Republic of Turkey

Ruppell's Warbler Sylvia rueppelli ©Zeynel Cebeci (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Wikimedia Website

Turkey is a country mainly in Anatolia in West Asia, with a smaller part called East Thrace in Southeast Europe. It is also sometimes considered part of the Middle East. It borders the Black Sea to the north; Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iran to the east; Iraq, Syria, and the Mediterranean Sea (and Cyprus) to the south; and the Aegean Sea, Greece, and Bulgaria to the west. Turkey is home to over 86 million people; most are ethnic Turks, while ethnic Kurds are the largest ethnic minority. Officially a secular state, Turkey has a Muslim-majority population. Ankara is Turkey’s capital but only the second-largest city, yet has about 5.5 million residents. Istanbul is its largest city, and its economic and financial centre, as well as the largest city in Europe with over 16 million inhabitants. Other major cities include İzmir, Bursa and Antalya.

Turkey covers an area of 783,562 k² (302,535 square miles). With the Turkish straits and Sea of Marmara in between, Turkey bridges Western Asia and Southeastern Europe, although Turkey’s Asian side covers 97% of its surface; Turkey’s European side, includes around 10% of the population and covers 3% of the surface area. Turkey is divided into seven major regions: Marmara, Aegean, Central Anatolia, Black Sea, Eastern Anatolia, Southeastern Anatolia and the Mediterranean. As a general trend, the inland Anatolian Plateau becomes increasingly rugged as it progresses eastward.  Mountain ranges include Köroğlu and Pontic mountain ranges to the north, and the Taurus Mountains to the south. The Lakes Region contains some of the largest lakes in Turkey such as Lake Beyşehir and Lake Eğirdir.

Geographers have used the eastern Anatolian plateau, Iranian plateau, and Armenian plateau terms to refer to the mountainous area around where Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates merge. The eastern Anatolian plateau and Armenian plateau definitions largely overlap. The Eastern Anatolia Region contains Mount Ararat, Turkey’s highest point at 16,854 feet, and Lake Van, the largest lake in the country. Eastern Turkey is home to the sources of rivers such as the Euphrates, Tigris and Aras. The Southeastern Anatolia Region includes the northern plains of Upper Mesopotamia.

Mount Ararat – ©Safa.daneshvar, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Turkey’s position at the crossroads of the land, sea and air routes between the three Old World continents and the variety of the habitats across its geographical regions have produced considerable species diversity and a vibrant ecosystem. Turkey includes three of the thirty-six biodiversity hotspots in the world. These are the Mediterranean, Irano-Anatolian, and Caucasus hotspots. The forests of Turkey are home to the Turkey oak, whereas Turkish pine is mostly found in Turkey and other east Mediterranean countries. Several wild species of tulip are native to Anatolia, and the flower was first introduced to Western Europe with species taken from the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century. There are 40 national parks, 189 nature parks, 31 nature preserve areas, 80 wildlife protection areas and 109 nature monuments. The Anatolian leopard is still found in very small numbers in the northeastern and southeastern regions.  Eurasian lynx, European wildcat and caracal are other felid species are found in the forests. Caspian tiger, now extinct, lived in the easternmost regions of Turkey until the latter half of the 20th century.

The coastal areas of Turkey bordering the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas have a temperate Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers and mild to cool, wet winters. The coastal areas bordering the Black Sea have a temperate oceanic climate with warm, wet summers and cool to cold, wet winters. The Turkish Black Sea coast receives the most precipitation and is the only region of Turkey that receives high precipitation throughout the year. The coastal areas bordering the Sea of Marmara, which connects the Aegean Sea and the Black Sea, have a transitional climate between a temperate Mediterranean climate and a temperate oceanic climate with warm to hot, moderately dry summers and cool to cold, wet winters. Winters on the Anatolian plateau are especially severe. Temperatures of −30 to −40 °C do occur in northeastern Anatolia, and snow may lie on the ground for at least 120 days of the year, and during the entire year on the summits of the highest mountains. In central Anatolia the temperatures can drop below −20 °C with the mountains being even colder. Mountains close to the coast prevent Mediterranean influences from extending inland, giving the central Anatolian Plateau a continental climate with sharply contrasting seasons.

Autumn in Yedigöller National Park – ©A.Savin FAL via Wikimedia Commons

Birding Turkey

Always wanted to see birds en mass but never have? 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 close to 800,000 k², 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 Krüper’s Nuthatch, Masked Shrike and Cretzschmar’s Bunting, The beautiful scenery 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.

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, breath-taking 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, Montagu’s Harriers, and vast numbers of waterfowl that 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 archaeological 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.

  • Dr M Serhan Oksay

    Istanbul |

  • Kerem Ali Boyla

    Istanbul |

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 525

    (As of July 2024)
  • Avibase

    PDF Checklist
    This checklist includes all bird species found in Turkey, based on the best information available at this time. It is based on a wide variety of sources that I collated over many years. I am pleased to offer these checklists as a service to birdwatchers. If you find any error, please do not hesitate to report them.
  • Wikipedia

    Annotated List
    This is a list of the bird species recorded in Turkey. The avifauna of Turkey include a total of 495 species, of which 90 have occurred accidentally and 4 have been introduced by humans.
  • eBird

    PDF Checklist
    This checklist is generated with data from eBird (, a global database of bird sightings from birders like you. If you enjoy this checklist, please consider contributing your sightings to eBird. It is 100% free to take part, and your observations will help support birders, researchers, and conservationists worldwide.
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 | Out of Print | 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
Birding Aps
  • Birds of the Middle East

    Apple iOS | Android
    The eGuide to Birds of the Middle East is an interactive companion to the Birds of the Middle East field guide – the comprehensive guide for birdwatchers visiting the region. It covers Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, the Arabian peninsula and Socotra. This application has specific features that will enhance your birding experience.

