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Hellenic Republic

European Bee-eaters Merops apiaster ©Panos Oikonomou Website

Just a look at the map of Greece gives a rough idea of the diversity of its fauna and flora. The geographical location and the variety of habitat types determine its rich bird life. The mainland is characterised by high mountains and very rugged relief alternating with small valleys and farmland. Freshwater lakes and coastal lagoons form an important network of wetlands. And of course, the island archipelagos; more than 2,000 islands, some big, like Crete, some small rocky islets, are the home of nesting seabirds and Eleonora's Falcons.

Greece has 196 Important Bird Areas (IBA). Highly threatened species breed here such as Dalmatian Pelican, Ferruginous Duck, Lesser Kestrel, Audouin's Gull, Pygmy Cormorant, Black Vulture, Lammergeyer and Cinereous Bunting. During the winter species like White-headed Duck, Red-breasted Goose and Spotted Eagle frequent the IBA wetlands. Foreign birders, mainly originating from western and northern Europe, mainly seek species of southern and/or eastern European distribution and find it easy to locate birds like Ruddy Shelduck, Long-legged Buzzard, Levant Sparrowhawk, Rock Partridge, Chukar, Roller, Short-toed and Calandra Larks, Red-rumped Swallow, Black-eared Wheatear, Orphean, Sardinian, Rüppell's, Olivaceous and Olive-tree Warblers, Rock and Krüper's Nuthatches, Lesser Grey and Masked Shrikes, Spanish Sparrow, Cretzschmar's and Black-headed Buntings, etc.

Spring is definitely the best season to visit Greece. The birds know it and so do the birders. Wherever you go you will enjoy it. West European birders prefer places like the lakes of Mikri Prespa and Kerkini, the Dadia forest, the coastal lagoons of northeast Greece and islands like Lesvos and Crete.

There is no tradition of ornithology in Greece. The Hellenic Ornithological Society (HOS); the local partner of Bird Life International, was founded in 1982 but it saw a big period of growth during the 90s; its work is expanding all over the country. Although tourism is a very important source of foreign income, the State has never promoted birdwatching tourism. Organised sites with basic infrastructure for birding, are very scarce and it is rather difficult to obtain information. As a result foreign birders mainly visit the few well-promoted birding sites or classic mass-tourism resorts like Rhodes and Corfu. Thus they miss many important under-developed places like the lake Himaditis, the mountains of the northern borders and beautiful islands like Lemnos.

Greece is a fine place for birding and is largely unexplored. Trip reports are very useful to the HOS and are most welcome. Information on where to send them can be found at the HOS website.

See the individual pages for Crete, Lesvos and Rhodes.

Contributor

Yannis Tsougrakis

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 449

Checklist

Checklist

WebBirder Checklist

Fatbirder's very own checklists are now available through WebBirder

Useful Reading

A Birdwatching Guide to Crete

- Stephanie Coghlan 1996 (Arlequin Press)
See Fatbirder Review

ISBN: 1900159104

Buy this book from NHBS.com

The Birds of Greece

G Handrinos & T Akriotis 1997 (Helm)

ISBN: 0713639296

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Where to watch birds in Turkey, Greece and Cyprus

H Welch, L Rose, B Oddie, D Moore & H Sigg 1996 (Hamlyn)

ISBN: 0600582329

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Finding Birds in Northern Greece (Booklet)

Written By Dave Gosney | Easybirder 2015 | Paperback | 44 Pages | 23 Black & White Maps |
See Fatbirder Review

ISBN: 9781907316487

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DVD - Essence of Evros

DVD - The Essence of Evros ? Dadia Forest/Evros Delta produced and presented by Malcolm Rymer and filmed by him with help from Peter Swayne - 95 minutes available from the filmmaker direct http://www.wildlifevideos.net/evros.html
See Fatbirder Review

Bibliography of Greek Ornithology

G I Handrinos, T Akriotis & A Legakis - Hellenic ZS 2001

ISBN: 127944

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Birds of Pelion

Barbara Martin - 2006

ISBN: 9609156118

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A Descriptive Lexicon of the Birds of Greece

D Apalodenmus 415 pages, 8 col plates, 415 line drawings. Goulandris Natural History Museum 1994

