Surprising snapshots of Vienna’s feathered and furry inhabitants.
Vienna is home to a diverse range of urban wildlife, from foxes and squirrels to hamsters and wild boar. With around 50% of the urban areas being green and 34% of green spaces being subject to protection, more than 70 species of mammals call Vienna home.
Many of Vienna’s feathered and furry residents came to Vienna in search of a new habitat, some due to disrupted land, in search for food or quiet places for breeding. They have found a home not only in the outskirts of the city but in the heart of Vienna – in gardens, cemeteries, castle grounds and urban spaces.
Vienna is a great place to observe the amazing diversity of urban wildlife and serves as a reminder that nature is all around us.
This curious red squirrel was spotted in the gardens at Schönbrunn Palace, a special place for locals and visitors to escape into nature. With more than a square kilometre of extension, the gardens are home to diverse wildlife species adapted to the millions of visitors each year.
Squirrels help spread trees and shrubs throughout the garden since the nuts, cones and seeds that stay undetected from their food supplies for winter will eventually become a new green friend for the Viennese park.
These friendly squirrels are very agile in moving around the trees and in between the green halls, and they have a life expectancy of up to 15 years.
The redstart appears on the list of endangered animals in Austria, as their population is declining at an alarming rate. In Vienna their habitat is protected throughout the city, being a designated species of priority and strictly protected.
This female redstart was spotted at a construction site in Vienna while picking up insects to feed her fledglings. This small pile of sand and stones seemed to be the perfect mixture to find a meal on a quiet Sunday in Vienna and to quickly pose for a picture before returning to its nest.
After spending the winter season in sub-Saharan Africa, the redstart flies back to Austria in spring and leaves the European country in autumn. In Vienna, the redstart enjoys living in the green belt of the outskirts of the city, mostly in the wine-growing areas or in the alluvial forest areas of the Danube river.
While walking through Schönbrunn Place gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996, one might spot a red fox exploring the park.
This red fox was spotted on Schönbrunn hill, near the famous Gloriette while searching for food early in the morning. Each one of the 23 districts in Vienna has registered red fox sightings at all times of the day, from parks and house gardens to the metro station.
Due to their omnivore nature, red foxes can live in cities or villages as here they find a variety of food, including fruits, plants, small animals, and edible food waste. The size of red foxes can range from 50 to 90 cm, plus a 30 to 60 cm tail, and they can weigh between 4 to 10 kg.
The European field hamster‘s natural habitat is becoming increasingly scarce, one of the reasons is changes in land use, infrastructure or persecution by being considered an agricultural pest.
In Vienna, this type of hamster can be found in parks, cemeteries, gardens and buildings with a higher concentration in the 10, 11, 21, and 22 districts. A comparison of the estimated population of European field hamsters in Vienna identified 3,044 in 2020 compared to the 2015 figure of 2,400, showing progress on its conservation as a strictly protected animal species.
This European field hamster was spotted along with many other hamster friends in the Meidling cemetery, a very calm place where the hamsters are active every day from spring until the first months of autumn when they return to their burrows for the winter. The hamsters move around the whole cemetery without any constraint and just need to beware of the possible predators, such as birds, foxes or martens.
This hooded crow was spotted while jumping in search for food in the hills of Schönbrunn Place gardens. The hooded crows found in the gardens are quite friendly.
The exciting element about crows in Vienna is that two types of carrion crows meet where, coming from the west and east, and mate with each other forming mixed breeding pairs.
Through the years, crows have shifted to the city areas in large parks or on the green belt of the outskirts of the city, as they tended to be hunted and persecuted. Currently in Vienna it is strictly forbidden to hunt them or damage their nests.
This mallard duckling, alongside their siblings, was spotted in a fountain of Schönbrunn Place gardens.
This day 3 ducklings were spotted following their mother while learning the best techniques to swim. After two months the ducklings learn to fly and would become more independent through time.
In Vienna it is a familiar sight to see mallards swimming and wading in a variety of waterbodies, from small pounds in parks to the Danube River.
The coal tit is a bird from the tit family, and it can be easily confused with the marsh tit species. The only difference between these two species is a white dot in their beak or their different singing.
This willow tit was spotted on a cold winter morning flying around the trees in Schönbrunn Place gardens. In Vienna, the agile small bird is a local species that can weigh from 10 to 13 g and can reach 13 cm in size.
The great spotted woodpecker is one of the 20 most common bird species in Vienna, with an estimated of 1,900 to 3,400 breeding pairs.
This great spotted woodpecker was spotted in Schönbrunn Palace gardens on a winter morning while searching for food. This bird can be easy to spot, due to its unique sound produced when tapping their beak against tree trunks. This special characteristic of the woodpeckers is done to find food, to build nesting holes, to mark their territory or attract mates.
The great spotted woodpecker lives in parks and tree-lined courtyards in all districts of Vienna. This species is hard to find in the densely built-up areas inside and outside the city belt, due to a lack of large trees for nesting opportunities and food disposal.
The long-eared owl is the most common among the ten owl species native to Austria. This species usually breeds near farmlands with fields, which can offer food and old trees for a living.
Long-eared owls do not build nests; thus, a prerequisite for a brood is also the presence of an already prepared home. In the case of Vienna, other birds such as ravens or magpies have played a role in the transition of owls into the city.
Approximately 50 breeding pairs are reported, mainly breeding on the green belt of the outskirts of the city but the number of reports of sightseeing in the city is growing. For instance, in 2022, five fledglings were found in the city centre, living in an old pine tree in the middle of Maria-Theresien-Platz.
This owl was spotted while resting on a tree in the St. Marx Cemetery, a famous spot in Vienna to see urban wildlife in broad daylight.
The rabbit colony living in Handelskai along the Danube river have existed since the 1990s.
According to history, a resident released several rabbits in this area about 30 years ago and the rabbits survived. Since that day the rabbits dig burrows in the ground and live beside the Danube and by the busy railway line, Handelskai. Currently, there is an estimation of 200 rabbits living in this area and can be easily spotted while passing on the sidewalks.
This rabbit was spotted jumping around the hills near the Danube River on a spring afternoon. The Handelskai rabbits are accustomed to people, but they can get easily frightened and are not to be domesticated.