Republic of Serbia

White-backed Woodpecker Denrocopos leucotos ©Arto Juvonen Website
Birding Serbia

In terms of biodiversity, the Balkan Peninsula is recognized as one of Europe’s finest birding regions. Within it, Serbia compares well with already established birding destinations like neighbouring Hungary or Bulgaria, as it has a greater diversity of habitats and birds than Hungary and a better infrastructure than Bulgaria. Reasonably good (and improving) accommodation is available near birding sites and, with the new democratic government and the return of political stability, the country is poised to provide the traveller with an exciting birding experience.

Bird NumbersThe number of bird species recorded in Serbia is 360 species. In recent years, 239 bird species were recorded breeding in Serbia (123 non-passerines and additional 116 passerines), quite a few of them increasing their breeding ranges: Black-headed Bunting, Cetti’s Warbler, Red-rumped Swallow, Black Redstart, etc.Significant percentages of European populations of Saker Falcon, Little Bittern, Purple Heron, Ferruginous Duck, Scops Owl, Middle Spotted and Syrian Woodpeckers, to mention but a few, breed in Serbia. Among the breeding birds, there are 103 species of European conservation concern (SPECs), which include six species of global conservation concern: Ferruginous Duck, Egyptian Vulture, Imperial Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Great Bustard and Corncrake. Interestingly, while they were not yet recorded in Serbia in the breeding season, Masked Shrike, Olive-tree Warbler and Sardinian Warbler were seen breeding just south of the border and it is not unlikely that some pairs might choose localities further north.For more detailed bird species data, check under extensive Top Sites.

RegionsNorth of Belgrade, the Pannonian plain is a lowland landscape with large rivers (Danube, Sava and Tisa), and to the south, hilly/mountainous landscapes are intersected by river valleys. Forest covers 27% of Serbia (25,625 km2), with the proportion of conifers being only 10%. For more detailed data on birding sites and habitats, check under Top Sites.

When to goSun can be formidable: don’t forget a wide-brimmed hat, water bottle and sunscreen cream. For wetland areas, insect repellent is also heartily recommended. An early start to any birding day is essential – mid-day summer temperatures often climb well into the thirties.Depending on your particular interest, opt for March/April (spring migration), May to July (breeding season), August to October (autumn migration and occasional vagrants), November/December when waterbird migration reaches its peak, or January/February period when more than 250,000 waterbirds overwinter on the lower Danube.

LogisticsAs Serbia is not a large country (only marginally smaller than Portugal, Hungary or the US state of Indiana) and the infrastructure is fairly well developed, it is possible to explore it in about dozen days and, with some advance planning and guidance from the local experts, build up a list of more than 150 species. Bear in mind that the local experts are concentrated in Belgrade and north of it and harder to find further south. Among travel guides, due to its extensive coverage of natural history and birding sites, recommendation goes to Laurence Mitchell’s Serbia: The Bradt Travel Guide (4th edition, 2007). The time has finally come for Serbia to be appreciated as another excellent birding destination in the Balkans.

Top Sites
  • Belgrade Area

    Confluence of the Sava and the Danube Rivers: (together with the river branches, ponds, willow and poplar forests of the Danube floodzone, along the northern bank, some dozen kilometres up and downstream), is surprisingly rich in birdlife. Local bird list is some 210 species long, about 100 of them breeding in the area. Another important breeding area is the neighbouring fish farm "Mika Alas" in the suburb of Krnja?a (reachable by buses No. 95 and 96; leave the bus at Sebe
  • Northern Plains

    Carska Bara Near Zrenjanin, Carska Bara is renowned for its variety of birdlife, with over 260 species recorded. Among reserve
  • Southern Gorges

