Ural owl Strix uralensis ©Oleksandr Ruchko Website
Birding Ukraine

Ukraine is among the largest countries in Europe and it is a territory where it is possible to see 400 bird species, among which 154 belong to the SPEC categories. Important Bird Areas (IBA) in Ukraine support the existence of such SPEC 1 bird species as Pelecanus crispus, Anser erythropus, Brantha ruficollis, Aythya nyroca, Aquila clanga, Aquila heliaca, Falco naumanni, Crex crex, Otis tarda, Numenius tenuirostris, Acrocephalus paludicola, Oxyura leucocephala and such SPEC 2 ones as Phalacrocorax pygmeus, Tetrax tetrax, Gallinago media, Platalea leucorodia, Accipiter brevipes, Limosa limosa, Tringa tetanus, Sterna sandvicensis, Otus scops, Caprimulgus europaeus, Coracias garrulus, Picus viridis, Phoenicurus phoenicurus, Lanius minor, Emberiza hortulana and Emberiza melanocephala. To name only a few.

In accordance with the data of the Ministry Of the Environment and Natural Resources of Ukraine 15 areas are designated as Natural Heritage sites. The area of all reserves and protected areas is nearly 4% of the whole of the Ukraine. There are currently 30 natural and biosphere reserves and nature parks in Ukraine.

It is possible to determine four main areas, which are of most interest for birders. They are the area comprising the Ukrainian Carpathians, the Upper part of the Dnister river, and the Volyn region in the west; Polys’kyi Nature Reserve in the north; the Dnipro River in the east; and the area made up of the Crimea peninsula, the deltas of The Dnister and Dnipro rivers, numerous lymans and bays of the Azov and the Black Sea in the south.

The West:The Carpathians is an area where it is possible to watch various Woodpeckers, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Red-footed Falcon, Golden Eagle, Eagle Owl, Ring Ouzel, Woodlark, Wagtails, Kingfisher, Corncrake, Goldeneye, Ferruginous Duck, Bean Goose, and Quail. The upper part the Dnister river creates wet meadows and marshes, which support Montagu’s Harrier, Short-Earred Owl and various Warblers, the river is a good place for wintering Goldeneye. The Volyn region is famous for its Shatsky Lakes National Nature Park, which is included in the Natural Heritage list. The area is a kingdom of Woodpeckers and Owls and is extremely interesting during migration periods. During those times it is possible to watch thousands of aquatic bird species such as Geese, Ducks (mainly Pochard) and Cranes. Black Stork, White-Tailed Eagle, Ferruginous Duck, Little Crake, and Aquatic Warbler breed there. Quite close to the park is a habitat where Great Snipe, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, and various Terns and Warblers breed.

The North: In the territory of Polys’kyi Nature Reserve, which consists of forests, marshes, small rivers and bushes, it is possible to see 180 bird species, 47 of which are in the Red book of Ukraine. In this area you can watch Capercaillie, and a variety of Owls. It is the only place in Ukraine, where there are Bearded Owl, and if you are lucky you will see Imperial and Short-toed Eagles. Wolves and lynx live in this area too.

The East: The Dnipro River is the largest river in Ukraine, 23 areas along the river have special status. The most interesting of these are Kahovske Reservoir and Kozak Islands. This is a habitat where a lot of aquatic bird species breed. Among them are Red-breasted Goose, Greylag Goose, White-tailed Eagle, Crane, Little Bittern and Bee-Eater. The area is very attractive during periods of migration. Geese, Cranes, Ducks [Mallard, Wigeon, Teal, & Pintail], Coot, and Red-footed Falcon cross the territory during these times.

The South: Lymans and bays of the Black and Azov seas, the Dnipro and Dnister deltas, and the Crimea peninsula are very attractive for birders both in times of migration and during nesting and breeding seasons. During migration Syvash (Crimea) together with Karkinits’ka and Dzharylgats’ bays are the place for thousands of Cormorants, Egrets, Glossy Ibises, Swans, Geese, Shelducks, Great Bustards, Black-winged Stilts, Avocets, Collared Pranticoles, Plovers, Sandpipers, Godwits, Turnstones, Little Gulls and Terns to rest up. The total number of nesting birds in Yagorlyts’ka and Tendrivs’ka bays (The Black Sea) exceeds 70,000 pairs. Also very attractive during the breeding season are Obytichna peninsula and Molochnyj lyman (the Azov Sea). The Dnipro and Dnister deltas are very important for breeding Cormorants, Purple, Grey, Squacco and Night Herons, Great White Egrets, and Glossy Ibises. Special mention should be made of the Danube River and surrounding areas, it is a country of Pelicans, Terns, Geese, Ducks, Gulls, Swans and Pochard. A few hundred pairs of Pygmy Cormorants breed there as do Lesser Great Grey Shrikes.

