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.

  • Yannis Tsougrakis

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 455

    (As at June 2019)
  • 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 Greece

    | By Rebecca Nason | Bloomsbury Publishing | 2020 | Paperback | 160 pages, colour photos | ISBN: 9781472949035 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: 9789602263372 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
  • 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: 9780600582328 Buy this book from NHBS.com
Useful Information
  • BirdLife

    Hellenic Ornithological Society (HOS) is the BirdLife Partner.
Museums & Universities
  • Natural History Museum - Thessaloniki

    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
  • Birdwing

    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

    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

Abbreviations Key

  • NP Kerkini Lake

    WebsiteSatellite 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

    WebsiteSatellite View
    The area contains three National Parks located in Albania (Prespa National Park), Greece, and the Republic of Macedonia respectively
  • NP Rodia Wetlands

    WebsiteSatellite 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
  • Nestos Lakes

    WebpageSatellite 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.
  • SPA Evros Delta

    WebsiteSatellite 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

    WebpageSatellite 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.
  • Vikos–Aoös National Park

    InformationSatellite 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…
  • Wetlands

    WebsiteSatellite View
    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
  • Greece Bird Tours

    Tour Operator
    Since 2003, we have organised tailor-made birding tours, mainly around Athens. However, we also offer longer trips on the mainland as well as to Lemnos, Lesvos and Crete.
  • Greece Birding Tours

    Tour Operator
    Greece is one of Europe’s oldest nations. Known also as the Hellenic Republic (its official name), or Hellas, it is a country where the sea influences life, as it has done for thousands of years.
  • Honeyguide

    Tour Operator
    The district of Evros in the north-eastern region of Thrace, overlooking the border with Turkey, is one of the least developed areas of 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.
  • 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
  • 2010 [04 April] - Honeyguide - Eastern Greece

    …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

    …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 [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

    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 [09 September] - Mike Neale

    Annotated list…
  • 2015 [01 January] - Greenwings

    PDF Report
    The base for our holiday was Chrysohorafa, a village located within Lake Kerkini National Park, northern Greece. It is a magical area for observing wildlife and particularly birdwatching and is an internationally renowned wetland site with protected status under the Ramsar Convention. It is also one of the best places in the world to see the globally endangered Dalmatian Pelican. The Park boasts over 300 bird species.
  • 2015 [04 Aopril] - Natural Greece - 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] - 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 [07 July] - Gary Jones

    Report PDF
    ...Greece is a stunningly beautiful country where memorable wildlifespectacles are almost the norm. We were reasonably successful with objective b) but for thefrustrating lack of Levant Sparrowhawk, a common enough species which other people seem tohave seen as a matter of course. We made no special plans for Levant Sparrowhawk assumingone would turn up: it didn’t.
  • 2015 [11 November] - Christopher Hall - Lake Kerkini NP

    ... 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

    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] - Greenwings

    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 [12 December] - Iordan Hristov - Lake Kerkini

    PDF Report
    I guided a group of 15 students on bird identification trip to lake Kerkini in the weekend December 10-11, 2016. We saw a total of 70 birds. Some the highlights were Dalmatian Pelican, Greater spotted Eagle, Lesser spotted Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Bittern, Greater Flamingo, Pygmy Cormorant, Bewick Swans and many more.
  • 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 beexpected 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), BlacktailedGodwits, 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, 2Black Redstarts, Grey Wagtail, 3 Meadow Pipits and more than a dozen Hawfinches. Justbefore 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, mostlyWood, 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

    ...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...
  • 2019 [06 June] - Mike Neale

    PDF Report
    A Late Spring visit to Northern Greece. Highlights included the driving along picturesque roads, trekking in wonderful valleys and magnificent views of Dalmatian and White Pelicans, Glossy Ibis, Spoonbills, Pygmy Cormorants, 4 species of Shrikes, Golden Orioles, Penduline tits and Black headed Buntings as well as several great Insects and Reptiles. Bird numbers were not high, perhaps 3 weeks earlier would have been ideal. Weather was variable, rain storms and then temperatures up to 30°C. People were very friendly and Food excellent.
Other Links
  • Birding, Ecotravelling and Photography in Greece

    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 of Kastoria & Agia Sotira

    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

    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

    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

    Up to date list from the Hellenic Ornithological Society
  • Deep in birds

    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
  • Athens Birds

    Birds of Athens… Last updated March 2016
  • Hellenic Birds & Wildlife

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

    Birding and Wildilife experience in Hellenic Nature! Last updated March 2015
  • Koele & The Birds

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

    Photos of birds and other wildlife taken on Mount Olympus… Last updated October 2017
  • Nature in Greece

    Birds and birding in Greece… in Greek
Photographers & Artists
  • Photographer - Panos Oikonomou

    Excellent all round wildlife photography with many super bird photos
  • Photographer - Spyros Skareas

    Born and grown up in Athens, Greece. Wildlife photography is what I enjoy most...

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