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Republic of Turkey

Eastern Subalpine Warbler
Eastern Subalpine Warbler Sylvia cantillans albistriata ©Steve Arlow Website

Birding Turkey

Always wanted to see birds en mass but never have? Don't worry 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 over 800,000 square kilometers, 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 Krueper’s Nuthatch, Masked Shrike and Cretzschmar's Bunting,. The beautiful scenary 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. 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, breathtaking 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, Monatagu`s Harriers, and vast numbers of waterfowl 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 archeological 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. Happy birding.

Contributor

Kerem Ali Boyla

Birdwatch Turkey Tours

Istanbul

kerem@birdwatchturkey.com

http://www.birdwatchturkey.com

Dr.M.Serhan Oksay

Istanbul

serhano@serhanoksay.com

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 482

As of July 2018

Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

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

Useful Reading

A Birdwatchers Guide to Turkey

Ian Green & Nigel Moorhouse | Prion | 1995 | Paperback | 122 pages, Line illustrations, maps |

ISBN: 187110405X

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Finding Birds in Eastern Turkey

By Dave Gosney | Easybirder | 1993 | Paperback | 24 pages, b/w maps |

ISBN: 0951792059

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Finding Birds in North-West Turkey

by Dave Gosney | EastBirder | 2014 | Paperback | 40 Pages, Black & White Maps |

ISBN: 9781907316500

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Finding Birds in South-West Turkey

by Dave Gosney | EasyBirder | 2014 | Paperback | 40 Pages , Black & White Maps |

ISBN: 9781907316463

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Finding Birds in South-West Turkey

by Dave Gosney | EasyBirder | 2014 | All Region DVD | Runtime 72 Minutes |

ISBN: 9781907316470

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Important Bird Areas in Turkey

By G Magnin & M Yarar | DHKD | 1997 | Paperback | 313 pages, Illustrations, colour maps |

ISBN: 9759608170

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The Birds of Turkey

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

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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

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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

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Useful Information

BirdLife

https://www.birdlife.org/europe-and-central-asia/partners/turkey-do%C4%9F-derne%C4%9Fi-dd
Dogal Hayati Koruma Dernegi (DHKD) is the BirdLife Partner

Organisations

Doga Dernegi (Nature Society)

Website

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.

Hacettepe University Birding Club

Website

A small but old group formed by the ornithologist Ilhami Kiziroglu at Hacettepe University.

KuzeyDoga Society

Website

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

Website

In 1990 the birdwatchers among METU students were active under BIYOT. With the need of an independent club we established METU-BC in 1995. We have been studying birds of our University Campus (METU-Campus) throughout the year. And we performed many exhibition & slide show presentations for giving interesting information about bird in our environment…

Subasi Birdwatching Club

A small group of very active birders from Antakya, the most southern province of Turkey. The group has added Buff-bellied Pipit to Turkish list.

Reserves

Abbreviations Key

Dogu Karadeniz Daglari

Information

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 Göksu Delta

Webpage

Satellite 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 Gediz Delta

Webpage

Satellite 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 NR Lake Kömüşini

Information

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.

National Parks, Wild Life, Wetlands of Turkey

Website

Brief descriptions of National Parks…

NR Çığlıkara

Information

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

NR Esmekaya Sazligi

Webpage

Satellite 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…

Wetlands

Website

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.

WR Kuyucuk Lake

Webpage

Satellite 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…

Forums & Mailing Lists

Gedizkuslar (the birds of Gediz Delta in Turkish)

Mailing List

Mailing list for Izmir area bird watchers…

TRAKUS – The Birding and Bird Photography Forum of Turkey

Forum

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Ali Safak

Guide

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…

Birdwatch Turkey Tours

Tour Operator

BirdWatch Turkey is a small venture lead by Kerem Ali Boyla and Soner Bekir since 2008. Kerem is one of the leading ornithologists of Turkey as well as a biologist and ecologist. He has worked with BirdLife International and is the manager of national bird database and the coauthor of "The Birds of Turkey". He speaks English, German and Spanish. Soner is the top bird lister in Turkey and a professional bird photographer with 388 species in Turkey, including the first Siberian Accentor and Lapland Bunting for the country. He has recently rediscovered Brown Fish Owl. He speaks English and Greek. Together we offer long birding tours all across Turkey, including airport transport, transportation, accommodation and food. Some of the tours have fixed dates and others are planned upon your request. Moreover we offer daily tours in Istanbul region. We can also incorporate cultural and archeological guiding to sites such as Ephesus, Cappadocia and Historical Istanbul. Please visit our website and contact us at info@birdwatchturkey.com.

