owl Aegolius funereus, three-toed woodpecker Picoides tridactylus and bearded tit Panurus biarmicus, and three saved species: great cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo, common goldeneye Bucephala clangula and red kite Milvus milvus. Most of those species are also included in the Polish Red Book of Animals.