This is a article written by Visit Rømø & Tønder.

How to experience the Black Sun

Especially in autumn crowds of starlings are gathering for their flight to the South and in spring they will be back again. They are flying closed together, lined up in dancing formations to confuse their enemies, the birds of prey. This phenomenon has got the name "black sun".
Reading time: 3 Minutes

What is Black Sun.

Large crowds of starlings, up to 1.5 million birds, are gathering for the night. This phenomenon is called "black sun". The birds are protecting them selves against the attack by birds of prey. They are not able to identify a single individuum from such a large group.

BLACK SUN also exists in november and december, but not to the same extent as in season.

Black Sun happens at sunrise, when the birds are leaving their roosts and at sunset, when the birds are finding their roosts for the night. Very often you will experience Black Sun in the evening before sunset. Then it is possible to observe flocks of starlings on the way to their roots in the reeds for the night, Sometimes there are up to several hundreds of thousands of birds

The behavior of the birds is different from the one day to the next one. The show depends on the weather and the number of hunting birds of prey. Attacks from birds of prey provoke the starling groups to go up and down to confuse their enemies.

"Black Sun in the Marshlands" picture

"Black Sun" in Tønder Marshlands closed to Tønder. The picture shows many thousands of starlings.
A large flock of birds can collect up to 1.5 mio starlings.

How to see black sun

Off course you always can be lucky to observe Black Sun in the Wadensea Area. Starlings prefer open landscape and possibility to settle in the reeds.

We can help you to find the "Black Sun" Here we will give you some ideas where to see starlings

  • Aventoft, at the Møllehus border (be careful if you want to cross the border)
  • South of Højer floodgates
  • West of Skærbæk
  • Closed to the German/Danish border around Rudbøl
  • Ballum
Black sun The images may be used in connection with mention of the Tøndermarsken and / or the Tøndermarsk Initiative. Credit: Ulrik Pedersen, Tøndermarsk Initiative.

Goods tips for your experience

Plan your trip

You can experience Black Sol from September to October/November and again from March to mid-April. During these periods, there is the greatest probability in the hours before and after sunrise and sunset

You need

for more comfortable experience

  • Your camera , but make sure the flash is turned off, as it can scare the birds
  • Chair You can expect some waiting time. Choice a transportable chair, maybe you need to carry it.
  • Remember clothing for all kind of weather.
  • Binoculars You will see much more details

Choose a guided tour

If you choose to participate in a trip with guide it will not be necessary, you avoid being stuck in a queue and then having to find an available parking space. Because the traffic is very dense as long as Black Sol is there. In addition, you also save hours looking for the many starlings if they have found a new place. The guides know the alternative places.

The starling in Denmark

The starlings come from all the countries around the Baltic Sea and Norway. Just before the starlings go down into the reed forests for the night, the large flocks draw fascinating patterns in the sky - this is called black sun and can e.g. experienced in the marsh at Højer. Black sun ends each evening with the starlings settling down in the roof pipes, usually up to an hour before sunset. The accommodation areas are constantly being moved to cheat the birds of prey, and because the roof pipes break after a few days of use, so that the starling literally gets to sit with its feet in water.


Black sun in Tøndermarsken can sometimes accommodate up to a million birds. However, when the overnight herd becomes larger than 500,000 birds, the herd usually splits up as there is too much unrest. The dance of the starlings is determined by the number of birds of prey and the weather. The optimal conditions are a relatively quiet and dry evening, as well as a suitable number of birds of prey, which help to create the beautiful formations in the sky. On a stormy and rainy evening without birds of prey, the starlings dive down quite quickly and go to rest for the night in the reed forest. In spring and autumn, starling flocks of many thousands are seen

Find more
reading material here

en_GBEnglish (UK)