Indigo Tourism

Tour Operator

Our firm was established in 1995 and our aim has always been to positively promote Turkish tourism abroad, whilst maintaining a high service to international tour operators who are marketing Turkey overseas. Our executives have over 20 years experience in the travel business but, continue to feel motivated, creative and attempt to provide dynamic and exciting holidays and services to each and every client. Our firm has always believed the philosophy of quality rather than quantity and our ultimate belief is that We would prefer to lose money than lose the faith of our clients. Offering tailor made tours for induvidual and groups with turkish hospitality including birdwatching itineraries etc.

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….

Sultan Birding

Tours

...You can watch over moustached warbler, bearded tit, reed bunting, pygmy cormorant, red necked grebe, black necked grebe, white-headed duck and many other waterfowl with boat tour. It is possible to see over 40 – 60 species. The boat tour approximately takes 2 - 3 hours...

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

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.

2009 [10 October] - Gary Oliver - Olu Deniz

Report

…I was essentially on a family holiday, and the birds I saw were mainly seen within a 30 minute walk of the hotel; Krupers Nuthatch and Syrian Woodpecker were only seen near the entrance to the Seklikent Gorge, during an excursion…

2010 [03 March] - Julian Bell - Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean - the BSPC pipeline inspection

Report

The very first morning offshore, approximately halfway between Turkey and Russia, there were grounded migrants onboard the vessel. Following a pattern that was repeated over the next several days most stuff cleared off shortly after dawn leaving largely only the dead and dying behind. Dead birds were found on deck pretty much daily during this trip. The corpses of Skylarks, Black Redstarts, Robins and others were a reminder of the risks taken by migrating passerines…

2010 [05 May] - Gareth Jones

Report

…The weather eased by afternoon, so we went for a walk around the resort, then on to the lagoon adding White Wagtail, House Sparrow, Collared Dove, Jays, Great Tit, Swallow, House Martin, Blackbird and a soaring Short Toed Eagle above the resort…

2010 [05 May] - Ray Thorneycroft

Report

…The first bird we saw was an Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, which was a good start. The surrounding area of the plantation consists of rough grazing interspersed with rocks, bushes and trees….

2010 [06 June] - John Clark - Southern Turkey

Report

…We decided to spend 9 days after our stay in Istanbul birding in Southern Turkey – for which we hired a guide – Kerem Ali Boyla (Birdwatch Turkey Tours). It turned out to be a wonderful tour, which we hadn’t expected, because of the time of year and it isn’t widely seen as a prime area for birding. Thanks for this largely go to Kerem, who was just about the best guide we have experienced. He knew his birds brilliantly and where to find them, was very well-organized, had a great sense of humour and was a pleasure to travel with…

2010 [06 June] - Peter Lansdown

Report

…e were rewarded for an early start with two Black Francolins, two flashy White-throated Kingfishers and a Spanish Sparrow along an ordinary-looking approach road…

2012 [05 May] - Julian Bell - Natural Born Birder

Report

…The job was an inshore survey of two lines crossing the Black Sea from near Samsun in Turkey over to Russia. We stayed in a hotel onshore in the city of Samsun. We worked days on small survey vessels; every day we drove from Samsun to the mouth of the Yeşilırmak river where we boarded the survey vessel and sailed east to the worksite…

2012 [08 August] - Ian Broadbent

PDF Report

This is a brief trip report of a family holiday based near Serik, between Antalya and Side on the southern coast of Turkey….

2013 [05 May] - Henk Hendriks

PDF Report

…So we had a very enjoyable trip and besides our targets we observed species like See- Partridge, Black Francolin, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Pallid Scops Owl, Black-winged Pratincole, Little Swift, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Lesser Short- toed Lark, Bimaculated Lark, Citrine Wagtail, Radde’s Accentor, White-throated Robin, an unexpected Pied Wheatear, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Ménétries’s Warbler, Graceful Prinia, Moustached Warbler, Caspian Reed Warbler, Upcher’s Warbler, Olive-tree Warbler, Sombre Tit, Krüper’s Nuthatch, Eastern Rock Nuthatch, Dead Sea Sparrow, Chestnut-shouldered Petronia, Pale Rock Sparrow, Red-fronted Serin, Asian Crimson-winged Finch, Desert Finch, Black- headed Bunting and Cinereous Bunting….

