Nature conservation: Victory for the "meadow clown": The Whinchat is "Bird of the Year" 2023

The Whinchat has been voted Bird of the Year 2023.

Nature conservation: Victory for the "meadow clown": The Whinchat is "Bird of the Year" 2023

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.

The Whinchat, which can grow up to 14 centimeters in length, gets its name from its brown-orange chest and throat. It is also called the "meadow clown" because of its white eye stripe. Its typical habitat is wet meadows, fallow land and field edges. Individual bushes, tall perennials or fence posts, which are used as a singing and hide station, are important.

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.

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