Republic of Turkey

Eastern Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans albistriata ©Steve Arlow Website
Birding Turkey

Always wanted to see birds en mass but never have? Don’t worry come to Turkey and we can satisfy all your birding needs! The country encompasses two main routes for birds migrating en mass. Twice a year, the land and water habitats of the country offers hospitality to migrating birds, some of which also breed here.

Turkey’s vast land of over 800,000 square kilometers, surrounded on three sides by seas, serves as a bridge between three continents. A large variety of climatic zones co-exist due to its topography. The northern belt of humid forest, contrasting with the arid fame of the country, are home to rare White-backed Woodpecker, Greenish Warbler and Semi-collared Flycatcher. The Mediterranean coast harbours more than half of the world population of Rüppell’s Warbler, Olive-tree Warbler, the near-endemic Krueper’s Nuthatch, Masked Shrike and Cretzschmar’s Bunting,. The beautiful scenary of high mountains are accompanied with the presence of Caspian Snowcock, Alpine and Radde’s Accentor and Red-fronted Serin. Although located in the Palearctic zone, especially in the Southeast and the East, the Influence of oriental and Ethiopic (African) elements are observable. The Hakkari-Van plateau exhibit the influence of asiatic flora and fauna, where one can find the rare Demoiselle Crane, Red-wattled Lapwing, Armenian Gull, Mongolian Finch & Grey-necked Bunting; the Hatay-Amanos bridge exhibits elements of Africa such as Cream-coloured Courser and Little Swift. With this extremely high diversity of habitats, Turkey is considered by many to be the best country for birds and birding in Europe. Turkey is considered by many to be the best country for birds and birding in Europe.

Gernant Magnin describes the opportunities which awaits the demanding birder thus: Try the eastern Black Sea mountains that offer days of hiking and camping in magnificent alpine landscapes, with thousands of migrating birds of prey, calling Caspian Snowcocks above 2,600 metres and, above all, breathtaking silence. For people who would rather visit flat wetlands and can do without all the climbing, try wetlands near Ankara, to see breeding Red-crested Pochards, Monatagu`s Harriers, and vast numbers of waterfowl can be seen in winter and spring; the surrounding steppe holds Black-headed Buntings, Short-toed, Lesser short-toed, Bimaculated, Calandra and Horned Larks.

The country even hosts some endangered species: The Bald Ibis Geronticus eremita has recently recovered and the captive bred population has started colonising other areas… If you choose to combine archeological interest with an ornithological one, try visiting the ancient city of Zeugma, then quickly on to the nearby site of Birecik to observe the breeding colony of this sacred bird. Happy birding.

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 482

    As of July 2018

  • iGoTerra Checklist

    iGoTerra Checklist
    Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web
  • iGoTerra Checklist

    Turkey (Asia)
    Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web
  • iGoTerra Checklist

    Turkey (Europe)
    Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web
Useful Reading

  • A Birdwatchers Guide to Turkey

    | By Ian Green & Nigel Moorhouse | Prion | 1995 | Paperback | 122 pages, Line illustrations, maps | ISBN: 9781871104059 Buy this book from
  • Finding Birds in Eastern Turkey

    | By Dave Gosney | Easybirder | 1993 | Paperback | 24 pages, b/w maps | ISBN: 9781907316203 Buy this book from
  • Finding Birds in North-West Turkey

    | By Dave Gosney | EastBirder | 2014 | Paperback | 40 Pages, Black & White Maps | ISBN: 9781907316500 Buy this book from
  • Finding Birds in South-West Turkey

    | By Dave Gosney | EasyBirder | 2014 | All Region DVD | Runtime 72 Minutes | ISBN: 9781907316470 Buy this book from
  • Finding Birds in South-West Turkey

    | By Dave Gosney | EasyBirder | 2014 | Paperback | 40 Pages , Black & White Maps | ISBN: 9781907316463 Buy this book from
  • Important Bird Areas in Turkey

    | By G Magnin & M Yarar | DHKD | 1997 | Paperback | 313 pages, Illustrations, colour maps | ISBN: 9789759608170 Buy this book from
  • The Birds of Turkey

