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.

Contributors
  • Yannis Tsougrakis

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 454

    (As at June 2019)
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.
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
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

  • 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
  • NP Zagorohoria

    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…
  • 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.
  • 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


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…

  • 2008 [05 May] - Honeyguide - Eastern Greece

    Report
    Pdf
  • 2009 [05 May] - Honeyguide - Eastern Greece

    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…
  • 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 [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…
  • 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…
  • 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 [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

    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

    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.
  • 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....
  • 2017 [12 December] - Sue Bryan

    Report
    This holiday was a short break to enjoy Christmas in a setting that John and I both enjoy...that is birdwatching in a foreign land. John had been to Lake Kerkini, in Northern Greece before and I was keen to visit my hundredth country that was just a short drive away crossing the border into Bulgaria. We were lucky to find some winter sun to enjoy the birds that were amassing around the lake.
  • 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

    Report
    ...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 wouldhave 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, LesserKestrels and Bonelli’s Eagles including a pair talon grappling.
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
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
Photographers & Artists
  • Photographer - Panos Oikonomou

    Gallery
    Excellent all round wildlife photography with many super bird photos

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