2013 [05 May] - Mike P Frost

PDF Report

…Camardi - Nigde D805 (described by some as the best birding road in the Western Palearctic) Rock sparrow, Cetti’s warbler, Lesser whitethroat, Grey wagtail, Golden oriole, Ortolan bunting, Jay, Wren, Great tit, Blackbird, Rock bunting, Chiffchaff, E. BE wheatear, *Persian ground squirrel, Chough, Linnet, Goldfinch, Mistle thrush, Black redstart, Rock thrush, N wheatear, Crimson-winged finch, Souslik, Isabelline wheatear, Alpine swift, Corn bunting, Chaffinch, Horned lark, Whinchat, Bimaculated lark, BH wagtail, Magpie, Lesser grey shrike, Short-toed eagle, Kestrel, Swallow, Short- toed lark, BH bunting, White-throated robin, Whitethroat, Crested lark, Crag martin….

2013 [05 May] - Stefan Schlick

Report

…A Lesser Spotted Eagle went across the valley. I then was very surprised to hear a Gray-headed Woodpecker calling down below. This was near the creek crossing 0.5km past the Olive-tree Warblers. The bird was calling hard, so I went down and was finally able to track it down….

2015 [04 April] - Stephen Burch - Antalya

Report

...Heading to the east and away from the road, I spent a bit of time wandering around the bushy, dry terrain seeing only several Lesser Whitethroats, but things improved when I moved towards some goat herders' shelters on a flattish, greener area (see above coordinates) when I first heard and then saw one superb singing White-throated Robin. There was also a Ruppell's Warbler in the same area, although it wasn't obliging for photos. Also a Hoopoe...

2016 [07 July] - Duncan Orr-Ewing - Kalkan area

PDF Report

...The yellow-vented bulbul can be seen easily around the town, with the area behind the Yali supermarket, pretty good. For this species look for areas with palms. In all visits, I have seen Audouin’s and yellow-legged gulls in Kalkan harbour and rock nuthatch and blue rock thrush on the crags above the public beach. Chukar, Ruppells warbler, eastern bonelli’s warbler, Syrian woodpecker, sombre tit, woodchat and masked shrikes are also straightforward here, particularly in the aforementioned scrub and rocky area below the Elmali road....

2016 [08 August] - Felix Adams

Report

...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...

Places to Stay

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Özsafak Pansiyon

Accommodation

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.

Sultan Pansion

Accommodation

Accommodation for birders right by the marshes...

Observatories

Metu Birdringing Station

Website

Museums

Ege University

http://www.ege.edu.tr/

Birdwatching Group

Other Links

A Birders Guide to Turkey

Website

Also at: http://www.stanford.edu/%7Ecagan/2007%20Winging%20It%20Turkey.pdf …a detailed overview of best birding opportunities and avian specialties of Turkey…

Birdwatching

Website

When we consider the diversity of bird species in Turkey, both migratory and non-migratory, we can see that Turkey is a unique place for watching birds…

Dalyan Birding

Website

A site to help you find the birds you want whilst enjoying a holiday too! Some great photos too!

Kusbank

Webpage

KusBank is an Internet-based spatial database about birds, their science and their distribution, that allows users from anywhere in the world to input and query Turkish bird data.The system provides the facility to download data into Excel and analyse them for personal requirements. A project supported by RSPB, BirdLife International and Doga dernegi…

Moda'nin Kuslari

Website

Bird Photography from Moda [Istanbul]

Ornithology in Turkey

Website

Ornithology, is becoming huge in the country of Turkey in recent years. One of the country's fastest growing activities, bird observation groups have been established in almost all of Turkey's major cities, sharing resources and registries as well as information about where to find the best birds…

Recent Bird News from Turkey

Website

For more than one year we (Turkish birders) have been steadily catching up, and now there are more than ten birding groups in 10 different regions of the country. I hope we will keep this going well and will be able to achieve a proper coverage of the country as soon as possible. We have regular meetings, counts and communications. I`ll be sending information about not only rare birds in my country but also interesting records according to the time or location…

Photographers & Artists

Photographer - Mehmet Cetinkoc, Istanbul

Gallery

Very talented photographer capturing finest moments, expert in Bee-eaters. Stunning pictures of migrant raptors…

Photographer - Melih Ozbek, Ankara

Gallery

Great photographer, expert of Lake Mogan.

Photographer - Serkan Mutan

Wildlife Photography

I'm a bird photographer in Turkey…