    | By Guy M Kirwan, Kerem A Boyla, P Castell, B Demirci & M Ozen | Christopher Helm | 2008 | Hardback | 512 pages, 32 plates with colour photos, b/w distribution maps | ISBN: 9781408104750 Buy this book from
  • The Birds of Turkey (Species List in Red Data Book)

    | By Ilhami Kiziroglu | By Ilhami Kiziroglu | 2008 | Paperback | 151 pages, Colour photos, tables | ISBN: 9789757460046 Buy this book from
  • The Pocket Book for Birds of Turkey

    | (Türkiye Kuşlari cep Kitabi) | By Ilhami Kiziroglu | Ilhami Kiziroglu | 2009 | Paperback | 534 pages, Colour photos, maps | ISBN: 9789757460015 Buy this book from
Useful Information
  • BirdLife Dogal Hayati Koruma Dernegi (DHKD) is the BirdLife Partner
Museums & Universities
  • Ege University

    Birdwatching Group
  • Doga Dernegi (Nature Society)

    Doga is the partner of BirdLife International Turkey, and its work is driven by the demand to take action to sustain biodiversity. Our mission is to defend the rights of nature in all its forms including its processes, which are necessary for persistence of life on earth.
  • Hacettepe University Birding Club

    A small but old group formed by the ornithologist Ilhami Kiziroglu at Hacettepe University.
  • KuzeyDoga Society

    Northeastern Turkey environmental organization conducing community-based conservation, environmental education, bird research, bird ringing, habitat restoration, and birdwatching tourism to benefit local villages. KuzeyDoga has documented 313 bird species in the Kars region and has ringed over half of them. Accepts volunteers for bird ringing and bird monitoring…
  • Metu [Middle East Technical University] Birdwatching Club

    In 1990 the birdwatchers among METU students were active under BIYOT. With the need of an independent club we established METU-BC in 1995. We have been studying birds of our University Campus (METU-Campus) throughout the year. And we performed many exhibition & slide show presentations for giving interesting information about bird in our environment
  • Subasi Birdwatching Club

    A small group of very active birders from Antakya, the most southern province of Turkey. The group has added Buff-bellied Pipit to Turkish list.

Abbreviations Key

  • Dogu Karadeniz Daglari

    InformationSatellite View
    The site includes a major bottleneck of migratory birds of prey (the Coruh valley and many other valleys that raptors use to cross the mountain range); as well as three major mountain ranges (Soganli, Kaçkar, and Karçal) noted for their extensive forests and extensive alpine habitats (representing a fine example of Eurasian high mountain habitat). A number of newly discovered sites that would have qualified as IBAs in their own right have been included within this IBA, emphasizing the fact that the area is of uniform character and that conservation of the area requires a large scale approach…
  • IBA Gediz Delta

    WebpageSatellite View
    An extensive coastal wetland situated 25 km north-west of Ýzmir. Shoals and islands separate four saline lagoons (totalling 3,450 ha) from the sea. The site also includes 5,000 ha of saltmarsh and 650 ha of freshwater marsh. Dry grassland and arable land occur north of the commercial saltpans. A fishing cooperative operates in the çilazmak lagoon; the IBA is a popular weekend destination from Ýzmir….
  • IBA Göksu Delta

    WebpageSatellite View
    The majority of the delta is used intensively by man and comprises agricultural land, settlements, wetlands, sand-dunes and beaches. Akglake is a permanent nutrient-rich freshwater lake supporting rich marsh vegetation (including extensive Potamogeton, Scirpus, Typha and Phragmites beds). Saltmarsh surrounds the major lakes; the dunes are of particular conservation interest due to their intact and dynamic nature.
  • IBA NR Lake Kömüşini

    InformationSatellite View
    The lake and its surroundings were granted a special protected area status due to the population of world-wide endangered species white-headed duck, which breeds here.
  • NR Esmekaya Sazligi

