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Republic of Belarus

Great Grey Owl Strix nebulas ©Gabor Orban Website

Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered by Russia to the north and east, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the north. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno (Hrodna), Gomel (Homiel), Mahilyow (Mahiloŭ) and Vitebsk (Viciebsk). Forty percent of the country is forested, and its strongest economic sectors are agriculture and manufacturing.

Belarus is landlocked, relatively flat, and contains large tracts of marshy land. According to a 2005 estimate by the United Nations, 40% of Belarus is covered by forests. Many streams and 11,000 lakes are found in Belarus. Three major rivers run through the country: the Neman, the Pripyat, and the Dnepr. The Neman flows westward towards the Baltic sea and the Pripyat flows eastward to the Dnepr; the Dnepr flows southward towards the Black Sea. Belarus's highest point is Dzyarzhynskaya Hara (Dzyarzhynsk Hill) at 345 metres (1,130 ft), and its lowest point is on the Neman River at 90 metres (300 ft).[67] The average elevation of Belarus is 525 feet (160 m) above sea level. The climate ranges from harsh winters, with average January temperatures at −6 °C (21.2 °F), to cool and moist summers with an average temperature of 18 °C (64 °F). Belarus has an average annual rainfall of 550 to 700 millimeters (21.7 to 27.5 inches). The country experiences a yearly transition from a continental climate to a maritime climate.

Belarus's natural resources include peat deposits, small quantities of oil and natural gas, granite, dolomite (limestone), marl, chalk, sand, gravel, and clay. About 70% of the radiation from neighboring Ukraine's 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster entered Belarusian territory, and as of 2005 about a fifth of Belarusian land (principally farmland and forests in the southeastern provinces) continues to be affected by radiation fallout. The United Nations and other agencies have aimed to reduce the level of radiation in affected areas, especially through the use of caesium binders and rapeseed cultivation, which are meant to decrease soil levels of caesium-137.

Top Sites

Servech Mire

Information

Satellite View

It has recently been reported that the largest colony of aquatic warblers in the world is in Zvanec Mire IBA Other species: Spotted Eagle - 1-2 pairs, Spotted Crake 1000-4000, Corncrake, Eagle Owl, Savi's Warbler (1500-3000 pairs), Grasshopper Warbler (100-200 pairs).

Contributor

Alexandre Vintchevski

[Updates provided by…]

Minsk

A.Vintchevski@tut.by

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 315

National Bird: White Stork Ciconia ciconia

Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Birding Pal

Information

Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…

Branta Tours

Tour Operator

…Northern Belarus is characterised by the largest tracts of raised pine bogs in Europe. This extensive tundra-like ecosystem is the favourite habitat for many waders. Whimbrel, Curlew, Golden Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Redshank, Snipe and Ruff are some of the species to be seen there, and we may just turn Willow Grouse, Jack and Great Snipe…

Ecotours

Tour Operator

Belarus will most probably become one of the prime birding destinations in Europe. This country that is the Eastern neighbour of Poland is second to none. The variety of birds that includes several highlight species very rarely seen in other parts of Europe is only one aspect. Imagine roads taking you through ancient forests, hundreds of meandering rivers, the biggest marshes and fens of the continent, while you hardly meet any traffic or even people…

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2008 [05 May] - Rob Skinner

Report

…Beautiful landscape & birds galore. An early lunch was taken whilst birding. Wryneck, Kingfisher, Common & Terek Sandpipers were the earliest birds followed closely by Gadwall, Garganey & Goldeneye…

2009 [05 May] - Pavel Simeonov

Report

Réserve de Krasny Bor au Nord du pays, Réserve de Biosphère de Berezinski située au centre, Réserve de Sporovo à l’extrême SW, région du Parc National de Pripyatski située au Sud du pays….

2011 [05 May] - Paul Marshall

Report PDF

…It had been a fantastic first day with nearly 100 species seen and many of them very well. (…) The walk in the forest produced a number of exciting species. First was an adult Lesser Spotted Eagle that circled overhead giving excellent views. This was quickly followed by multiple Black Storks, Honey Buzzard, half a dozen Hobbies, Marsh and Hen Harriers. (…)Birds were everywhere….

2012 [05 May] - Barrie Cooper

Report PDF

…Great birding tour with Ecotours Wildlife Holidays to appreciate the rich biodiversity of Southern Belarus. The main areas visited were Turov, Belowezhskaya Pusha and Sporovo….