ISBN: 9608519314

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Birdwatching in Northern Greece - a site guide

by Steve Mills - Birdwing 2011 (2nd Edition) - 174 Pages

ISBN: 9780956777003

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Birding in Greece - App

http://issuu.com/birdlife.greece/docs/hos_birdlife_greece_birding_guide_2

Finding Birds in Northern Greece (DVD)

Written and Presented By Dave Gosney | Easybirder 2015 | DVD | Run Time 87 Minutes | All Region |
See Fatbirder Review

ISBN: 9781907316494

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Birding in Greece - Travel Guide to Birdwatching Sites in Greece

By: Chris Vlachos, Roula Trigou & Lefteris Stavrakas | 240 Pages | Hellenic Ornithological Society | 2013 | Paperback

ISBN: 9789606861246

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Useful Information

BirdLife

Hellenic Ornithological Society (HOS) is the BirdLife Partner.

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…

Honeyguide

Tour Operator

Honeyguide Wildlife Holidays. If you are looking for a quality natural history holiday, this is a great place to start. The Honeyguide programme offers a mix of the very best of birds and other wildlife in fascinating parts of Europe, suitable both for beginners and more experienced naturalists. All holidays contribute to a local conservation project…

Greece Bird Tours

Tour Operator

If you are in Athens for a few days, why do not take the opportunity and enjoy birdwatching just a few minutes from the city center. Take a look below of the most interesting bird species we might encounter…

Odyssey Tours - Birding Tours in Greece

Tour Operator - Facebook Page

We offer a variety of solo and escorted birding tours in Northern Greece…

Natural Greece

Tour Operator

Natural Greece organises high-quality, expert-led birding and wildlife tours in Greece. A warm welcome to all nature lovers! If you are looking for a professionally organised, expert-led wildlife holiday or tour, this is a great place to start. Here you find extraordinary nature travel experiences in Greece, a country with an exceptionally rich living nature.

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.

2006 [11 November] - Birdwatching Bulgaria - Lake Kerkini, Northern Greece

Report

Lack of trip reports and vague rumours for the avian richness of Lake Kerkini, situated in Northern Greece very close to the Bulgarian border (some 20 km), brought us to the shores of this lake on November 11th, 2006…

2007 [05 May] - Honeyguides

Report

pdf

2009 [10 October] Tony Jones - Kefalonia

Report

"In taking a late summer holiday to Kefalonia we were well aware that, beautiful island though it is, it is not one of the Mediterranean birding hot spots; but our aged bones needed warm sunshine & we'd got a good bargain, so, optics packed off we went."

2010 [04 April] - Honeyguide - Eastern Greece

Report

…The next spectacle to bring us to a halt was a group of six white storks circling in a thermal, shortly to be joined by seven white pelicans and a juvenile Dalmatian pelican – a marvellous opportunity for comparison. In the other direction we picked out a distant flock of about twenty glossy ibises and while we watched them, two flocks, each of about fifty white pelicans, approached each other and joined the same thermal but instead of merging into a single flock they criss-crossed each other's paths in an aerobatic display directly overhead…

2009 [05 May] - Honeyguide - Eastern Greece

Report

Pdf

2008 [05 May] - Honeyguide - Eastern Greece

Report

Pdf

2011 [05 May] - John & Jo Tallon

Report

…In addition to the flowers there were good numbers of butterflies to be seen, and on five days we watched common dolphins swimming and fishing offshore, usually as we were sitting at a taverna for lunch. This happened at both Kastri and Mikro. Our main interest however was birds and in late May we seemed to have a mixture of residents already feeding young (Blue Tit, Sardinian Warbler), newly arrived summer visitors (Eleonora’s Falcon, Spotted Flycatcher) and passage migrants (Black Stork, Whinchat)…

2012 [02 February] - Hans Schick - Eastern Macedonia & Thrace

Report

From February 17 ̶ 26, 2012 I spent 10 days in Greece, especially in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace. I was accompanied by Stefan Wedler. During this time we visited the well known birdwatching places of the Évros Delta, the Néstos Delta and the Thracian Lagoons along the northern coast of the Aegean Sea….