Ukraine has about 14,000 birdwatchers and ornithologists. Each area has local branches of the Ukrainian Society for Bird Conservation, which is a Birdlife International partner. The Ukrainian Rarities Committee, Ukrainian Ornithological Society, Union of Young Ornithologists, Ukrainian Society of Teriologists, Raptors Fund, Ukrainian Birdwatching Center other conservation societies are trying to raise the profile of nature protection to new levels.

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 425

    (As at November 2018)
  • iGoTerra Checklist

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

  • A Guide to Finding Birds in Odessa Region, Ukraine

    | By Paul D Goriup | NatureBureau | 2015 | Paperback | 73 pages, colour photos, colour maps | ISBN: 9781874357704 Buy this book from
Useful Information
  • BirdLife

    Ukrainske Tovaristvo Okhoroni Ptakhiv (UTOP) is the BirdLife Partner Designate
  • Western-Ukrainian Ornithological Station

    Observatory WebsiteSatellite View
    Part of Ivan Franko National University of Lviv (Zoological Museum) this observatory has a new website [February 2009] soon to be in English too…
Museums & Universities
  • Zoological Museum of Ivan Franko - National University of Lvi

    Zoological Museum of Ivan Franko - National University of Lviv is one of the oldest university museums in Europe. It was started as the Cabinet of Natural History (1784). The scientific collections of the museum include more than 180,000 exhibits of which about 10,000 form the exposition. The museum funds represent fauna of all continents and all water areas of the World.
  • Ukrainian Society for the Protection of Birds (USPB)

    Mission: To conserve the biodiversity of Ukraine by saving birds, sites and biotopes.

Abbreviations Key

  • BR Askaniya-Nova

    WebpageSatellite View
    If you have already discovered the natural beauty of Ukraine but want to see even more, the Askaniya-Nova Biosphere Reserve is the ideal reserve to visit.
  • BR Chornomorskyi

    WebpageSatellite View
    The Chornomorskyi is a reserve that was formed in 1983. The Choronomorskyi Biosphere Reserve, or Black Sea Biosphere Reserve is the largest reserve in Ukraine and is situated in the region of Mykolaiv and Kherson and is run by the National Academy of Sciences. The 14,148 hectares of land that makes up the Biosphere reserve in Ukraine are made up of areas of forests, which include the warty birch, alder, common oak and the violet willow. The rest of the 100,000 hectare reserve is made up of the Tendrivska and Yagorlytska Bays that make up the open sea zone. The reserve plays an important role in conserving bird species that are under threat and bird species that are considered rare. Take for instance the black-headed gull: over ninety percent of these gulls live in the vicinity of the Chornomorskyi reserve, very few can be found elsewhere. There are over 305 species of birds that can be found here.
  • BR NP Karpatskyi

    WebpageSatellite View
    The massif enjoys several vegetation zones and so a lot of varied vegetation can be found here. You will find pure beech, mixed beech, spruce, fir, ash, elm, sycamore maple and maple forests as well as rock pine, green alder and Siberian juniper trees all on this massif alone.
  • NP Bieszczady

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Bieszczady National Park straddles the borders of Slovakia, Poland and the Ukraine.
  • NP Desnyano-Starogutskyi

    WebpageSatellite View
    The Desnyano-Starogutskyi National Park is a combination of two different vegetation zones. This gives the park added significance and makes a visit all that much more interesting. The floodplain vegetation is interspersed by large patches of forest. The second vegetation zone is the Staroguts’ka vegetation zone. This is characterized mainly by fairly old pine forests with large quantities of sphagnum moss – the moss variety which is used to form peat and which is sometimes even used for packaging purposes. This vegetation zone also has a lot of boggy areas.
  • NP Podilski Tovtry

    WebpageSatellite View
    With some of the lovely reserves in Ukraine, the Podilski Tovtry National Park has an abundance of vegetation which covers a vast array of scenic surroundings, from the light and playful meadows to the patches of grasslands, which contain a small amount of Stipa spp., to the old oak and beach forests, and not forgetting the mixed hornbeam-oak-ash.
  • NP Shats’kyi

    WebpageSatellite View
    This magnificent national park was made a protected natural environment in 1983 and eventually became a designated Biosphere Reserve in 2002. It is situated roughly 160 kilometers northwest of Lutsk and borders the Polesie Biosphere Reserve in Poland.
  • NR Cape Martyan Reserve