    WebpageSatellite View
    The site consists of an open permanent freshwater lake (Esmekaya lake which is groundwater fed); large expanses of marsh and rush pastures on both sides of the main Konya-Aksaray road which bisects the site, two salt lakes (Akgöl lake and Bezirci, or Günesli, lake) and a number of small satellite wetlands east of the main lake (Turna lake, Sülüklü lake and Tepeköy marshlands). The site also includes Esmekaya village for its breeding population of Lesser Kestrel. Juncus covers most of the dry and salty soils, especially in the southern part of the IBA. Typha and Cladium mariscus, are common to the north with Phragmites being the dominant species around the freshwater lake…
  • NR Çığlıkara

    InformationSatellite View
    It covers an area of 15,889 ha (39,260 acres). It is home to nearly 400 plant species, among them endemic flora and seven as natural monument registered old trees. The forest was registered a nature reserve on registered July 5, 1991
  • National Parks, Wild Life, Wetlands of Turkey

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Brief descriptions of National Parks
  • WR Kuyucuk Lake

    InformationSatellite View
    Situated in Kars, near Armenia, this is Turkey's latest Ramsar wetland and the only Ramsar site in eastern Turkey. Home to at least 207 bird species, including over 10,000 ruddy shelduck, white-headed duck, and rarities such as red-breasted goose, white-tailed lapwing, and greater sandplover. Chosen as Turkey's 2009 European Destination of Excellence (EDEN), Lake Kuyucuk is home to a bird ringing station, a comfortable guesthouse, and Turkey's first island constructed for breeding birds and other wildlife…
  • Wetlands

    WebpageSatellite View
    The convention entered into force in Turkey on 13 November 1994. Turkey currently has 14 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), with a surface area of 184,487 hectares.
Forums & Mailing Lists
  • Gedizkuslar (the birds of Gediz Delta in Turkish)

    Mailing List
    Mailing list for Izmir area bird watchers
Guides & Tour Operators
  • Ali Safak

    I am the guide here, who interested in these things can contact with me. I know Aladag's very well. If you contact with me I will help in all things
  • Birdwatch Turkey Tours

    Tour Operator
    BirdWatch Turkey is a small venture lead by Kerem Ali Boyla and Soner Bekir since 2008. Kerem is one of the leading ornithologists of Turkey as well as a biologist and ecologist. He has worked with BirdLife International and is the manager of national bird database and the coauthor of "The Birds of Turkey". He speaks English, German and Spanish. Soner is the top bird lister in Turkey and a professional bird photographer with 388 species in Turkey, including the first Siberian Accentor and Lapland Bunting for the country. He has recently rediscovered Brown Fish Owl. He speaks English and Greek. Together we offer long birding tours all across Turkey, including airport transport, transportation, accommodation and food. Some of the tours have fixed dates and others are planned upon your request. Moreover we offer daily tours in Istanbul region. We can also incorporate cultural and archeological guiding to sites such as Ephesus, Cappadocia and Historical Istanbul. Please visit our website and contact us at
  • Indigo Tourism

    Tour Operator
    Our firm was established in 1995 and our aim has always been to positively promote Turkish tourism abroad, whilst maintaining a high service to international tour operators who are marketing Turkey overseas. Our executives have over 20 years experience in the travel business but, continue to feel motivated, creative and attempt to provide dynamic and exciting holidays and services to each and every client. Our firm has always believed the philosophy of quality rather than quantity and our ultimate belief is that We would prefer to lose money than lose the faith of our clients. Offering tailor made tours for induvidual and groups with turkish hospitality including birdwatching itineraries etc.
  • Lirita Tours

    Tour Operator
    Turkey is a unique place for watching birds considering the diversity of both migratory and non-migratory bird species. There are two major reasons for this abundance. Turkey's range of different ecosystems and it's position on bird's migratory routes. Turkey has 7 geographical areas, each with it's own natural features, ecosystems, climate and wildlife. These include, arid steppe, deciduous and coniferous forests, mountains, coastal areas and more .So there are many opportunities for wild birds and other wildlife of all kinds
  • Sultan Birding

    ...You can watch over moustached warbler, bearded tit, reed bunting, pygmy cormorant, red necked grebe, black necked grebe, white-headed duck and many other waterfowl with boat tour. It is possible to see over 40 – 60 species. The boat tour approximately takes 2 - 3 hours...
Trip Reports