2012 [05 May] - Chris Durdin - Peloponnese

PDF Report

" … the celebrated archaeological site of Mycenae … was much less tidied than we feared … any bank, wall or rock crevice that was at all shady was full of interesting plants, many in flower: campanulas and clovers, poppies, mulleins and tiny ferns. But the star, seen by many in the group, was rock nuthatch, calling away on ruins …"

2013 [05 May] - Hans Schick - Eastern Macedonia and Thrace

Report

known birdwatching places of the Évros Delta, the Dadiá forest, the wetlands around Pórto Lágos and the Néstos Delta in Eastern Macedonia and Thrace as well as Lake Kerkíni in Central Macedonia…

2013 [09 September] - Mike Neale

Report

Annotated list…

2013 [04 April] - Robin & Rachel Hamilton - Peloponnese

Report

In the sunshine on the other side of the road, brimstones were feeding and then we caught the distinctive raptor ‘mew’ and looked up to see a pair of short-toed eagles displaying overhead, wheeling, swooping, soaring and clasping each other’s talons…

2014 [04 April] - Dragan Simic

Report

I am half-awake, but keep my eyes closed. Listening to the wheeping of stays and shrouds and screeching of fenders against the next sailboat, I do not want to wake up. Still, we are sailing out of the marina soon and I should have some coffee before that. We are in the village of Finikas on the island of Syros in the Cyclades archipelago of Greece. A range of hills protects the cove from the eastern wind, yet, the bushes are swaying in the rythm of it…

2014 [06 June] - Kathie Claydon - Northern Greece & Bulgaria

Report

...This was our 5th trip to Bulgaria with Neophron Tours; all have been tailor-made for just the two of us. The first tour, in 2010, was mainly for birds and bears in the Western Rhodopes (yes, we did see a bear), followed by two trips in 2011, June for butterflies in the Pirin and Rila mountains (93 butterfly spp.) then autumn migration along the Black Sea coast in September (170 bird spp.) In July 2013 we went looking for more butterflies in different areas including the Central Balkans and Vitosha mountain (about 80 spp. of butterfly). Each trip was a great success and we have not yet tired of Bulgaria’s impressive and readily accessible wildlife. This latest tour was arranged at very short notice by Dimiter Georgiev (Neophron Tours) with no particular targets in mind and no fixed itinerary deciding on a daily basis where we wanted to go and watching whatever wildlife we came across. Our guide, Minko Madzharov, telephoned ahead to book accommodation as needed. We began with a 4-night stay at Chryssohorafa near Lake Kerkini then moved on to southern Bulgaria, from the interesting pyramid-like cliffs around Melnik to the Western Rhodopes, the Eastern Rhodopes and on to the Sakar Hills. Our last afternoon was spent in Vitosha mountains above Sofia...

2015 [07 July] - Gary Jones

Report PDF

...Greece is a stunningly beautiful country where memorable wildlife spectacles are almost the norm. We were reasonably successful with objective b) but for the frustrating lack of Levant Sparrowhawk, a common enough species which other people seem to have seen as a matter of course. We made no special plans for Levant Sparrowhawk assuming one would turn up: it didn’t.

2015 [05 May] - Paul Rogers - Kos

Report PDF

...A pair of European Turtle Doves flies up from the track as we approach and enjoy a leisurely stroll. A Wood Warbler searches for food in a tall tree and Rosie points out a circling Long-legged Buzzard. Diana finds a Bug Orchid on the edge of the path close to a number of sinister looking Dragon Arums. It is a most pleasant interlude in a delightfully tranquil location.

2015 [04 April] - Leo Tukker - Samos

Report PDF

...We walked near the old salt works buildings. In the lake we saw Black-Winged Stilt, Common Coot, Greater Flamingo, Little Egret, Ruddy Shelduck and Squacco Heron.

2015 [04 April] - Georgos Spiridakis - Northern Greece

PDF Report

The birdwatching sites visited during this 8-day trip starting from Thessaloniki include: Lake Kerkini, Mount Belles, Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli forest, Evros Delta, Lake Ismarida, Porto Lagos, Nestos.

