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Republic of Slovenia

Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago ©Sue Tranter

Slovenia is situated in Central Europe between Italy, Austria and Hungary. It is not only one of the youngest, but it is also one of the smallest European countries (measuring 20 256 km2 with about two million inhabitants). It is the meeting point of four European landscapes: Alpine, Dinaric, Pannonian and Mediterranean. Of the total surface area, more than 50% is covered by forest and about 32% is cultivated (Statistical Office of Republic of Slovenia 1996).

Despite its small size, Slovenia has a very diverse landscape and climate, which together contribute to the relatively high numbers of breeding birds. In total, 376 bird species have been recorded in Slovenia. 219 species are breeders in Slovenia. This remarkably high number is due to Slovenia's position within the Western Palearctic, mentioned above, in the confluence zone for eastern, southern and northern faunal elements. Moreover, many species reach their northern, southern, western or eastern distributional limit here.

Wetlands important for birds in Slovenia include Secovlje Salina at the coast, the Drava and the Mura rivers, with flooded woodlands in northeastern Slovenia, Ljubljansko Barje (marshes) and Lake Cerknica in central part of the country. Some fishponds have become important sanctuaries for biodiversity in areas of modern intensive farming, especially in northeastern Slovenia. The Racki Ribniki fishponds (protected as a Landscape Park with neighbour area) and Vrbje Pond are important both for breeding as well as for migrating bird species (e.g. various ducks, herons, waders, grebes).

Other very valuable bird habitats are the Krakovski forest, forested areas in Notranjsko, in the Julian and Savinja Alps, and the Karst region. A significant number of boreo-montane type bird species, including Black Grouse Tetrao tetrix, Capercaillie Tetrao urogallus, Pygmy Owl Glaucidium passerinum, Ural Owl Strix uralenis, Tengmalm's Owl Aegolius funereous, and Three-toed Woodpecker Picoides trydactylus are found in the Alps and in the Dinaric region. Good nesting conditions exist also for various woodpeckers and raptors [e.g. Black Woodpecker Drycopus martius, Three-toed Woodpecker Picoides trydactylus, and Golden Eagle Aquilla chrysaetus]. The Dinaric region also has relatively numerous populations of some other animals, especially big mammals such as Bear, Lynx & Wolf.

Areas of lowland meadows and non-intensively cultivated land have virtually disappeared, mostly as a result of intensive agriculture or construction of reservoirs. As a result of large-scale and intensive agriculture production, some species such as Grey Partridge Perdix perdix, Corncrake Crex crex, and Snipe Gallinago gallinago are endangered. On the other hand, some species successfully colonize intensively farmed fields. Examples include Quail Coturnix coturnix, Lapwing Vanellus vanellus, Little-ringed Plover Charadrius dubius, Alauda arvensis (Skylark); Stonechat Saxicola torquata, and Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava complex. In this region, scattered and isolated forests in agricultural areas are important refuges for small passerines.

In the traditionally extensive rural landscape, fruit or traditional orchards are also very important bird habitats. Many endangered species, mostly hole-nesting, such as Little Owl Athene noctua, Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus, Hoopoe Upupa epops and Upupa epops Wryneck Upupa epops are commonly found in orchards across Slovenia.

Slovenia is one of the top 10 countries within the Western Palearctic for breeding of the following species: Rock Partridge Alectoris graeca, Scops Owl Otus scops, Rock Bunting Emberiza cia, Ural Owl Strix uralensis, Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis, Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis, Firecrest Regulus ignicapillus, Alpine Chough Pyrrhocorax graculus, Snowfinch Montifringilla nivalis, & Cirl Bunting Emberiza cirlus. The first three species have restricted distribution in Slovenia; Rock Partridge Alectoris graeca and Rock Bunting Emberiza cia live almost exclusively in the western Karst and Alpine regions, whereas Scops Owl Otus scops is restricted mainly to the Karst region and the most north-eastern part of the country. It is worth mentioning that relatively high number of the globally threatened Corncrake Crex crex is also found in Slovenia.

Besides nesting, the Drava river and its reservoirs in north-eastern Slovenia are very important also for migrating and wintering species. During the wintering and migration period, the Drava and its reservoirs are the most important site for waterfowl in Slovenia. About 20,000 waterfowl [Goldeneye Bucephala clangula up to 3500, Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula up to 7000] winter there. About 100 Goosander Mergus merganser, the same number of Smew Mergus albellus, and up to 6000 Teal Anas crecca regularly winter there too. The Ormoz reservoir on the Drava near the Croatian border is an important site for roosting geese; Bean Geese Anser fabalis up to 4000, and White-fronted Geese Anser albifrons up to 1500.