2012 [05 May] - Brian Clasper

Report

…The marshes ,fens and water meadows support a wealth of Waders, Terns as well as a few speciality species such as Aquatic warbler , Terek sandpiper and Great Snipe. The forest and woodlands support all the species of European woodpecker with a good list of Owl species , warblers & Flycatchers but the the star bird is the Azure tit…

2013 [05 May] - Andrew Clements

Report PDF

…The final evening log also included nominations for the best birds and most memorable moments of the trip – Citrine Wagtail vied with Pygmy and Great Grey Owl for the best bird, while the choices for best moment ranged from the sight of four male Montagu's Harriers hunting across the same huge field, to the three Whooper Swans etched against the forest skyline….

2013 [05 May] - Christopher Hall

Report

…More ‘backyard’ birds came thick and fast, like the River Warbler in the scope, singing its long mechanical ‘song’ from a constantly wide open beak while the tail quivered, and the Bluethroat, also watched in the scope perched on the same fence as the Azure Tit earlier on….

2013 [05 May] - Gabor Orban & Paul Rogers

Report PDF

…A Great Reed Warbler and a Savi’s Warbler sing from a small bed of reeds but the stiff breeze keeps them well hidden. A male Penduline Tit is busy adding the finishing touches to an elaborate nest but will the female be impressed by this one or another nest he will build…

2015 [05 May] - Mike Watson

PDF Report

...New for 2015 on our expanded itinerary were: Hazel Grouse (both in the north and the south, including a female on its nest); Western Capercaillie, Black Grouse and Ural and Tengmalm’s Owls on our Northern Belarus pre-tour extension, to the wonderful Krasny Bor reserve on the Russian border and we also enjoyed some great encounters with old favourites, including: point blank views of Corn Crakes; lekking Great Snipes on meadows by the Pripyat River; 46(!) Terek Sandpipers; hundreds of ‘marsh’ terns (White-winged, Black and Whiskered); Great Grey Owl (an even better close encounter than last time!); Eurasian Pygmy Owl; nine species of woodpecker including White-backed (three) and Eurasian Three-toed (five); Azure Tits at five different sites including our best views yet; Aquatic Warblers buzzing away in an ancient sedge fen (again our best views yet of this rapidly declining bird)....

2016 [05 May] - Dave Farrow

PDF Report

...Of the many highlights, the big favourite were the magnificent Great Grey Owls, and we enjoyed prolonged looks at these awesome creatures. We also found Ural Owl with chicks, Long-eared Owls at two nests, three Eurasian Pygmy Owls including a pair making a food exchange by a nest, and four Tawny Owls including one at roost....

2017 [05 May] - Richard Thomas

PDF Report

This was a short visit with the primary aims of seeing Azure Tit and Great Grey Owl: both were achieved, and plenty of other good species were recorded too during a most enjoyable long weekend. A visit later in May or June could easily include a site to see Aquatic Warblers on their breeding grounds as well as more of the later arriving migrants to the country....

Organisations

Akhova Ptushak Belarusi [APB-BirdLife Belarus]

Website

PO Box 306, Minsk 220050 +375 17 280 18 87 info@ptushki.org

West Belarussian Society for Birds Preservation

…here you can find some information on the activities of the West Belarusian Society for Bird Preservation (Zachodne-Belaruskae Tavarystva Akhovy Ptushak, ZBTAP). Our Society was founded in 1993,and includes now ca.60 members. Its activities are realized in Belarus ( ex-Soviet country between Poland and Russia). Principal goals of ZBTAP are: conservation of biodiversity; preservation of unique habitats; propagation and re-introduction of endangered birds; propaganda of nature conservation ideas among people…

Reserves

Akhova Ptushak Belarusi [APB-BirdLife Belarus]

Website

All IBAs in Belarus and a good country map.

Belarusian National Parks

Website

Some pictures and information about National Parks. Nowever local conservationists say: National parks are not recommended as birding destinations as nature there is quite exploited. All rare birds are easier to see outside Belarusian national parks. Birding in national park is support for further nature destruction!

Pripyat Marshes

Information

Satellite View

Shared with Ukraine…

Pripyatsky National Park

Webpage

Satellite View

These places are the centres of populations of such birds as a spotted eagle, a corcrake and a reed-warbler. Take a reed-warber, for example, we can see what catastrophic consequences could be made by drainage of Pripyatsky marshes. This small grey and brown bird with a shrill voice used to be wide-spred in Europe: from France to Ural. Novadays in many countries a reed-warbler is extinct or at risk of disappearance.

Wetlands

Website

The convention entered into force in Belarus on 25 August 1991. Belarus currently has 26 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), with a surface area of 765,617 hectares.

Forums & Mailing Lists

Birding Belarus

To post to list: ptushki@googlegroups.com

Discussion group - NOT in English

Other Links

Belarusian Nature

Website

Lots of background information on Natural Belarus.

Birdwatch in Belarus

Website

This website about observations of birds in Belarus…