Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND

Georgia

Great Rosefinch Carpodacus rubicilla ©Ecotours Georgia Website

Birding Georgia

Georgia is a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital and largest city is Tbilisi. Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 square kilometres (26,911 square miles), and has a population of around 3.75 million.

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.

Interestingly, it is believed that the common pheasant (now spread around the world as a game bird) was once a Georgian endemic.

Contributor

Lasha Babuadze

Director of BSR Ltd (Business for Species Recovery)

Georgia

bsr@access.sanet.ge

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 361

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

Raptors and Owls of Georgia

by RA Galvez, L Gavashelishvili & Z Javakhishvili | Georgian Centre for the Conservation of Wildlife | 2005 | Paperback | 128 pages |

ISBN: 999407718X

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Vultures of Georgia & Caucasus

by Lexo Gavashelishcili | Georgian Center for the Conservation of Wildlife | 2005 | paperback | 96 pages, colour photos, colour illustrations, colour distribution maps |

ISBN: 9994077198

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Useful Information

BirdLife

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

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…

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. PO Box 20, GE-0179 Tbilisi - +995-32 2 23 37 06 - administrator@nacres.org

SABUKO - Georgia Society for Nature Conservation

Website

SABUKO is a Society for Nature Conservation and Birdlife Partner in Georgia. Our mission is to promote the conservation of wildlife in Georgia and to increase the valuation of nature by the public and to encourage the sustainable use of natural resources. We aim to protect wild birds and their habitats, and to raise awareness about the value of nature and the importance of its protection.

Reserves

Abbreviations Key

NP Algeti

Information

Satellite View

The Algeti National Park is a protected area in Georgia, in the southeast of the country. It lies in the region of Kvemo Kartli, within the Municipality of Tetritsqaro, some 60 km southwest of the nation’s capital, Tbilisi.

NP Borjomi-Kharagauli

Information

Satellite View

The Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park (BKNP) is a protected area in central Georgia, situated in the Lesser Caucasus, southwest to the nation's capital of Tbilisi. Its ecoregion is that of the Caucasus mixed forests.

NP Kolkheti

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…

NP Lagodekhi Protected Areas

Information

Satellite View

Lagodekhi Protected Areas, also known as Lagodekhi National Park, is a pair of protected areas in the Kakheti district of Georgia: Lagodekhi Strict Nature Reserve and Lagodekhi Managed Nature Reserve. The reserves extend from beech forests (broadleaf woodland dominated by Oriental beech) to the Alpine zone. Approximately 70% of the area is forested; the second and third most prominent species are European hornbeam and various species of maple. It is one of the major reserves for the East Caucasian tur and also has many chamois and red deer. Major predators include Eurasian lynx, grey wolf, brown bear, and the raptors bearded vulture, eastern imperial eagle, golden eagle and steppe eagle. Altogether 150 species of birds, 53 mammals, 5 amphibians, 12 reptiles, and 4 fish are found in the reserves; 26 of the plants and more than 40 of the animals are in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation listing of threatened species.

NP Mtirala

Information

Satellite View

Mtirala National Park is a protected area in Adjara region, Georgia. Covering approximately 15,698 hectares (38,790 acres) in the western Lesser Caucasus, it is situated between the Black Sea and the Adjara Mountains. It also adjoins Kintrishi Protected Areas. Fauna recorded are Brown bear, Roe deer, and Wild boar, while avifauna includes Booted eagle, Eagle owl and Golden oriole.

NP Tbilisi

Information

Satellite View

The national park was established in 1973 on the basis of the previously existing Saguramo National Reserve (established in 1946) and is the oldest national park in Georgia. The area of the park is 243 square kilometres (94 sq mi). The area of the park is mainly covered by trees and shrub of oak, hornbeam, and beech. The protected mammals in the park include red deer, lynx, Eurasian brown bear, red fox, and jackal.

NP Tusheti

Information

Satellite View

The Tusheti National Park in East Georgia is one of the eight new Protected Areas approved by Parliament of Georgia on 22 April 2003. The key faunal species in the park are Anatolian leopard (Panthera pardus ambornii), bear, chamois, falcon, Golden Eagle, lammergeier, lynx, mountain goat, wild goat, and wolf. The park is set in the Tusheti Mountainous region in the north-eastern part of the country. It is 205 kilometres (127 mi) away from Tbilisi with the en route Alvani lying 120 kilometres (75 mi) away.

NP Vashlovani

Information

Satellite View

Vashlovani State Reserve is notable for its unique, bad-land-like areas of desert and semi-desert steppe vegetation and arid and deciduous forests. It's also home to the great cliffs-of-the-canyons, known in the area as the "Sharp Walls", and the magnificent Alazani flood plains and forests.

SNR Kintrishi Protected Landscape

Information

Satellite View

The Kintrishi State Nature Reserve covers 18,893 hectares (46,690 acres)

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.

Guides & Tour Operators

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

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…

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 [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] - 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…

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…

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....

2017 [09 September] - Trip report Georgia Batumi & the Caucasus 18 - 25 september 2017 Tomas Axén Haraldsson - Batumi & the Caucasus

PDF Report

An autumn birding trip to Georgia and mainly two thoughts comes to mind – the spectacular raptor migration at Batumi and the exclusive high altitude species in the Greater Caucasus. These two attractive birding grounds can be combined in a week as shown below and is a pretty comfortable and medium-paced experience. The logistics are fairly well developed and local tour operators, guides, lodges and drivers have some experience in birding groups since the last years.