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Georgia

Great Rosefinch Carpodacus rubicilla ©Ecotours Georgia Website

Georgia (one of the South Caucasus countries) is located at the edge of Asia and Europe. Georgia is a country of exceptional beauty: diverse in nature, with rich and ancient history. The country is mostly complex and mountainous. The highest peak is 5201m (peak Shkhara) above sea level. Due to Georgia's specific geographic location, on a relatively small territory (69,700 square km.) there are extremely diverse ecosystems from Alpine meadows to semi-deserts, wetlands, costal landscape, numerous lakes and rivers, caves, magnificent mountain-chains and peaks covered with eternal snow.

The variety of ecosystems conditions the richness of the flora and fauna of Georgia. The forests cover 40% (2,75 million hectares) of the whole territory. 5% of it can be considered as virgin forests, and 40% of it retains the original structure. Up to 5,000 species of angiospermous and gymnospermous, about 8,300 species of sporoparous plants are found in Georgia. 380 species of the plants are endemic to Georgia, and around 1,000 are endemic to the Caucasus. There are around 110 species of mammals, more than 330 species of birds, 48 species of reptiles, 11 species of amphibians and 160 of fish.

In Georgia there are several spectacular birdwatching locations, with very different characteristics. Each of them is interesting in terms of species composition. On a relatively small territory there is a multitude of diverse ecosystems. This is very favorable for bird watching, as in a short period of time and in area very close to each other it is possible to see birds from totally different habitats.

Birders tend to target the 'big five' species: Caucasian Snowcock, Caucasian Black Grouse, Great Rosefinch, Güldenstädt’s Redstart and Caucasian Chiffchaff but other regional specialties including: Twite (interior Asian form - a potential split), Red-fronted Serin, Wallcreeper, Citrine Wagtail, White-winged Snowfinch, Red-billed and Alpine Choughs, Chukar, Horned Lark, Water Pipit, Greenish Warbler, Barred Warbler, Alpine Accentor, Common Rosefinch and dozens of other species. Common raptors include: Bearded Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Golden Eagle, Imperial Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Long-legged Buzzard, and Levant Sparrowhawk.

Contributor

Lasha Babuadze

Director of BSR Ltd (Business for Species Recovery)

Georgia

bsr@access.sanet.ge

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 356

National Bird - Pheasant Phasianus colchicus

Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

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

Useful Reading

A Birdwatching Guide to Georgia

? with information on other wildlife by Lexo Gavashelishvili, Ramaz Gokhelashvili, Zura Javakhishvili & David Tarkhnishvili. Published by the Georgian Center for the Conservation of Wildlife 2000
See Fatbirder Review

ISBN: 9789994077137

Buy this book from NHBS.com

A Field Guide to the Wildlife of South Georgia

By Robert Burton & John Croxall | 200 Pages | 368 Colour Photos | 1 Colour Map | WildGuides | Paperback | Jul 2012
See Fatbirder Review

ISBN: 9780691156613

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Raptors and Owls of Georgia

by RA Galvez, L Gavashelishvili and Z Javakhishvili from the Georgian Centre for the Conservation of Wildlife 2005 Pb 128 pages
See Fatbirder Review

ISBN: 999407718X

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Vultures - of Georgia & the Caucasus

by Lexo Gavashelishcili published by the Georgian Center for the Conservation of Wildlife 2005
See Fatbirder Review

ISBN: 9994077198

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Useful Information

BirdLife

Georgian Centre for the Conservation of Wildlife (GCCW) is the BirdLife Affiliate.

Guides & Tour Operators

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Birdfinders

Tour Operator

This exciting new tour to the furthest outreaches of the Western Palearctic offers a unique chance to see a number of species at the very edge of their ranges, such as Güldenstädt’s Redstart and Great Rosefinch. In addition, there are a number of regional endemics such as Radde’s Accentor and Caucasian Black Grouse. Both countries were formerly part of the Soviet Union and their cultures are as diverse as the scenery within them. From the spectacular Caucasian Mountains, rising to 5642m, and the plains in Georgia, to the 4095m Mount Aragats and vast fishponds in Armenia, we will cover a wide variety of habitats.

