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Northwest Russia

White-backed Woodpecker Dendrocopos leucotos ©Pavlo Zaltowski

Birding Northwest Russia

Northwestern Russia consists of the 'Oblasts' of St Petersburg, Novgorod, Pskov and the geographical exclave of Kaliningrad.

North-West of Russia is an interesting ornithological territory. The Baltic Sea washes the banks of Kaliningradskaya region, and a lot of bird migration routes cross here. Finckiy bay also attracts a great number of bird species. Here you can find almost all species of geese, ducks, swans, gulls, terns, etc. which have been recorded in Northern Europe.

Mixed forests are very varied in this region: the north is dominated by dense spruce taiga, and in the south this gives way to light pine forests. These forests also possess a rich bird species collection; more than 100 species are present throughout the summer. The well-developed system of rivers and lakes, which includes such great ones as Ladozhskoe & Chudskoe lakes, and Svir & Velikaya rivers, give shelter to a lot of ducks, waders, gulls.

Top Sites

Kurshkaya Kosa National Park


Satellite View

Kurshskaya spit is a wonderful place to observe birds during their spring migrations. During this season both waterfowl. This narrow isthmus stretching out into the sea is used as a place to rest and forage by thousands of birds. The best time to come here is the last part of March, April and the beginning of May.

Nyzhneswirsky Reserve

More than 256 bird species of birds have been as it has a rich diversity of sites, which are useful for forest-living, water-dependent and meadow birds. You can find here such interesting species as Honey-buzzard, Merlin, Great Gray Owl and Ural Owl. It is also possible to see rare forest-living birds, for example, Black Stork, Osprey, Willow Grouse, Stock-dove and Eagle Owl. From the group of water dependent birds the most special are: Bald-coot, Great-crested Grebe, Spotted Crake, Wood sandpiper, Ruff & Black-tailed Godwit. The rich avifauna have settled on the bogs in the reserve. A very dense breeding population of Cranes is also situated here. Also you can find such typical birds for this habitat as Snipe, Curlew, Whimbrel, Great Snipe & Golden Plover. In spring, during the migration season, on the lakes of Svir-river floodplain there concentrate a lot of ducks, especially Scoter, Long-tailed duck & Black Scoter.

Polistovskie Swamps


This site represents an exceptional wetland complex. The characteristic peculiarity of Polistovo-Lovatsky swamps is an abundance of small rivers, streams and lakes. More than 140 species of birds, which are associated with swamps, have been founded in this region; some rare species have an important nesting site here. For example, the biggest population of Curlew lives in the Polistovsky reserve. Other interesting rare bird, such as White-tailed Eagle, Golden Eagle, Osprey, Black Stork, Golden Plover and Black-throated Diver can be seen in these swamps as can both breeding species and migrants.


Olga Batova


Ecological Travel Center - Moscow




Abbreviations Key

IBA Lake Ladoga


Satellite View

It is the largest lake entirely in Europe, and the 14th largest freshwater lake by area in the world. The Ladoga is rich with fish. 48 forms (species and infra specific taxa) of fish have been encountered in the lake, including roach, carp bream, zander, European perch, ruffe, endemic variety of smelt, two varieties of Coregonus albula (vendace), eight varieties of Coregonus lavaretus, a number of other Salmonidae as well as, albeit rarely, endangered European sea sturgeon. It has its own endemic ringed seal subspecies known as the Ladoga seal. Nizhnesvirsky Natural Reserve is situated along the shore of Lake Ladoga immediately to the north of the mouth of the River Svir.

NP Kurshskaya Kosa (Curonian Spit)


Satellite View

The park covers the Russian-owned southern 41 km of the 98 km long, curved Curonian Spit – a type of depositional sandbar. The spit separates the salt-water Baltic Sea (on the west) from the freshwater Curonian Lagoon to the east. Birds and waterfowl are abundant, as the park has abundant wetlands and is on major migratory routes. 262 species of birds have been recorded in the park, and 100 are known to nest and breed in the territory. The park is also home to 46 species of mammals, including elk, European roe deer, wild boar, fox, marten, raccoon dog, badger, hare, red squirrel, and beaver.

NR Nizhnesvirsky


Satellite View

The nature reserve occupies lowlands on the right bank of the lower Svir River, including a portion of the eastern shore of Lake Ladoga and its waters. It is an important stopover location for migratory birds. The zapovednik has a humid continental climate (Köppen's Dfb). The predominant tree species is Scots Pine. A considerable area is occupied by swamps. Forty species of mammals occur in the nature reserve. Big mammals include brown bear, moose, and lynx. It abuts Olonetsky Nature Reserve.

Trip Reports


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.


Rybachy Biological Station


Satellite View

The Courish Spit on the Baltic Sea (Kurische Nehrung in German) has been known since the end of the last century for its large concentration of migrating birds, unique in Europe. The spit is a strip of sandy terrain, 97 km in length and 0.4 to 3.6 km in width separating the Courish Lagoon from the Baltic Sea…


The Russian State Museum of Arctic and Antarctic


In November 1930 the museum was founded by the order of the Soviet Government as a Department of the Arctic Research Institute called the Arctic Museum, based on exhibits and material of Polar Exhibitions which were held in Leningrad, Moscow, Arkhangelsk during 1923. Marata 24a, The Russian State museum of Arctic and Antarctic, St.Petersburg, Russia, 191040 Phone: +7 812 1131998. Fax: +7 812 1646818. E-mail: vicaar@mail.wplus.net Director: Dr. Victor I. Boyarsky