Russian Federation

Common Crane Grus grus ©Arto Juvonen
Birding the Russian Federation

Russia is the largest country in the world with its land covering 16,995,800 square kilometres and water covering an additional 79,400 square kilometres. The population in July 2005 was estimated at 143,420,309 persons. Russia consists of 89 separate administrative divisions.The Climate ranges from dry steppes in the south through humid continental in much of European Russia; sub-arctic in Siberia to tundra climate in the polar north; winters vary from cool along the Black Sea coast to frigid in Siberia; summers vary from warm in the steppes to cool along the Arctic coast. The terrain consists of broad plains with low hills west of the Urals; vast coniferous forest and tundra in Siberia; uplands and mountains along the southern border regions.The country is contained entirely within the Palaearctic geographical region although Kamtschatka, in the extreme east, shows a close relationship with Northern Alaskan in its avifauna, the narrow Bering Sea hardly acting as an efficient barrier for bird movement.

The territory of Russia occupies a significant part of the Eurasian continents. A distinctive feature is the presence of many different natural habitats. It has extensive forests; mountains – Caucasus, Ural, Altai, Sayans; & tundra as well as swamps and lakes; rivers and seacoasts. The combination of different types of landscape and different combinations of habitat creates different fauna types, or faunal groups. These include European deciduous forest and semi-Mediterranean, Siberian taiga, Chinese, Japanese, Mongolian desert, Tibetan mountains and others. However, despite its large territory the number of birdwatchers is small and they are concentrated around the Russian Bird Conservation Union and its regional branches. Professional ornithologists are concentrated in universities, reserves and research institutes.

There are a bewildring array of regions, districts, autonomous regions, city districts and opther political subdivisions in Russia. Rather than dedicate a birding page to each we have chosen to split the huge landmass into several super-regions which have similar climates, avifaunal habitats and so forth. Over the coming months information will appear for each region…

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 780

    (As at December 2018)
  • Number of endemics: 1

    Siberian Grouse Falcipennis falcipennis
  • Russia (Asia, EP)

    iGoTerra ChecklistChecklist
    Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web
  • Russia (Asia, WP)

    iGoTerra Checklist
    Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web
  • Russia (Europe, WP)

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

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

  • A Field Guide to the Birds of Russia and Adjacent Territories

    | (former USSR) | By VE Flint, RL Boehme, YV Kostin & AA Kutnetsov | Princeton University Press | 1989 | Paperback | 353 pages, 48 col plates, 71 line drawings, 303 maps | ISBN: 9780691024301 Buy this book from
  • Birds of Europe, Russia, China, and Japan

    | (Non-Passerines, Loons to Woodpeckers) | by Norman Arlott | Princeton University Press | 2009 | Paperback | 240 pages, 80 plates with colour illustrations, 700 colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9780691136851 Buy this book from
  • Birds of Europe, Russia, China, and Japan

    | (Passerines, Tyrant Flycatchers to Buntings) | by Norman Arlott | Princeton University Press | 2007 | Paperback | 240 pages, 80 plates with colour illustrations; 706 colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9780691133720 Buy this book from
  • Where to Watch Birds in Europe & Russia

    | By Nigel Wheatly | Christopher Helm | 2000 | Paperback | 416 pages, 50 illustrations, 100 maps | ISBN: 9780713648706 Buy this book from
Museums & Universities
  • State Darwin Museum of Natural History - Moscow

    The museum has an extensive bird collection.
  • The Russian State Museum of Arctic and Antarctic

    In November 1930 the museum was founded by the order of the Soviet Government as a Department of the Arctic Research Institute called the Arctic Museum, based on exhibits and material of Polar Exhibitions which were held in Leningrad, Moscow, Arkhangelsk during 1923.Marata 24a, The Russian State museum of Arctic and Antarctic, St.Petersburg, Russia, 191040 Phone: +7 812 1131998. Fax: +7 812 1646818. E-mail: Director: Dr. Victor I. Boyarsky
  • Zoological Museum of the Russian Academy of Sciences

    Zoological Museum includes collection of Russian birds
  • BirdsRussia

    BirdsRussia is a voluntary non-profit public Association created for joint activity on protection and study of birds of the Russian Federation.
  • RBCU - Russian Bird Conservation Union

    Shosse Entuziastoy 60, Building 1, Moscow 111123. + 7 095 1761063; RBCU) was established on7 February 1993. Russian Bird Conservation Union (RBCU) is a non-governmental public organization which activity is focused on informing, education and joining wide circles of people to the protection of Russian bird diversity
  • RRRCN - Russian Raptor Research & Conservation Network

    Russian Raptor Research and Conservation Network is a non-governmental association of ornithologists, birdwatchers, ornithological and environmental organizations, which in cooperation seek to learn the birds of prey and owls that live in the vast territory of Russia and neighboring countries and promote their conservation. Anybody, who is interesting to observe birds of prey, any organization, whose activities are connected with the study and conservation of raptors, may become a member of the Network

Abbreviations Key

  • Russian National Parks

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Linka and write-ups on a number of parks…
  • Wetlands

    WebpageSatellite View
    The Russian Federation currently has 35 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), with a surface area of 10,323,767 hectares.
Guides & Tour Operators
  • Ecological Travel Centre

    Tour Operator
    Birdwatching Tours in various parts of European and Asia Russia and Siberia
  • Rubythroat Birding Tours

    Tour Operator
    Rubythroat Birding Tours is a fully specialized all-inclusive tour company with ventures throughout Central Asia and Russia. Rubythroat Birding Tours Ltd., Aitykova 8, Ust-Kamenogorsk, BIN 130740019834
Trip Reports
  • 2014 [09 September] - Vincent van der Spek - Lithuania & Kaliningrad

    PDF Report
    ...The Curonian Spit, shared by Lithuania and the Russian enclave Kaliningrad, is a great destination for every one interested in visible migration. Every year millions of migrants pass this 97 km long spit, that is nowhere over 3,6 km wide. In September 2014 my Waternet colleague Luc Geelen and I attendend a Coastal and Marine (EUCC) conference at Klaipėda University, Lithuania....
  • 2016 [07 July] - Janne Aalto

    It was already late spring and we had no real holiday plans with Hanna. Luckily I found out that my old friend Pierre-André Crochet was searching participants for their trip to Russia, Polar Ural. Immediately I sent a message to “PAC” and also to Eric Didner who was also going and after a week, we knew we were in! On the previous summer we had been in South and Central Ural on a trip that we had planned with Oleg Demyanenko from Ural Expeditions & Tours and he was our contact again. We had then also been planning a trip to Polar Ural but we had discussed that it would probably be after some years. Now it was going to happen much sooner!
  • 2016 [07 July] - Machiel Valkenburg - Russia & Mongolia

    PDF Report
    The tour commenced in the Russian city of Barnaul in the lobby of the Barnaul Hotel at 7am on the 16th of June, where the participants met with their guides for this tour, Machiel, Lena and Bonny. The diverse group of birders from The Netherlands, Norway, England and the USA introduced each other. We immediately began the long drive towards the Seminskiy Pass in the Altai Mountains.
Other Links
  • Bird Year Bird Chuvashia

  • Indian Birds Club

    The site of Indian Birds fans from Russia...
  • Zoological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences - History of Ornithology

    The most important basis for the research done at the Department of Ornithology is its rich collection obtained due to hard effort of many generations of zoologists. These are bird skins, alcohol specimens, skeletal and paleontological materials. The richness, diversity and completeness of the Department
Photographers & Artists
  • Library - Russian Wildlife Photograph Library

    Lots of excellent images

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