    Djerdap Gorge Situated in north-east Serbia along the border with Romania and about 6 km in width by some 100 km in length, this national park covers a section of the river Danube gorge and adjacent belt of 768 m a.s.l. high Miroc mountain. Deciduous forest and scrub cover some 70% of the park, the rest are grassland, streams and limestone cliffs. Birds of the area include Black Stork, Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, Golden Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Booted Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Hazel Grouse, Rock Partridge, Corncrake, Stock Dove, Eagle Owl, Alpine Swift, Sombre Tit, Ortolan Bunting. The added attraction of the park is the presence of large mammals such as chamoa, brown bear and lynx. For non-birding members of a group, there are well preserved mediaeveal fortresses Golubac and Fetislam as well as the Lepenski Vir, eight millenia old Neolithic settlement famous upon its fish-like human head stone sculptures
  • Southern Mountains

    Mt. Kopaonik The largest and highest (2016 m a.s.l.) mountain of central Serbia and oversized winter sports centre. In the Ravni Kopaonik area coniferous forest (spruce) predominates, with a small area covered by alpine vegetation. Birds to look for are Honey Buzzard, Short-toed Eagle, Golden Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Rock Partridge, Corncrake, Woodcock, Tengmalm
Contributors
  • Dragan Simic

    | birdingserbia@gmail.com

  • Slobodan Puzovic

    Ornithologist | spuzovic@ns.sbb.co.yu

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 356

    (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

  • Birds of Serbia: Critical List of Species

    | By Marko Šćiban, Draženko Rajković, Dimitrije Radišić, Voislav Vasić & Uroš Pantović | Bird Protection & Study Society of Serbia | 2015 | Paperback | 194 pages, no illustrations | Text Serbian & English | ISBN: 9788691519964 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Collins Bird Guide

    | By Lars Svensson Peter Grant, Killian Mullarny, Dan Zetterstrom | HarperCollins | 2010 | Paperback | 392 pages, 3500 colour illustrations, 700 colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9780007268146 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Where to Watch Birds in Europe and Russia

    | By Nigel Wheatley | Princeton University Press | 2000 | Paperback | 432 pages | ISBN: 9780713648706 Buy this book from NHBS.com
Museums & Universities
  • Belgrade Natural History Museum

    Website
    Founded on December 19, 1895, it is one of the oldest specialised scientific institutions set up in Serbia. Rich tradition of studies of Gea, Botany and Zoology
Organisations
  • Birds Protection and Study Society of Vojvodina

    Website
    Bird Protection and Study Society of Serbia (BPSSS) was established on November 18th 1989 as Bird Protection and Study Society of Vojvodina. . Society was founded as a result of activities of the Commission for Study and Protection of Birds of The Society of Ecologists of Vojvodina, which gathered professional and amateur ornithologists mainly from the territory of Serbian Province of Vojvodina. Initially, the activities of the Bird Protection and Study Society of Serbia involved issuing of journal and annual gatherings of its members. Decision on change of name of Society, in line with its dedicated work in the whole territory of Serbia and strategic way towards establishing the partnership with BirdLife International, was adopted on eargy General Assembly on 18 December 2010 by majority of voices of members. Statute of the Society was also changed, in line with current rlegislative regulating organizing of civil society. Society was registered in Registry of Association within Serbian Bussines Agency Register under the new name on 12. May 2011.
  • Birds of Prey Protection Fund

    Website
    Birds of Prey Protection Fund is dedicated to the conservation of diurnal and nocturnal raptors in Serbia. The most significant project undertaken by the BPPF was Save the Griffon Vulture Campaign which increased dwindling population of this species up to the biggest flock in the central Balkans. Write to the Fond za zastitu ptica grabljivica, Despota Stefana 142, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia; e-mail: grifon@ibiss.bg.ac.yu
  • Institute for Protection of Nature of Serbia

    Website
    Institute for Nature Conservation of Serbia is a professional institution that carries out activities on protection and improvement of the natural heritage of Serbia. The Institute was founded on April 30th 1948 as the Institute for Protection and Scientific Research in Natural Rarities of the People's Republic of Serbia.
  • League for Ornithological Action (LOA)

