Mattersburger Hügelland (Mattersburg Hills)

The area (SPA) nominated according to the Bird Sanctuary Directive comprises about 3,100 ha and includes the European Conservation Area “Hangwiesen Rohrbach-Schattendorf-Loipersbach incl. Rohrbacher Kogel“ described in the Council Directive 92/43/EEC.

Part of the SPA are situated within the Landscape Protection Area Forchtenstein-Rosalia (cadastral communities Forchtenstein, Neustift, Mattersburg, Marz and Sieggraben). Due to these facts and by establishing the nature park, it is surrounded by Protected Areas or separated parts are connected. The slopes of the wooded heights of the Rosalia and Ödenburger Mountains form the transition to an open, for current conditions still extremely richly structured cultural landscape. That landscape is particularly characterized by extensive open orchard meadows with numerous Sweet Chestnut trees. Between the fields divided into small lots, vineyards, dry grassland and meadows with medium and high-stemmed fruit tree cultures, numerous field shrubs and trees, hedges and rows of trees have developed. Forest edges stretching far into the surrounding landscape and small remaining islands of wood are the basis for a mosaic pattern of interlinking, yet most diverse habitats. In the valley sites near Schattendorf and Rohrbach (NPA Teichwiesen) remarkable wetland areas have been preserved.



Protected Features:kirschbluete_fiala

The ornithological significance of that area is based upon the occurrence of a number of species that are listed in the Annex and enjoy ideal living conditions in the richly structured and extensively used cultural landscape. Its main significance results from a numerous occurrence - 10-20 preserves - of the European Scops Owl (Otus scops), one of only two Austrian occurrences of that migrant bird in that size category. Primarily, it settles in old open orchard meadows and in Sweet Chestnut grooves, but also in fragmentary sites of alluvial forests in that area. Considering the bird species of Annex I of the Council Directive 92/43/EEC, relevant occurrences of the Syrian Woodpecker (Dendrocopos syriacus), the Woodlark (Lullula arborea), the Barred Warbler (Sylvia nisoria) and the Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio) can be identified. The following protection-relevant species regularly forage in that area or can be found as breeding birds in few pairs only: The White Stork (Ciconia ciconia), the Black Stork (Ciconia nigra), the Honey Buzzard (Pernis apivorus), the Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus), the Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo), the European Nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus), the European Bee-Eater (Merops apiaster), the Hoopoe (Upupa epops) and the Middle Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos medius). The Rohrbacher Pond is habitat for a rich reed and waterfowl fauna, before all most remarkable breeding sites of the Little Bittern (Ixobrychus minutus) and the Black-Crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax). That pond is also an important resting place for numerous migrating waterbirds such as the Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola).