The Whinchat has been voted Bird of the Year 2023. The rare meadow breeder prevailed in the public vote with more than 58,000 votes against tree sparrows, red-backed shrikes, pied flycatchers and moorhens, as the German Nature Conservation Union (Nabu) announced on Thursday. The Whinchat succeeds the Hoopoe as Bird of the Year 2022.
The whinchat is a critically endangered songbird. "The Whinchat needs unmown meadows and flower strips," explained Nabu's national manager Leif Miller. However, due to intensive agriculture, these are becoming increasingly rare. That is why the Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra) is on the Red List of Threatened Species.
In Germany there are still 19,500 to 35,000 breeding pairs, most commonly in the east and north-east. The little songbird spends the winter more than 5,000 kilometers from Germany south of the Sahara. In April he will be back.
The "Bird of the Year" was first chosen in Germany in 1971. Since 2021, he has been determined by public election. Almost 135,000 people took part in the vote this year.