2015 [04 April] - Greenwings - Orchis Odyssey

PDF Report

2015 [06 June] - Greenwings - Butterflies & Birds of Northern Greece

PDF Report

2015 [01 January] - Greenwings - Birds of Lake Kerkini

PDF Report

2015 [11 November] - Christopher Hall - Lake Kerkini NP

Report

... Next sightings include a couple of Ferruginous Ducks on the same pool as two Black-necked Grebes with sparkling ruby red eyes. After a picnic lunch in the sunshine we head for the nearby ridge of mountains which form the border with Bulgaria to the north, and a Golden Eagle soon appears on the skyline, followed by an immature one with white wing patches and a white tail....

2016 [04 April] - Stephen Burch - North East Greece: Lake Kerkini area

Report

Last year I had made a successful spring visit to Turkey in search of Brown Fish Owl etc. Having acquired a taste for eastern European birding, this year I thought I'd try another area not too far away. For almost as long as I can remember, the pelicans, pygmy cormorants and other water birds to be found in various lakes in Greece and the old Yugoslavia had interested me.

2016 [05 May] - Birds of Lake Kerkini

PDF Report

Our holiday was based in Chrysohorafa, a small village located within Lake Kerkini National Park, North Greece. It is a truly magical area for observing wildlife and particularly birdwatching and is an internationally renowned wetland site with protected status under the Ramsar Convention.

2016 [04 April] - Robin & Rachel Hamilton

PDF Report

Another black-winged stilt arrived and showed well in the 'scope and a blue-headed wagtail came down to feed. That was joined by three pipits, which to our delight turned out to be red-throated – two fine males and a female.

Places to Stay

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

Villa Areti - Kefalonia

Accommodation

Kefalonia is the largest island in the Ionian archipelaego. It is situated on the western side of Greece approximately three hours flying time from the UK. Kefalonia has not embraced the mass tourism of its near neighbours Zante and Corfu. The stunning natural beauty and tranquility of the island brings back return visitors year after year…

Organisations

Hellenic Ornithological Society

Website

Hellenic Ornithological Society is a conservation non-governmental organization for the protection of wild birds and their habitats in Greece. It was founded in 1982 and its mission is to ensure a sustainable natural environment for birds and people…

Birdwing

Website

BirdWING (BirdWatching In Northern Greece) has been set up to raise awareness of birds in Greece and to raise money for the conservation and restoration of bird habitat in the region. Birdwing has over 600 members from all over the world…

Museums

Natural History Museum - Thessaloniki

http://www.museumsofmacedonia.gr/Anthropological_and_Nat_History/Fysikhs_Istorias_Thessalon.html

The Natural History Museum is in the grounds of the Zoo on Kedrinos Hill in the Hilia Dendra district. It opened in 1994, its purpose being to show the public the various species of fauna in Greece. All the animals and birds are displayed in natural attitudes and are in themed groups…

Reserves

Wetlands

Website

The convention entered into force in Greece on 21 December 1975. Greece currently has 10 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), with a surface area of 163,501 hectares.

Kerkini Lake

Website

Satellite View

(2015) Fatbirder Correspondent Frances Gatens writes: I based myself at a hotel in Kirkini village a short walking distance from the lake. The birding is wonderful with hundreds of Dalmation Pelicans, White Pelicans, Greater Flamingoes, Spoonbills, Pygmy Cormorants, and assorted Grebes, there is so much more on the lake which is massive and it is easy to hire a place on a boat for a few Euros. Around the lake shore which is heavily wooded there are Green, Syrian and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Warblers, Shrikes of many varieties. I could go on but for birds it would be difficult to beat. The accommodation at which I stayed left a lot to be desired. There are, however, a good number of alternatives in the village and surrounding villages so it would pay to shop around.

Prespa Lake

Information

Satellite View

Declaration on the Creation of the Prespa Park and the Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development of the Prespa Lakes and their Surroundings…

Zagorohoria National Park

Information

Satellite View

Zagorohoria National Park is a paradise for exploring nature, long distance walking and hiking. The Dragon Lake, or Drakolimni, according to tradition houses the dragons of the past…

Nestos Lakes

Website

Satellite View

High in the Rhodopian Mountains of Bulgaria, the Nestos River begins its plunge down towering canyons toward the Aegean Sea. At the Greek village of Paranestion, the river slows as it enters the Nestos Valley and the coastal plain of Chrysoupolis. Within this river delta system are seven freshwater lakes and eleven freshwater ponds covering roughly nine square miles. The seven lakes are known locally as Aladjaglola