    WebpageSatellite View
    There are few coastal nature reserves in Ukraine which hold greater value than the Cape Martyan Reserve. Situated near the city of Yalta, this valuable reserve was established in 1973 and encompasses some 240 hectares of land.
  • NR Cheremskyi

    WebpageSatellite View
    The Cheremskyi Nature Reserve was created both for the protection of the natural habitats within the reserve and for the purpose of study and research. This beautiful reserve was only established in 2001, and while serving as a place where the unique natural ecosystems of the area could be protected and preserved for future generations, it has also been used to a greater level of knowledge and awareness regarding the sustainable use of natural resources
  • NR Kanivs’sky Reserve

    WebpageSatellite View
    Kanivs’kyi Reserve, with most of its area covered in a mixed forest which is inundated with hornbeam or otherwise known as Carpinus spp, oak, bitter lime or Tilia spp and lastly the simple but beautiful maple tree. There is also a great importance played upon the geology and the archeology of the area, with particular fascination found in the common and typical steppe meadows, which can be located on most of the vast rolling hill slopes.
  • NR Karadag Reserve

    WebpageSatellite View
    The Karadag Reserve lies amid two cities known as Feodosia and Sudak, which are situated on a piece of the Crimean peninsula on the south-east coast. It is here that a breathtaking abundance of unique and historical geology can be found in the only solitary rocky shoreline massif of the Jurassic period, of about 150 – 160 million years old, in all of Europe. Not forgetting the variety of delicate flora and fauna arrayed in this little reserve. Thus in 1979 it became vital to established Karadag as a protective area.
  • NR Poliskyi Reserve

    WebpageSatellite View
    If you are an avid bird watcher, the Poliskyi Reserve in Ukraine is a great place to visit. This massive area of protected land spans more than twenty thousand hectares of land and was established in 1968 in order to protect the natural forest-swamp ecosystems that abound here. This wonderful variety of habitats provides the perfect home for a number of birds and mammals. Of the roughly 180 bird species found in the park, some forty-seven species are listed in the Red Book of Ukraine. A number of incredibly rare or endangered bird species can be found here and spotting any one of them will be a highlight for any avid bird watcher. One such species is the globally threatened Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga, of which at least one pair can be found in the Poliskyi Reserve
  • Nature Reserves (Zapovidnyky) in Ukraine

    InformationSatellite View
  • Reserves and National Nature Parks of Ukraine

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Ukraine has a great diversity of natural landscapes and wildlife. For this reason areas of Ukraine have been declared protected areas, nature reserves and National parks. National Parks in Ukraine are vital for preserving large natural areas and provide the country with great opportunities to develop ecotourism. We discuss the protected areas and National Parks of Ukraine under the headings: Mixed Forest area; Forest-Steppe area; Steppe area; Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains and Crimean Mountains.
  • Wetlands

    WebpageSatellite View
    Ukraine currently has 39 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), with a surface area of 786,321 hectares.
Sightings, News & Forums
Guides & Tour Operators
  • Ukrainian Birdwatching Centre

    Tour Operator
    Some rare birds in Ukraine are common in the world and some common ones in Ukraine are rare outside it, but all of them are sure to be worth watching.
Other Links
  • Birds of Ukraine

    All about birds in Ukraine…
  • Important Bird Areas

    Working in partnership with Birdlife International, the Ukrainian Society for the Protection of Birds (USPB) has its headquarters in Kiev, with local branches throughout Ukraine supported by thousands of birdwatchers and ornithologists. The primary aim of the USPB is the preservation of birds and their habitats, thereby conserving the biodiversity of Ukraine. The non-governmental non-profit organization undertakes a number of key activities to achieve their goals, one of which is to identify and monitor Important Bird Areas (IBA) through a network of caretakers and coordinators.
  • Ukrainean Raptors

    Description of all raptorial birds of Ukraine. The web site is written in Ukrainian…
  • Ukrainian Journal of Ornithology

    Ukrainian journal of ornithology BERKUT (GOLDEN EAGLE) is published since 1992. It is the first ornithological periodical in Ukraine and one of the most known journals of ornithology in the former USSR. BERKUT has 4 working languages: Ukrainian, Russian, English and German. All communications have English summaries. All the information in tables and figures is duplicated in English. Publications cover the large region from Bulgaria, Poland and Baltic to the Far East of Russia. The journal is published twice-yearly.
  • Vitalii Khustochka - Birdwatching in Ukraine

    Personal blog about birdwatching in Ukraine with photo gallery…

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