    The eGuide to Birds of the Middle East is an interactive companion to the Birds of the Middle East field guide – the comprehensive guide for birdwatchers visiting the region. It covers Turkey, Cyprus, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, the Arabian peninsula and Socotra. This application has specific features that will enhance your birding experience.
Useful Information
  • BirdLife

    Dogal Hayati Koruma Dernegi (DHKD) is the BirdLife Partner
Museums & Universities
  • Ege University

    Birdwatching Group
  • Doğa 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.
  • Doğa Kuzey 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

    The Club aims to increase the birdwatching activities within METU, to contribute to the development of Ornithology (Bird Science) in Turkey, to the formation of the ornithological database through various studies, and to the preservation of nature in collaboration with environmental and nature-related organizations.
  • Turkish Bird Records Committee

    Turkish Bird Records Committee works to evaluate rare and unusual bird species that are seen for the first time in Turkey, have fewer than 25 records, or re-discovered in modern times after their old records. Observers are expected to enter such records both on eBird and through the “rare and unusual species registration form“, where they can provide additional information to the Committee.

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
  • Protected areas of Turkey

    InformationSatellite View
    Bird Sanctuaries, IBAs, Parks, RAMSAR etc.
  • 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.
Sightings, News & Forums
Guides & Tour Operators
  • Basar 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
  • BirdQuest

    Tour Operator
    TURKEY, GEORGIA & CYPRUS – the ‘Ottoman’ endemics and specialities tour
  • Birding Ecotours

    Tour Operator
    The Republic of Turkey (“Turkey” hereafter) sits at the southern crossroads between Europe and Asia. The European section of Turkey makes up a tiny percentage of what is a vast country, which is larger than the US state of Texas...
  • EcoTours

    Tour Operator
  • Eskapas

    Tour Operator
    Birdwatching in Turkey – Turkey is blessed with a distinctive, diverse habitat that supports a wide array of wildlife, including forests, steppes and wetlands. Located along a major bird migration route between Europe and Africa, the widespread availability of marshlands makes Turkey a prime spot for birdwatching. Many species can be observed flying over the Bosporus Strait, such as eagles, hawks, falcons, buzzards, ibises and both white and black storks.
  • 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
  • NatureTrek

    Tour Operator
    Turkey is a nation of startling contrasts and exceptional beauty. Its unique position at the crossroads of Europe and Asia makes it a remarkable melting pot, home to a mix of natural and human history unlike anywhere else on Earth
  • Rockjumper

    Tour Operator
    Turkey, a country the size of Texas, is a spectacular avian and cultural crossroads. This fascinating nation boasts an ancient
  • Speyside

    Tour Operator
    Bird watching in Turkey - a five centre holiday full of exciting birds, astounding archaeology and beautiful scenery along with the warmth of the south European sun. Staying in comfortable hotels in Gaziantep, Birecik, Cappadocia, Demirkazik and Gosku.
  • Sultan Birding

    Tours & Accommodation
    As two cousins, we used to see tourists coming to our village in our childhood. A German agency would come and camp in our village between April and October. We used to go to them and help them. We said, “These people come here and make money, why don’t we do it?” and in 1986 we opened a tea house. In 1992, we started this business by establishing a guesthouse. We did very good work between 1986 and 2000. The diversity in the area was huge. Bird watchers, nature photographers, scientists, documentary filmmakers from various parts of the world carried out beautiful works in the area.
  • VigoTours

    Tour Operator
    Birdwatching in Side Turkey. Turkey is situated at the crossroads of 3 continents, and also creates a bridge for numerous types of birds between their breeding areas in the north and their winter nests in the south. The shortest terrestrial link between Eastern Europe and Africa pass through Turkey.
  • Wild Echo Tours

    Tour Operator
    ...A huge country means a big distances, but our itinerary has excellent logistic we believe and thus the total driving is about 2 000 km. Within the tour we will be focused on central, eastern Mediterranean and south-eastern regions. We will start and end our tour in the southern town of Adana, with a flight change in Istanbul. We visit deltas, coastal lagoons and high mountains (up to 3 000 m.a.s.l) in order to get the local specialties...
  • Worldwide Birding Tours

    Tour Operator
    Our tour starts at Van, a city in the southeast of Turkey, surrounded by beautiful Lakes and mountains. From there we travel westwards for a couple of days visiting a good variety of habitats. We will pass Birecik where we hope to see the Bald Ibis, then moving on to Gaziantep. From Adana we will visit the Cukurova Delta with its many lagoons and finally we will spend time at the Goksu Delta, which is a complex of habitats, with long sand dunes, a freshwater lake, brackish lagoons and agricultural fields of a Subtropical nature. The whole tour promises to give us a real variety of habitats and birds. We hope you can join us!
  • Zoothera Birding

    Tour Operator
    Visiting South-East Turkey in the springtime guarantees some of the most exciting birding in the Western Palearctic, lying in a spectacular avian and cultural crossroads between Europe and Asia. Nowhere else in this region offers such a complex mosaic of habitats and resulting heady mix of mouth-watering species...
Trip Reports
  • 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
  • Sultan Pansion

    As two cousins, we used to see tourists coming to our village in our childhood. A German agency would come and camp in our village between April and October. We used to go to them and help them. We said, “These people come here and make money, why don’t we do it?” and in 1986 we opened a tea house. In 1992, we started this business by establishing a guesthouse.
  • Özsafak Pension

    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.
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!
  • Moda'nin Kuslari

    Bird Photography from Moda [Istanbul]

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