Georgia

Red-fronted Serin Serinus pusillus ©Dibyendu Ash (Wikimedia Commons) 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.

Contributors
  • Lasha Babuadze

    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: 9789994077182 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: 9789994077199 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 (Society for Nature Conservation) is Birdlife Partner in Georgia. Our main directions are conservation of species and their habitats.
Reserves

Abbreviations Key

  • NP Algeti

    InformationSatellite 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

    InformationSatellite 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

    InformationSatellite 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

    InformationSatellite 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

    InformationSatellite 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

    InformationSatellite 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

    InformationSatellite 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

    InformationSatellite 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.
  • NR Borjomi

    InformationSatellite View
  • SNR Kintrishi Protected Landscape

    InformationSatellite View
    The Kintrishi State Nature Reserve covers 18,893 hectares (46,690 acres)
  • Wetlands

    WebpageSatellite View
    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


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  • Ecotours Georgia

    Tour Operator
    Ecotours Georgia offers weeklong trips to enjoy the
  • 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


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  • 2012 [May] - Henk Hendriks

    Report
  • 2013 [May] - Garry Armstrong - Georgia & Armenia

    Report PDF
  • 2014 [April] - Bob Maxfield

    Report
  • 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.]
  • 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.
  • 2018 [05 May] - Batumi Birding - Armenia & Georgia

    PDF Report
    Batumi Birding
  • 2018 [05 May] - Dani Lopez-Velasco

    PDF Report
    Our short tour to the High Caucasus of Georgia was a highly enjoyable and successful one. Most important, we had excellent views of all the Caucasian specialities: Caucasian Snowcock, Caucasian Grouse, Green Warbler, Caucasian (Mountain) Chiffchaff and (Caucasian) Great Rosefinch, amidst some spectacular scenery. We also found several sought-after species such as Bearded Vulture (Lammergeier), Krüper´s Nuthatch, no less than 7 Wallcreepers, giving amazing views, Semicollared Flycatcher, Red-fronted Serin and Common Rock Thrush, amongst others.
  • 2018 [09 September] - Johannes Jansen

    PDF Report
    ... our driver for the day who took us to the Oasis Hotel in Chakvi, noting Laughing Dove and Hooded Crows on route. Settling into our luxurious hotel, there was a little time for birding before lunch, and the surrounds of the hotel held several migrant Spotted Flycatchers and a single Reed Warbler, all migrants following a spell of morning rain. Meeting the rest of our group (who had arrived a day earlier, and so had a mornings birding to enjoy such delights as Kruper’s Nuthatch, Middle-spotted Woodpecker and a flock of around 20 Golden Orioles in the nearby Botanical Gardens)...
  • 2019 [04 April] - Alexander Rukhaia

    PDF Report
    On this particular trip a few photographers from the group have missed capturing a Güldenstädt's Redstart (Phoenicurus erythrogastrus) and a Great Rosefinch (Carpodacus rubicilla). We saw both birds up at almost 3000 meters, but the distance wouldn’t allow making proper images and also there was no option to walk further to the breeding site due to a deep snow, so sadly, at the end of the day we returned back to hotel without single footage of these elusive birds.
  • 2019 [04 April] - Julia Wittmann,

    PDF Report
    Our main reason to travel to Georgia was to see the avian specialties of the Caucasus. Caucasian Snowcock, Caucasian Grouse, Güldenstädt’s Redstart and Great Rosefinch are the big four of the mountains. But when we were there we found out that there is a lot more to see.
  • 2019 [05 May] - Alexander Rukhaia

    PDF Report
    This tour embraces all major and key birding hotspots of northern, eastern and southern Georgia; from the Greater to the Lesser Caucasus mountain range and to the country’s steppes in the east. The birding is undoubtedly remarkable, with a composition of diverse quintessential species typical to the region, as well as more widely spread in Europe and Central Asia.
  • 2019 [05 May] - Rod Standing - Georgia & Armenia

    PDF Report
    Georgia and Armenia! It’s hard to think of two more bird-rich and evocative countries in the Western Palearctic. So, when my brother Dom and I were looking at where to go for our first birding trip outside Israel, where Dom lives, the decision was easy.
  • 2019 [05 May] - Wendy Newnham

    Report
    ...Several tunnels had been built through the mountain where there was a threat of landslides and we did hear several landslides a few days later. It started to snow. We saw that there were a lot of migrant birds feeding up in the snow - Horned Lark, Northern Wheaters by the dozen, Water Pipits everywhere. There was nowhere really to park up but it was freezing and we weren’t dressed for the weather so we drove on...

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