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Hellenic Republic

European Bee-eaters Merops apiaster ©Panos Oikonomou Website

Birding Greece

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: 461

As at June 2018

Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

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

Useful Reading

Birding in Greece - Travel Guide to Birdwatching Sites in Greece

By: Chris Vlachos, Roula Trigou & Lefteris Stavrakas | Hellenic Ornithological Society | 2013 | Paperback | 240 pages, colour photos, colour maps, colour tables |

ISBN: 9789606861246

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of Prey of Greece

By G Handrinos & A Demetropoulos | Efstathiadis Group | 1983 | Paperback | 200 pages, Colour illustrations |

ISBN: 9602263377

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birdwatching in Northern Greece - A Site Guide

by Steve Mills | Birdwing | 2011 | Papberback | 158 pages, colour photos, b/w maps |

ISBN: 9780956777003

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Finding Birds in Northern Greece

By Dave Gosney | Easybirder | 2015 | DVD | Run Time 87 Minutes | All Region |

ISBN: 9781907316494

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Finding Birds in Northern Greece

By Dave Gosney | Easybirder| 2015 | Paperback | 44 Pages | 23 Black & White Maps |

ISBN: 9781907316487

Buy this book from NHBS.com

The Birds of Greece

By George Handrinos, T Akriotis & S Message | Christopher Helm | 1997 | Paperback | 336 pages, 32 photos, 70 line drawings, 425 maps |

ISBN: 0713639296

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Where to watch birds in Turkey, Greece and Cyprus

By H Welch, L Rose, B Oddie, D Moore & H Sigg | Mitchell Beazley | 1996 | Paperback | 216 pages, 8 col plates, 30 b/w illustrations, 35 maps |

ISBN: 0600582329

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Useful Information

BirdLife

Hellenic Ornithological Society (HOS) is the BirdLife Partner.

Organisations

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…

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…

Reserves

Abbreviations Key: See the appropriate Continent Page (or Country Page of those used on country sub-divisions)

Nestos Lakes

Webpage

Satellite View

The 18 small Nestos Lakes and 8 brackish Lagoons are part of the large Nestos Delta, located in northeast Greece, about 200 km to the east of Thessaloniki. More than 320 species of birds, many rare reptiles and fresh water fish are living in or around the lakes and lagoons. 72 of the recorded birds are on the Red List. Rare species lile the Spur-winged Plover, the White-tailed and the Spotted Eagle breed here and the Pygmy Cormorant – the smallest existing cormorant, Spotted Eagle, as well as Dalmatian Pelican can be see regularly during the migratory period. Other rare species of the Nestos Delta are the Golden Jackal and the Otter.

NP Kerkini Lake

Website

Satellite View

In the north-west part of Serres Prefecture, just 40 Km from the town of Serres and about 100 Km from Thessaloniki, we can meet one of the most beautiful places in Greece, Lake Kerkini. Its unique wetland has been declared as National Park according to Ramsar Convention and it is one out of ten wetlands of International Importance of Greece.

NP Prespa Lake

Website

Satellite View

The area contains three National Parks located in Albania (Prespa National Park), Greece, and the Republic of Macedonia respectively

NP Rodia Wetlands

Website

Satellite View

Rodia Wetland Centre is situated in the old stone school in the village Strongili, on the boundaries of the Prefecture of Arta and Preveza, on the north-western side of the Amvrakikos Gulf. The area which is considered especially beautiful is protected by the RAMSAR International Convention on Wetlands, while recently it was declared a National Park

NP Zagorohoria

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…

SPA Evros Delta

Website

Satellite View

In Evros Delta hundreds of thousands of birds find shelter and food all year round, while it constitutes a very important natural resource for the local community, because of his value for fishing, stock breeding, agriculture, climate, flood protection, education, recreation, science.

SPA WRf IBA Kalamas Delta

Webpage

Satellite View

The site comprises a canal with a delta of mudflats, saltmarshes, and lagoons. Two low hills are covered with dense scrub. Much of the area has been reclaimed for arable farming.