Click on WAND to see Fatbirder’s Trip Report Repository…

  • 2015 [04 April] - Stephen Burch - Antalya

    ...Heading to the east and away from the road, I spent a bit of time wandering around the bushy, dry terrain seeing only several Lesser Whitethroats, but things improved when I moved towards some goat herders' shelters on a flattish, greener area (see above coordinates) when I first heard and then saw one superb singing White-throated Robin. There was also a Ruppell's Warbler in the same area, although it wasn't obliging for photos. Also a Hoopoe...
  • 2016 [07 July] - Duncan Orr-Ewing - Kalkan area

    PDF Report
    ...The yellow-vented bulbul can be seen easily around the town, with the area behind the Yali supermarket, pretty good. For this species look for areas with palms. In all visits,I have seen Audouin’s and yellow-legged gulls in Kalkan harbour and rock nuthatch and blue rock thrush on the crags above the public beach. Chukar, Ruppells warbler, eastern bonelli’s warbler, Syrian woodpecker, sombre tit, woodchat and masked shrikes are also straightforward here, particularly in the aforementioned scrub and rocky area below the Elmali road....
  • 2016 [08 August] - Felix Adams

    ...I set myself three main target birds: Krüper’s Nuthatch, Smyrna (White-Breasted/Throated) Kingfisher and White-Throated Robin. A final list of around 80 species was good enough for me...
  • 2019 [05 May] - Chris Barfield - Southwest Turkey

    PDF Report
    I spent two weeks birding between Manavgat in the east and Koycegiz in the west, and inland to Akseki and Lakes Burdur, Isikli and Acigol, with the object of adding to my life list. My main guide was Dave Gosney’s 2014 book ‘Finding Birds In South West Turkey’, and I also bought ‘The Birds Of Turkey’ (Kirwan et al 2008), a hardback book which although much more expensive, gives much interesting background on the birds and their distribution. I also found Brendan Searson’s ‘Dalyan Birding’ website very useful.
  • 2022 [06 June] - Daan Drukker

    PDF Report
    Southeastern Turkey has many extra species, but we purposely restricted ourselves to a relatively small region to get to know a wide array of wildlife, but also culture and general exploring. We recorded everything on, where you can find GPS coördinates as well, but in this report, extra information is given.
  • 2023 [03 March] - Dylan Vasapoilli

    PDF Report
    Our trip around this beautiful city gave us many exciting species, including Pallid Harrier, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Citrine Wagtail, Garganey, Marsh Sandpiper, Alpine Swift, Greater Flamingo, Yelkouan Shearwater, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Eurasian Penduline Tit, Short-toed Treecreeper, and Black Redstart. A total of 73 bird species were recorded during the tour, with the full species list at the end of this report.
Places to Stay

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  • Accommodation
    Our pension is at the junction of the road to Cukurbag ob the road from Nigde to Camardi. Buses are avaliable 25 times from Nigde each day. There are also taxis. I and My family are mountain guides and can arrange donkeys/mules and trekking equipments. My area is very nice for birdwatching trekking climbing.For example you can see in here Snowcock.
  • Sultan Pansion

    Accommodation for birders right by the marshes...
Other Links
  • A Birders Guide to Turkey

  • Dalyan Birding

    A site to help you find the birds you want whilst enjoying a holiday too! Some great photos too!
  • Kusbank

    KusBank is an Internet-based spatial database about birds, their science and their distribution, that allows users from anywhere in the world to input and query Turkish bird data.The system provides the facility to download data into Excel and analyse them for personal requirements. A project supported by RSPB, BirdLife International and Doga dernegi…
  • Moda'nin Kuslari

    Bird Photography from Moda [Istanbul]
  • Recent Bird News from Turkey

    For more than one year we (Turkish birders) have been steadily catching up, and now there are more than ten birding groups in 10 different regions of the country. I hope we will keep this going well and will be able to achieve a proper coverage of the country as soon as possible. We have regular meetings, counts and communications. I`ll be sending information about not only rare birds in my country but also interesting records according to the time or location
Photographers & Artists

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