During spring migration, a huge number of Black Tern Chlidonias niger (4000 - 8000) migrate along the Drava. The nearest agricultural area, Dravsko polje, is Osprey important for migrating raptors, including Pandion haliaetus and Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus and for wintering of Great Egret Ardea alba (up to 50 individuals).


Number of Species

Number of bird species: 369


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Useful Reading

Forest Birds of Slovenia

Sound recordings… See: http://www2.pms-lj.si/cdgozd/cdgintrd.html



Drustvo Za Opazovanje in Proucevanje Ptic Slovenije (DOPPS) is the BirdLife Partner
Langusova 10, SLO-61000 Ljubljana. + 386 61 1339516 borut.mozetic@uni-lj.si

DPPVN - Society for bird research and nature protection


For more information please contact DPPVN, Ptujska c. 91, SI-2327 Race, Slovenia, Fax: +386 (0)62 788 30 51, e-mail: milan.vogrin@guest.arnes.si.
The society can also arrange guided tours through Slovenia.

IxobryChus Ornithological Association (OAI)


Founded in 1983, the Ornithological Association IXOBRYCHUS (OAI) is one of the oldest ornithological organization in Slovenia devoted to the scientific study of birds. Ixobrychus is primarily an NGO organisation, its membership of 100 includes many amateurs dedicated to the advancement of ornithological science.


Abbreviations Key: See the appropriate Continent Page (or Country Page of those used on country sub-divisions)

Škocjanski Zatok Nature Reserve


Satellite View

In the period from 1999, 132 bird species were recorded in Škocjanski Zatok NR; 37 species nesting inside the reserve area, additional 13 species nesting adjacent to the reserve and 82 species recorded on migration or wintering…

Nature Parks in Slovenia


The strategy of nature conservation foresees six regional parks. The Caves of Škocjan Regional park is to be developed into a much larger Karst regional park and five new parks would be established: Snežnik, Trnovski gozd, Koèevje-Kolpa, Pohorje and Karavanško-Kamniško-Savinjski Regional Park. These areas are charactersitic for the natural phenomena and patterns of sustainable land use.

Seèovlje Saltpans


Satellite View

The Secovlje saltpans are so far the only Slovenian wetlands on the list and are famous for their exceptional ecological and landscape value…



The convention entered into force in Slovenia on 25 June 1991. Slovenia currently has 3 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), with a surface area of 8,205 hectares.

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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.

2006 [06 June] - Honeyguides



2008 [05 May] - Mark Easterbrook


…We arrived in Croatia near Dubrovnik mid morning to brilliant sunshine and a refreshing sea breeze. Quickly heading off to the hotel in Mlini about 11Km east of Dubrovnik and 8Km from the airport at Chilipi; it was ideally situated and just below the hills described by Jon Hornbuckle; where the Partridges could be…

2009 [07 July] - Allan Finlayson


Annotated list…

2011 [04 April] - Mark Hows


…A quick stop at a bridge across a river produced a few crag martins and a black redstart. It was then onto some woodland with a natural spring lake near our Hotel in the town of Kranjska Gora in search of Hazelhen but no luck…

2011 [07 July] - Dave Bird - Triglav National Park

Report PDF

Highlight – Wallcreeper - seen at the waterfall „Slap Savica“ (near Ukanc). There is a fence which stops you going closer to the waterfall. Behind the fence on the left and right of the waterfall, low down, on rock face, we had extremely good views of a female bird.

2013 [05 May] - Paul Tout - Istria


…As we left the site a woodchat shrike obligingly perched beside the road at one of the stop-offs … very good, but not the best bird of the day! …

2015 [09 September] - Paul Tout

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The first bird we ran into, feeding from the rail along the cycle path, was a young male common redstart, quickly followed by a small group of lesser whitethroats and a couple of pied flycatchers in the scrub beside the road. These, and the spotted flycatcher and willow warbler we saw as we returned, are all common migrants here in mid-September as the forests of central and northern Europe empty of their trans-Saharan migrants before the weather turns cold.

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Birdlife in Slovenia


Wetlands important for birds in Slovenia include Secovlje salina at the coast, the Drava and the Mura rivers, with flooded woodlands in northeastern Slovenia, Ljubljansko barje (marshes) and Lake Cerknica in central part of the country. Some fishponds have become important sanctuaries for biodiversity in areas of modern intensive farming, especially in northeastern Slovenia. The Racki ribniki fishponds (protected as a Landscape Park with neighbour area) and Vrbje pond are important both for breeding as well as for migrating bird species (e.g. various ducks, herons, waders, grebes).