    Website
    The goal of the League for Ornithological Action (LOA) is protecting the birds through the preservation of their species, habitats and sites through the involvement of people. Belgrade group has monthly evening meetings at the Institute for Protection of Nature of Serbia featuring talks and slide shows, while bird walks take place in and around Belgrade. Membership fee includes a free copy of quarterly pdf newsletter Dvogled (The Binoculars, with short English summaries). For information, please write to: Goran Sekulic, Secretary, Liga za ornitolosku akciju, Dr. Ivana Ribara 91, 11070 Belgrade, Serbia; or loa@ptica.org . See also
Reserves

Abbreviations Key

  • BR Golija

    InformationSatellite View
    Golija is a mountain in southwestern Serbia, between towns of Ivanjica and Novi Pazar. It is part of the Dinaric mountain range. The mountain is heavily forested with significant biodiversity.
  • NP Fruška Gora

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Fruska Gora is an isolated, narrow, island mountain in Pannonia plain. It is intended by river courses extending to the south and north, with some side ranges with steep slopes, spreading from the main narrow range. Its location, specific geological history and different microclimatic conditions make it very interesting and important to science. Park is home to 211 bird species. Symbol of Fruška Gora is eastern imperial eagle, today with only 2 or 3 remaining breeding couples. There are 60 mammalian species, of which 17 are protected, including edible dormouse, European pine marten, European polecat and Mediterranean water shrew.[2] Out of 30 species of bats which live in Serbia, 15 inhabits the mountain and all are under strict protection. In January 2018, for the first time after the 1960s, additional mouflons were introduced in the park. 30 animals were relocated from Slovakia, which raised the number of mouflons in the park to 70
  • NP Kopaonik

    WebpageSatellite View
    Situated in the central part of Serbia, the Kopaonik National Park with its 11810 hectares encompasses the highest parts of this mountain range marked by the valleys of the rivers of Ibar, Jošanica, Toplica and Brzeæa reka…
  • NP Tara

    InformationSatellite View
    Tara is a mountain located in western Serbia. It is part of Dinaric Alps and stands at 1,000 to 1,590 m (3,280 to 5,220 ft) above sea level. The mountain's slopes are clad in dense forests with numerous high-altitude clearings and meadows, steep cliffs, deep ravines carved by the nearby Drina River and many karst, or limestone caves. 135 bird species make their temporary or permanent homes on the slopes of the mountain, including golden eagle, griffon vulture, peregrine falcon, Eurasian eagle owl and black grouse. On Perućac lake on the Drina, there is a population of common merganser, with 50 pairs. Tara has 53 mammals including the protected brown bear and otter, as well as chamois, roe deer, lynx, wolf, jackal, wild boar and marten.
  • NP Đerdap

    InformationSatellite View
    The Djerdap National Park embraces part of the area of the Djerdap Canyon known as the Iron Gates in the central part of the Danube river course,and is divided by the international border running along the middle of the river into the southern - Yugoslav and the northern - Rumanian part. The total area of the National Park is 63.600 ha and the protection zone consists of another 93.968 ha. The park is also a home to 150 bird species.
  • NR Carska Bara

    InformationSatellite View
    Carska Bara is the best known for its abundant bird life and the first ornithological exploration began in the late 19th century. There are 240 bird species in the area. There are colonies of herons (grey heron, little egret) and cormorants (including pygmy cormorant), and other species include buzzards, Eurasian sparrowhawks, common spoonbills, western marsh harrier, Montagu's harrier, red-breasted goose, osprey, stork, woodcock etc. Some 110 bird species are migratory.
  • NR Deliblatska Peščara

    InformationSatellite View
    Deliblato Sands is a large sandy area covering around 300 km² in Vojvodina province. It is located in southern Banat, situated between the river Danube and the southwestern slopes of the Carpathian Mountains. The area is rich in floral diversity. Rare fauna include the mole rat, steppe polecat, desert ant and steppe gerbil. The main source of food for some endangered birds of prey, such as the saker falcon, eastern imperial eagle and lesser spotted eagle, are ground squirrels that live in large open fields. Other noted animals are the wolf, deer, roe deer and boar.
  • NR Gornje Podunavlje

