Republic of Belarus
Belarus is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered by Russia to the north and east, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the north. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno (Hrodna), Gomel (Homiel), Mahilyow (Mahiloŭ) and Vitebsk (Viciebsk). Forty percent of the country is forested, and its strongest economic sectors are agriculture and manufacturing.
Belarus is landlocked, relatively flat, and contains large tracts of marshy land. According to a 2005 estimate by the United Nations, 40% of Belarus is covered by forests. Many streams and 11,000 lakes are found in Belarus. Three major rivers run through the country: the Neman, the Pripyat, and the Dnepr. The Neman flows westward towards the Baltic sea and the Pripyat flows eastward to the Dnepr; the Dnepr flows southward towards the Black Sea. Belarus's highest point is Dzyarzhynskaya Hara (Dzyarzhynsk Hill) at 345 metres (1,130 ft), and its lowest point is on the Neman River at 90 metres (300 ft). The average elevation of Belarus is 525 feet (160 m) above sea level. The climate ranges from harsh winters, with average January temperatures at −6 °C (21.2 °F), to cool and moist summers with an average temperature of 18 °C (64 °F). Belarus has an average annual rainfall of 550 to 700 millimeters (21.7 to 27.5 inches). The country experiences a yearly transition from a continental climate to a maritime climate.
Belarus's natural resources include peat deposits, small quantities of oil and natural gas, granite, dolomite (limestone), marl, chalk, sand, gravel, and clay. About 70% of the radiation from neighboring Ukraine's 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster entered Belarusian territory, and as of 2005 about a fifth of Belarusian land (principally farmland and forests in the southeastern provinces) continues to be affected by radiation fallout. The United Nations and other agencies have aimed to reduce the level of radiation in affected areas, especially through the use of caesium binders and rapeseed cultivation, which are meant to decrease soil levels of caesium-137.Recent changes have made the country more accessible to birders including needing no visa for visits of less than a week. Much remains unspoilt with a similar avifauna to Poland and much less urbanisation.
It has recently been reported that the largest colony of aquatic warblers in the world is in Zvanec Mire IBA Other species: Spotted Eagle - 1-2 pairs, Spotted Crake 1000-4000, Corncrake, Eagle Owl, Savi's Warbler (1500-3000 pairs), Grasshopper Warbler (100-200 pairs).
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Number of Species
Number of bird species: 317
As of June 2018
National Bird: White Stork Ciconia ciconia
Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web
Directory of Important Bird Areas in Belarus
(Terytoryi, Vazhnyia Dlia Ptushak u Belarusi: Kataloh) | By SV Levy | Riftur | 2015 | Hardback | 151 pages, b/w photos, colour illustrations, colour maps, colour tables |
ISBN: 9789859031694Buy this book from NHBS.com
Akhova Ptushak Belarusi [APB-BirdLife Belarus]
PO Box 306, Minsk 220050 +375 17 280 18 87 firstname.lastname@example.org
West Belarussian Society for Birds Preservation
…here you can find some information on the activities of the West Belarusian Society for Bird Preservation (Zachodne-Belaruskae Tavarystva Akhovy Ptushak, ZBTAP). Our Society was founded in 1993,and includes now ca.60 members. Its activities are realized in Belarus ( ex-Soviet country between Poland and Russia). Principal goals of ZBTAP are: conservation of biodiversity; preservation of unique habitats; propagation and re-introduction of endangered birds; propaganda of nature conservation ideas among people…
Akhova Ptushak Belarusi [APB-BirdLife Belarus]
All IBAs in Belarus and a good country map.
Belarusian National Parks
Some pictures and information about National Parks. Nowever local conservationists say: National parks are not recommended as birding destinations as nature there is quite exploited. All rare birds are easier to see outside Belarusian national parks. Birding in national park is support for further nature destruction!
NP Belovezhskaya Pushcha
is a national park within parts of the Brest Region (Kamyanyets District and Pruzhany District) and Grodno Region (Svislach District) in Belarus adjacent to the Polish border. It is a preserved part of the UNESCO WHS Białowieża Forest, the last primaeval forest fragment of the European woodlands that once stretched across the European Plain. It is home to a large population of European bison, the continent's heaviest land animals. The border between the two countries runs through the forest with the Białowieża National Park on the Polish side of the border. Since May 2015 there has been a visa-free regime within the forest for hikers and cyclists at the Pererov-Białowieża border crossing.
NP Braslaw Lakes
Braslaw Lakes is one of the four national parks in Belarus. It is a unique ecosystem with a number of lakes and a large area of pine forests. It has a total area of about 700 km2 (270 sq mi). Of the rare species listed in the Belarusian Red Book, the area is the home of the badger, lynx, brown bear, and swan. The swan was almost extinct in this area but now inhabits the Braslav lakes. Other native species include the black stork, common crane, silver seagull, willow grouse, and dunlin. The lakes of Braslav are rich with different kinds of fish. Pike, eels, perch, bream & tench are widespread. Also widespread are boar, roe deer, squirrel, brown and white hare, fox, raccoon, wolf, pine marten, otter, and mink.
NP Narаchanski (Narochansky)
Mammal species occurring in the park include red deer, raccoon dog, European badger, marten, and otter; fish species include common bream, silver bream, and crucian carp.The national park also includes 218 species of birds, including bittern, osprey and common crane.
NP Pripyat Marshes
Pripyatsky National Park or Pripyat National Park is a natural reserve in Gomel Region, Belarus. It was founded in 1996 for preservation of natural landscapes around the Pripyat River from which it takes its name. Much of the park's area is occupied by turf swamps. Pripyatsky National Park is home to 51 species of mammals, including elk, wild boar, red deer, European badger, and Eurasian lynx.