Rodia Wetlands Center

Website

Satellite View

Rodia Wetland Center promotes eco-tourism and activities to promote the protection of the environment, within the wetlands of the Amvrakikos gulf. here are 293 kinds of birds beside the colony of the Dalmation pelecans at the Rodia lagoon. Contact Minerva Kontopoulou 00306977569203…

Evros Delta

Information

Satellite View

The delta has a rich diversity of habitats including freshwater lakes, brackish and seawater lagoons, rivers, reedy ditches, tamarisk forest, sandy islets, swamps, reedbeds and a small area of riverine forest. More than 300 species have been recorded…

Kalamas Delta

Information

Satellite View

...the lagoon of Vatatsa (at the eastern side of the Valtos Bay), offered a lot more egrets, one Squacco Heron, two distant Dalmatian Pelicans and quite a few little things chirping from their hiding places in the tamarisk bushes by the road.

Blogs

Nature in Greece

Blog

Birds and birding in Greece… in Greek

Koele & The Birds

Blog

Photo BLOG from a Greek birder [mostly in Greek]

Hellenic Birds & Wildlife

Blog

Mostly in Greek but with some English pages – this is a joint effort by an number of Greek wildlife enthusiasts…

Athens Birds

Blog

Birds of Athens…

Mount Olympus

Blog

Photos of birds and other wildlife taken on Mount Olympus…

Human & Nature

Blog

Birding and Wildilife experience in Hellenic Nature!

Other Links

Evros Delta

Website

Winter birding in this under watched area of greece… some very nice images…

Birds of Kastoria & Agia Sotira

Website

Although most of the species seen are fairly common, this was an enjoyable birding trip, as I got to observe these birds for long periods of time…

Ionian Birds

Website

The Ionian islands are a very important flight path and stronghold for various migratory and resident birds. Their rich vegetation and lush climate providing the ideal stop over for birds following their breeding routes from and to Africa. The dense macquis landscapes are especially favoured by the birds…

Birds at Rematia Halandriou - Athens

Website

The pupils of Moraitis school and their teacher Panayiotis Latsoudis studied the behaviour of the birds which live at Rematia Halandriou…

Birds of Thassos

Website

The Thásos list can be extended to 215 species: Handrinos & Demetropoulos (1983) indicate that Griffon vultures formerly bred on Thásos but this species now appears to be extinct on the island. My own observations add two further species - fan-tailed warbler (frequent in scrubby olive groves around Thassos Town in June 1982) and crag martin over Thassos Town with other hirundines on 11 September 1993…

Checklist - Birds of Greece

Website

Up to date list from the Hellenic Ornithological Society

Deep in birds

Website

This is an effort to present some photos & videos etc. mainly about birds but also other taxa & nature topics. The majority will be from Greece…

Birdwatching in Northern Greece

Website

BirdWING.eu is raising money and awareness for the conservation and restoration of bird habitat in Northern Greece. It also provides information about birds and birdwatching sites in the region…

Birding, Ecotravelling and Photography in Greece

Website

Birdwatching, Wildlife watching & photography in Athens Greece. Browse bird trip reports, suggested locations and nature photos from birds seen in GREECE. The most complete & updated greek birwatching blog, since June 2005…

Birding the Lake Kerkini

Webpage

Birding the Lake Kerkini (with practically all useful links at the end; Northern Greece)

Birding the Acheron River Delta (Western Greece)

Webpage

When to Watch Birds in Greece

Webpage

There is no doubt about it – spring is definitively the best season. The annual peak time, species wise, is April to mid-June – especially April, when the majority of migrating birds are passing through and the first half of May when most visiting breeding bird species have already returned from their wintering grounds and passage migrant shore birds are still moving through.

Where to watch birds in Greece?

Webpage

When one mentions birding in Greece to overseas birders, the site most mentioned is the island of Lesvos. The best site of the island is the Kalloni Salt Pans in the back of the namesake gulf. The greatest drawcards of the island are three Asian species at the westernmost edge of their range and found nowhere else in Europe: Cinereous Bunting, Kruper’s Nuthatch and the White-throated Robin.

Photographers & Artists

Photographer - Panos Oikonomou

Gallery

Excellent all round wildlife photography with many super bird photos…