Birding Pal

Information

Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…

Ecotours Georgia

Tour Operator

Ecotours Georgia offers weeklong trips to enjoy the “Big Five” Caucasian birds: Caucasian Snowcock, Caucasian Black Grouse, Great Rosefinch, Güldenstädt’s Redstart and Caucasian Chiffchaff. During our trips you may also observe other regional specialties including: Twite (interior Asian form - a potential split), Red-fronted Serin, Wallcreeper, Citrine Wagtail, White-winged Snowfinch, Red-billed and Alpine Choughs, Chukar, Horned Lark, Water Pipit, Greenish Warbler, Barred Warbler, Alpine Accentor, Common Rosefinch and dozens of other species. Common raptors include: Bearded Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Golden Eagle, Imperial Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Long-legged Buzzard, and Levant Sparrowhawk….

Explore Georgia

Tour Operator

Explore Georgia - providing adventure, nature and cultural tours for individual and group travellers. Our company provides you with accommodation, guiding and transportation within Georgia…

Sunbird Tours

Tour Operator

This exciting tour will take you to one of the most mysterious, unique and scenic countries in the Western Palearctic, where you will see some of its most sought after and rarely seen birds. Georgia straddles the borders of Europe and Asia, and yet has its own very special character, culture and ancient history. A land of contrasts, it varies from the cold high mountains of the Greater Caucasus, to dry hot rocky steppes, where the flora and fauna are more similar to those of Anatolia and the Middle East.

Trip Reports

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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.

2004 [July] - Chris Batty

Report

Georgia lies adjacent to, and to the north of, Armenia and after reading a gripping account of a visit by Phil Benstead (and noticing that Sunbird were leading tours to Georgia) I decided I must visit the area myself in search of the three Western Palearctic endemics found there: Caucasian Snowcock, Güldenstädt`s Redstart and Great Rosefinch…

2008 [May] - Nigel Redman

Report

…This year we achieved an impressive record total of 233 species in two weeks including no fewer than 19 species of raptors, 23 waders, 22 thrushes and chats, and 23 warblers, as well as all the Caucasian specialities: Caucasian Snowcock, Caucasian Grouse, Green Warbler, Caucasian Chiffchaff and Caucasian Great Rosefinch….

2010 [May] - Nigel Redman - The Caucasus & Armenia

Report

Our tour to Georgia and Armenia encompassed the full range of altitudes and habitats of the Caucasian region, from lowland marshes in the Armash region to snowfields in the high Caucasus…

2011 [April] - Nicolas Martinez

Report

…Kuri Lake: Especially the northern side of the lake is very interesting and there are several dams from which you can easily scan the area. Except for a lot of water birds and passerines there was heavy raptor migration…

2012 [May] - Henk Hendriks

Report

…Ever since the publishing of the excellent article of Arnoud van den Berg and René Pop (Dutch Birding 27: 241-247, 2005) I intend to visit this area and after reading the report of the trip Jan van de Laan made in 2010, I decided that it was time to go…

2013 [May] - Garry Armstrong - Georgia & Armenia

Report PDF

…The idea of a trip to the Caucasus had first been mooted for 2012 but various commitments meant that plans had to be shelved for another day. The lure of birds such as Caucasian and Caspian Snowcocks, Caucasian Black Grouse, Great Rose-finch, Guldenstadt’s Redstart, Green Warbler and Red-tailed Wheatear saw the plan resurrected for 2013…

2013 [May] - Mark Finn - Georgia & Armenia

Report

…Georgia and Armenia was restored to our birding programme after a short gap. The tour went very well with the majority of birding specialties the Caucasian mountain ranges offer, seen. In Georgia we recorded the scarce Caucasian Snowcock and the near-threatened Caucasian Grouse. Guldenstadt’s Redstart was also seen briefly although Caucasian Rosefinches had already departed to the highest peaks. In addition to these several uncommon birds were seen; Lammergeier, Ring Ouzel, Water Pipit, Fire-fronted Serin, Horned Lark and White-winged Snowfinch. Armenia was again a delight to visit with its varied habitats and friendly people…

2014 [September] - Albert de Jong - Two days in the Chorokhi delta

Report

...Especially in the morning, huge numbers of Black-winged Pratincole were migrating over the delta. The biggest flock we counted was about 2200 birds. In total we observed at least 3400 birds and just two sitting on one of the river banks...