    InformationSatellite View
    is a large protected area of wetland in the northwest of Serbia (Vojvodina province), on the Danube's left bank. It comprises two large marshes, Monoštorski Rit and Apatinski Rit and vast forests, meadows, ponds, swamps and the Danube's meanders. The area is home to some important species such as white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) or black stork (Ciconia nigra), but also to ferruginous duck and Eurasian spoonbill. A total of 248 species of birds live in the reserve, or 71% of all bird species in Serbia (349).
  • NR Uvac

    InformationSatellite View
    Uvac Special Nature Reserve is a category 1 reserve. It is known for the successful project ensuring the preservation of griffon vultures. The main attraction in the reserve is the avifauna, with 172 bird species.
  • NR WII Obedska bara

    InformationSatellite View
    Obedska bara is a large swamp-forest area and natural reserve stretching along the Sava River in Southern Syrmia, some 40 km west of Belgrade. The pond is an oxbow lake, a remnant of the meanders of the old Sava River, whose main stream presently flows more southward. It is home to around 220 species of birds.
  • WeRv WII IBA Zasavica

    InformationSatellite View
    Zasavica is a bog in the region of Mačva, west-central Serbia. With Obedska bara and Carska Bara one of the major wildlife refuges and one of the last authentically preserved wetlands in Serbia. In the 2000s became a popular attraction with the successful reintroduction of the beavers, which had become extinct 100 years ago. There are 185 species of birds in the reservation, of which 120 are resident. Because of such a large number of birds, including rarities like night heron and spotted crake, Zasavica is included in the list of IBAs. Since 1998, 20 artificial nesting platforms have been placed throughout the reserve. Other species include great reed warbler, little bittern, common quail, white stork, black stork, Eurasian bittern, white-tailed eagle, western marsh harrier, etc.
  • Wetlands

    WebpageSatellite View
    The convention entered into force in Serbia on 27 April 1992. Serbia currently has 10 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), with a surface area of 63,919 hectares.
Guides & Tour Operators


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  • Birdwatch Serbia

    Tour Operator
    379 bird species have been recorded in Serbia and Montenegro. Of these, 333 occur regularly and 260 breed. Among the breeding species, there are five species of global conservation concern: Ferruginous Duck, Imperial Eagle, Lesser Kestrel, Great Bustard and Corncrake. Other Serbian specials include Pygmy Cormorant, Black Stork, Glossy Ibis, Spoonbill, Griffon Vulture, Saker Falcon, Common Crane and Collared Flycatcher
Trip Reports


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  • 2013 [06 June] - Jan Landsverk - Vojvodina

    Report
    My wife and I spent a week in Vojvodina in northern Serbia in a town called Novi Knezevac, close to the Hungarian border from June 17 to June 23 2013. We went here because some friends had recommended the dentist in this town, and we needed to fix our teeth, which would save us a lot of money. The air-ticket with the Polish Wizzair cost only 25 US dollars both ways from Torp, Sandefjord to Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. We were picked up at the airport late at night and drove the 3 hours up to this town….
  • Dragan Simic - Birdwatch Belgrade

    Report
    In an effort to answer the questions where to see the birds that epitomize the area, which sites should be visited and when is the best time to go there, this short guide describes the 14 birding spots in and around Belgrade, and makes brief mention of 6 Important Bird Areas nearby.
  • Dragan Simic - Top Birding Sites

    Report
    In an effort to answer the questions where to see the birds that epitomize the region, what sites should be given priority, and when is the best time to go, this short article makes a brief mention of 18 globally Important Bird Areas
Places to Stay


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  • Village farm house - Stara Moravica

    Accommodation
    Stara Moravica in Vojvodina - Give yourself a break! - Enjoy the rhythms of village life. Rest in an older Europe
Other Links
  • Birding the Labudovo okno Ramsar site in winter

    Webpage
    Half past six, barely one degree Celsius, but the snow is melting fast. East, down the Danube we go, to the Labudovo Okno Ramsar site (Serbian for “swan lake”). Near the sand dunes, the first “V” made out of a hundred or so Greater White-fronted Geese, They spend the night on the water and in the morning they spread over arable fields to forage; but most of them do so at the crack of dawn and these 100 must have overslept...
  • Serbia - Birding Overview of a Year in the Central Balkans