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.

Guides & Tour Operators

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

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…

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…

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.

Odyssey Tours - Birding Tours in Greece

Tour Operator - Facebook Page

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

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] - Honeyguide - Eastern Greece

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2009 [05 May] - Honeyguide - Eastern Greece

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Pdf

2009 [10 October] Tony Jones - Kefalonia

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"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…

2011 [05 May] - John & Jo Tallon

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…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

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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 [04 April] - Robin & Rachel Hamilton - Peloponnese

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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…

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

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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

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Annotated list…

2014 [04 April] - Dragan Simic

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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

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...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 [04 April] - Leo Tukker - Samos

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...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 [07 July] - Gary Jones

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...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 [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] - 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.

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

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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.

2017 [05 May] - Ella Maria & Leif Bisschop-Larsen - Macedonia & Prespa

PDF Report

...In the afternoon we visited the ancient city of Stobi, impressive ruins from the Roman Empire. As could be expected this is habitat for Little Owl, Black-eared Wheatear and Hoopoe. We returned via Gradsko – Dolno Cicevo – Rosoman. This farmland was rich in buntings and Calandra Lark....

2018 [02 February] - Simeon Gigov - Lake Kerkini

PDF Report

...hundreds of Dalmatian Pelicans, 2 Glossy Ibises (unusually wintering here), Eurasian Spoonbills, at least 9 Greater Spotted Eagles (including 1 fulvescens type), Blacktailed Godwits, 3 Lesser Spotted and 2 Syrian Woodpeckers, Merlin, 2 Peregrine Falcons, Great Grey Shrike, several flocks of Long-tailed Tit, multiple singing Cetti's Warblers, 2 Black Redstarts, Grey Wagtail, 3 Meadow Pipits and more than a dozen Hawfinches. Just before we left for lunch we spotted an adult Pallas's Gull...

2018 [05 May] - Chris Barfield - Northern Greece

PDF Report

Kalohori Lagoons. A great site, water levels were just right for waders, and there were hundreds of them, mostly Wood, Green and Curlew Sandpiper, Ruff and Little Stint, plus plovers and larger waders, Collared Pratincoles, Little, Common, Sandwich, Gull-billed and White-winged Terns, and Flamingos of course...

2018 [05 May] - Mark Graham - Northern Greece

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...A very loud Great Reed Warbler seldom stopped singing all the time we were there. Four Squacco Herons were seen on 9th May and this heralded their arrival in the area for the summer. There were some Cetti's Warblers nearby. A Mallard with a young family was resident here. Moorhen were sometimes heard...

2018 [05 May] - Mike Langman

PDF Report

Highlights: Bee-Eaters & Rollers: Colourful and always a pleasure to see and photograph. Finding a much rarer Blue-cheeked Bee-eater on a walk from our hotel would have undoubtedly been top if only all of the group had been up to see it! Birds of Prey: an impressive 15 species of raptor were seen during the week. Several featured in the group highlights including Red-footed Falcons, Lesser Kestrels and Bonelli’s Eagles including a pair talon grappling.

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…

Blogs

Athens Birds

BLOG

Birds of Athens… Last updated March 2016

Hellenic Birds & Wildlife

BLOG

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

Human & Nature

BLOG

Birding and Wildilife experience in Hellenic Nature! Last updated March 2015

Koele & The Birds

BLOG

Photo BLOG from a Greek birder [mostly in Greek] Last updated 2011

Mount Olympus

BLOG

Photos of birds and other wildlife taken on Mount Olympus… Last updated October 2017

Nature in Greece

BLOG

Birds and birding in Greece… in Greek

Other Links

Birding the Acheron River Delta (Western Greece)

Webpage

Birding the Lake Kerkini

Webpage

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

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…

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 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…

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…

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…

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…

Evros Delta

Website

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

Photographers & Artists

Photographer - Panos Oikonomou

Gallery

Excellent all round wildlife photography with many super bird photos…