2014 [April] - Bob Maxfield

Report

…We turned back here and made our way back over the same route. We had great views of Monk, Egyptian and Griffon Vultures a well as Imperial Eagle, Buzzard (common and long-legged), Kestrel, Saker Falcon in a known nesting site which our guide showed us, Merlin, Sparrowhawk and Marsh Harrier….

2016 [04 April] - Jani Vastamäki - Caucasus & Lake Jandari

Report

...Ananuri fortress hosted breeding pairs of both Ehrenbergs Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus samamisicus and Black Redstart ssp. ochruros. To present knowledge, female samamisicus is not separable from nominate. Note clear-cut whitish edges to secondaries and greyish upperparts...

2016 [05 May] - Jeff Hopkins - Armenia & Georgia

PDF Report

I have always wanted to visit the Caucasus, even since before I was a birder. There was just always something intriguing and exotic about it to me. So when I saw Birdquest offering a short tour to Georgia, I jumped at the opportunity to go there and to Armenia. Birding-wise both countries are fantastic with some really special species. I wound up with 169 species and 16 lifers. I’d recommend both for any birder...

2016 [05 May] - Juan Gonzalez Valdivieso - Armenia & Georgia

Report

Entre el 18 de abril y el 9 de mayo llevé a cabo un viaje por Georgia y Armenia con dos compañeros y amigos de Barcelona, Salva Solé y Miquel Bonet, para visitar los principales lugares ornitológicos de dichos países. [Between April 18 and May 9 I undertook a trip to Georgia and Armenia with two friends to visit the main ornithological places in those countries.]

2016 [05 May] - Nicola Scatassi & Levan Ninua

PDF Report

...Memorable sights were numerous, from low flying adult Lammergeiers and calling Caucasian Snowcocks seen well in the scope in Kazbegi, to Eastern Imperial and White-tailed Eagles at their nest and Ménétries Warbler in Chachuna, but perhaps best of all were the three different sightings of Demoiselle Cranes, including a group of 24 individuals: seeing these beautiful birds in an amazing landscape of rolling green hills has been a true highlight for all of us....

Places to Stay

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Beaumonde Guest House

Accommodation

In the old, cosy part of old Tbilisi - the neighbourhood called Mtatsminda, you are kindly invited to a small comfortable family hotel…

Organisations

Bird Conservation Union of Georgia

Website

Bird Conservation Union of Georgia is a non-governmental, non-political, non-commercial charity organization, established to unite the efforts of persons whose general aim is conservation of Georgian birds and their habitats. Membership in BCUG is open to individuals and different organizations. Anyone can become a member of BCUG, if he or she recognizes the main aims of our Union, supports the BCUG development and in accordance with own possibilities participates in its activity. Members of BCUG can be citizens of Georgia and all other countries…

Georgian Center for the Conservation of Wildlife

Information

Office: Nutsubidze Plateau 3, 1-7-10, Tbilisi, Georgia Tel.: (995 32) 326496, 537478 Fax: (995 32) 537478

Nacres

Website

NACRES, a non-governmental and non-profit scientific organization, was founded in 1989 to research and safeguard biodiversity, especially endangered species in Georgia and the South Caucasus and to promote public awareness in the field of environmental protection…

Reserves

Kolkheti National Park

Information

Satellite View

Kolkheti high-humid region is located in the Western part of Kolkheti lowland and is bordered by the Black Sea from Kobuleti to Ochamchire. In the East the cone shaped part of plane reaches Samtredia…

Wetlands

Webpage

The convention entered into force in Georgia on 7 June 1997. Georgia currently has 2 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), with a surface area of 34,480 hectares.