    Webpage
    Serbia has 317 eBirded species so far, or 89% of the 356 in the national checklist. The country has one eBird hotspot with 200+ and 48 with more than 100 bird species. North of Belgrade, the Pannonian plain is a lowland landscape with large, lazily meandering rivers (Danube, Sava and Tisa), while to the south hilly/mountainous landscapes are intersected by river valleys. Among travel guides, due to its extensive coverage of natural history and birding sites, recommendation goes to Laurence Mitchell’s Serbia: The Bradt Travel Guide (5th edition, 2017).
  • The 20 best Birds of Belgrade & Where to Find Them

    Webpage
    Some five years ago I was involved in a project of ecotourism evaluation of the river Danube in Serbia, which included the city of Belgrade, founded at the bank of this river. The toughest thing for me, as a local birder, was to choose the most attractive birds because those that attract my attention are generally all too common in the northwest of Europe, from where most visiting birders are coming.
  • The Top 5 Birding Hotspots of Serbia

    Webpage
    “I would certainly recommend Serbia to visiting birders. My own trip was not an intensive birding experience, and August is clearly not the most productive month. I chalked up 132 species in a pretty relaxed eight days, during which birds shared the agenda with culture. Nonetheless, I visited some excellent habitats, especially the flooded wetlands, and saw some good birds,” wrote the UK Birdwatch Magazine journalist Mike Unwin of his bird tour of northern Serbia 15 years ago.
  • Where to Watch Shorebirds Around Belgrade

    Webpage
    Shorebirds (in Europe: waders) must be an acquired birding taste. No one starts birding dreaming of drab-coloured, unobtrusive and, far on a mud-bar, largely invisible little mud-skippers. In Europe, people start birding when they see a Common Kingfisher or a Golden Oriole, hoping to see more jewels like that, but not a Wood Sandpiper. Who even spots a Woodsand without deliberately searching for birds?
  • Where to watch birds in Belgrade

    Webpage
    While there are some two dozen birding spots in Belgrade, Serbia, that stand out, in this guideblog I will focus on the river Danube and its floodplain, inside the Important Bird Area “Confluence of the Sava and the Danube Rivers...
  • Where to watch birds in the Iron Gates / Djerdap National Park

    Webpage
    Beside birds, in this park you stand a chance of spotting the Eurasian Lynx, Brown Bear and Gray Wolf! Well, do you really? I was about to say that I haven’t seen any of these in the wild (only tracks of Bear and Wolf in the snow, but not in this park) and then I remembered one Serbian ornithologist who often visited this area and once, while driving through the forest in the night, had the most elusive of the trio – the Lynx – framed in his headlights. So, yes – it is possible, but by no means easy...
Blogs
  • Dragan Simic

    BLOG
    Dragan Simic is obsessively passionate about two things – birding and travelling in search of birds, and that has taken him from his native Balkans to the far shores of Europe and the Mediterranean, southern Africa, India and Central America.
  • Dragan Simic - Dragan's Birding Tips

    BLOG
    Highly Commended in the 2015 BBC @WildlifeMag Blogger Awards; writer, birder, guide, ecotourism consultant, environmental scientist, conservation campaigner
  • Dragan Simic - Dvogled I Veslo (Binoculars and Oars)

    BLOG
    Albicilla Belgrade, Serbia, naturalist, author, editor, translator… Beside birds and traveling in search of them, I like a good beer and the croaky voice of Shane MacGowan, hate confinements of four walls, but prefer four wheels and a lot of elbow room around. Birder by passion and environmental scientist by education, I am an ecotourism consultant, a field researcher and a bird blogger who always thinks that birding must be better behind that next bend in the road, and that the best bird ever is – the next lifer.
Photographers & Artists
  • Photographer - Katarina Paunovic

    Gallery
    Born in Belgrade (capital city of Serbia). Currently living in Novi Sad. She developed interest in photography at very early age thanks to her father who was an amateur photographer himself.

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