Situated on the Hungarian Great Plain east of the River Tisza, Hortobágy is the largest puszta landscape in Hungary; an open plain dominated by saline grasslands and extensive arable lands. Depressions contain saline marshlands, with seasonal wetlands appearing in spring and autumn. Fish-ponds cover about 5,000 ha. Human activities include arable farming, cattle- and sheep-grazing, goose-farming, haymaking, angling, birdwatching, hunting and reed-harvesting (`Other' land-use, below). This area includes four sites that were treated as separate IBAs in the previous international IBA inventory (Grimmett and Jones 1989): `Hortobágy' (former site HU016), `Pusztakócsi mocsarak' (former site HU018), `ágota-puszta' (former site HU020) and `Nagyszék' (former site HU043).
The most important site in Hungary for steppic birds and waterbirds.
Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Undergrazing and increasing disturbance are the main threats, whilst wildfowl are threatened by both hunting and reed-burning. Management plans exist, and artificial flooding is carried out for Anser erythropus and Numenius tenuirostris. Grasslands and arable fields are managed for Acrocephalus paludicola and Otis tarda. Artificial nest- sites are provided, and wildfowl shooting is banned within the protected areas.
National Partial International Partial62,358 ha of IBA covered by National Park (Hortobágy, 68,506 ha). 16,109 ha of IBA covered by Ramsar Site (Hortobágy, 19,473 ha). 52,000 ha of IBA covered by Biosphere Reserve (Hortobágy National Park, 52,000 ha).
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Hortobágy and Tisza-to. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 02/02/2023.