15 bird species that you will encounter during your holiday on the Belgian coast

seagull in ostend

Seagulls are, of course, the birds of the sea. But are they the only ones? No, not long. Bird expert Jan Rodts lists 15 bird species of which there is a good chance that you will find them on the Belgian coast. Discover the most popular seabirds in this article.

"Daddy, I shouldn't take my bird book with me on holiday to the sea, because we only see seagulls there!"

That's what my son called out as we were packing for a week's vacation in US Apartment with sea view in Ostend.

I learned that this is not true from bird expert Jan Rodts, author of Flanders' most famous bird book “The smartest bird guide”.

In his book, Jan discusses all regular breeding bird species in Belgium and the Netherlands on the basis of beautiful photos. He arranges them according to body size and uses arrows to indicate the characteristic features of each bird.

Nice bird guide for your beach walk

This bird guide has been our fascinating companion for some time: during walks and trips with our canoe. We also packed the guide for this holiday to the sea.

And what turned out?

Indeed. On the beach, in the dunes or in the Zwin, more than just gulls fly, breed and play.

Beautiful collection of birds of the North Sea © De Visdief

According to bird expert Jan Rodts, there are no fewer than 15 species that you can regularly encounter along the Belgian coast (beach, dunes, Zwin).

And yes, my son wasn't completely wrong either. Because for the sake of convenience you can call seven of the 15 species 'gull'.

The 15 most popular bird species on the Belgian coast

Below are the bird species that, according to Jan Rodts, are easy to spot on the Belgian coast, ordered from smallest to largest:

  • Ringed Plover
  • forest monkey
  • arctic tern
  • common tern
  • black-headed gull
  • black-headed gull
  • kittiwake
  • Oystercatcher
  • common gull
  • lesser black-backed gull
  • Curlew
  • herring gull
  • great black-backed gull
  • Gray Goose
  • Cormorant

In his book you will find all the characteristics. For example, you learn to distinguish the black-headed gull from the black-headed gull, the kittiwake, the common gull, the herring gull and the lesser and greater black-backed gull.

Guaranteed birding fun on the beach!

Latest edition makes birds sing

Nice is that the last (eleventh edition!) has QR codes for every bird species. With one click on your smartphone you can now hear the birds singing. Ideal for spotting them even more easily in nature.

The smartest bird guide by Jan Rodts, published by Houtekiet.
ISBN 9789089248978

Or is it a seal?

Do you see a black spot in the sea?

Then there is a chance that it is not a bird after all. Because sometimes other animals show themselves too. Read the article Watching seals in Ostend. Yes, that's possible!

Do you spot a seal? Then leave the animal alone. Chances are it's just resting on the beach or beach head.

If you think the seal is in distress or ill, please call:

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