The convention entered into force in Belarus on 25 August 1991. Belarus currently has 26 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), with a surface area of 765,617 hectares.
Guides & Tour Operators
…Northern Belarus is characterised by the largest tracts of raised pine bogs in Europe. This extensive tundra-like ecosystem is the favourite habitat for many waders. Whimbrel, Curlew, Golden Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Redshank, Snipe and Ruff are some of the species to be seen there, and we may just turn Willow Grouse, Jack and Great Snipe…
Belarus will most probably become one of the prime birding destinations in Europe. This country that is the Eastern neighbour of Poland is second to none. The variety of birds that includes several highlight species very rarely seen in other parts of Europe is only one aspect. Imagine roads taking you through ancient forests, hundreds of meandering rivers, the biggest marshes and fens of the continent, while you hardly meet any traffic or even people…
CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.
2008 [05 May] - Rob Skinner
…Beautiful landscape & birds galore. An early lunch was taken whilst birding. Wryneck, Kingfisher, Common & Terek Sandpipers were the earliest birds followed closely by Gadwall, Garganey & Goldeneye…
2009 [05 May] - Pavel Simeonov
Réserve de Krasny Bor au Nord du pays, Réserve de Biosphère de Berezinski située au centre, Réserve de Sporovo à l’extrême SW, région du Parc National de Pripyatski située au Sud du pays….
2011 [05 May] - Paul Marshall
…It had been a fantastic first day with nearly 100 species seen and many of them very well. (…) The walk in the forest produced a number of exciting species. First was an adult Lesser Spotted Eagle that circled overhead giving excellent views. This was quickly followed by multiple Black Storks, Honey Buzzard, half a dozen Hobbies, Marsh and Hen Harriers. (…)Birds were everywhere….
2012 [05 May] - Barrie Cooper
…Great birding tour with Ecotours Wildlife Holidays to appreciate the rich biodiversity of Southern Belarus. The main areas visited were Turov, Belowezhskaya Pusha and Sporovo….
2012 [05 May] - Brian Clasper
…The marshes ,fens and water meadows support a wealth of Waders, Terns as well as a few speciality species such as Aquatic warbler , Terek sandpiper and Great Snipe. The forest and woodlands support all the species of European woodpecker with a good list of Owl species , warblers & Flycatchers but the the star bird is the Azure tit…
2013 [05 May] - Andrew Clements
…The final evening log also included nominations for the best birds and most memorable moments of the trip – Citrine Wagtail vied with Pygmy and Great Grey Owl for the best bird, while the choices for best moment ranged from the sight of four male Montagu's Harriers hunting across the same huge field, to the three Whooper Swans etched against the forest skyline….
2013 [05 May] - Christopher Hall
…More ‘backyard’ birds came thick and fast, like the River Warbler in the scope, singing its long mechanical ‘song’ from a constantly wide open beak while the tail quivered, and the Bluethroat, also watched in the scope perched on the same fence as the Azure Tit earlier on….
2015 [05 May] - Mike Watson
...New for 2015 on our expanded itinerary were: Hazel Grouse (both in the north and the south, including a female on its nest); Western Capercaillie, Black Grouse and Ural and Tengmalm’s Owls on our Northern Belarus pre-tour extension, to the wonderful Krasny Bor reserve on the Russian border and we also enjoyed some great encounters with old favourites, including: point blank views of Corn Crakes; lekking Great Snipes on meadows by the Pripyat River; 46(!) Terek Sandpipers; hundreds of ‘marsh’ terns (White-winged, Black and Whiskered); Great Grey Owl (an even better close encounter than last time!); Eurasian Pygmy Owl; nine species of woodpecker including White-backed (three) and Eurasian Three-toed (five); Azure Tits at five different sites including our best views yet; Aquatic Warblers buzzing away in an ancient sedge fen (again our best views yet of this rapidly declining bird)....
2016 [05 May] - Dave Farrow
...Of the many highlights, the big favourite were the magnificent Great Grey Owls, and we enjoyed prolonged looks at these awesome creatures. We also found Ural Owl with chicks, Long-eared Owls at two nests, three Eurasian Pygmy Owls including a pair making a food exchange by a nest, and four Tawny Owls including one at roost....
2017 [05 May] - Duncan McNiven - Belarus in Spring
After breakfast we ventured out and began our exploration of the fabulous Pripiat floodplain marshes. A flock of Waxwings feeding on mistletoe berries and a singing Wryneck caught our attention before we had even left the hotel grounds . We said “ hello ” to our local breeding pair of White Storks nesting on a telegraph pole by the road , a species that would become very familiar to us over the next week . B ut so on we were heading out along the boardwalk through the marshes where i t was difficult to know where to look , such was the profusion of birds all around us.
2017 [05 May] - Duncan McNiven - Belarus in Spring
Pripiat floodplain marshes with a walk along the boardwalk . Out on the river , three species of 'marsh terns' - Black, White - winged and Whiskered Terns , were catching insects over the water whilst a pair of Garganey chased in the distance . Along the margins of the river, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Redshank, Ruff and Little Ringed Plover were feeding.
2017 [05 May] - Richard Thomas
This was a short visit with the primary aims of seeing Azure Ti t and Great Grey Owl: both were achieved, and plenty of other good species were recorded too du ring a most enjoyable long weekend. A visit later in May or June could easily include a si te to see Aquatic Warblers on their breeding grounds as well as more of the later arriving mi grants to the country.
Lots of background information on Natural Belarus.
Birdwatch in Belarus
This website about observations of birds in Belarus…
Guide To Bird Watching In Belarus
“Imagine a land of ancient forests, hundreds of meandering rivers, the biggest marshes of the continent, and roads where you hardly meet any traffic or even people – this is the wild country of Belarus!” – that is how a popular British bird watching website describes our country.