Birding Factoids

466 species
in 57 families

1 virtual endemic species - 
Krueper's Nuthatch
22 speciality species
15 endangered species 
2 week trip expectation -
250 species

CIA Travel AdvisoryChecklist of Turkish BirdsTours and GuidesEco-LodgesSpeciality BirdsMap and General Information

Check out this illustrated listing of some of Turkey's birds
or also Ben van den Broek's Digiscoped Birds of Turkey
See also the Photo Gallery of Turkish Birds by Murat Faik Özçelik

Turkey Specialities
(Pause your cursor on the photo to see the species name.)
Redwing- Turkey's National Bird - Photo copyright Murat Faik Özçelik
Photo copyright Murat Faik Özçelik

Dalmation Pelican - Photo copyright Karl Ng

Photo copyright Karl Ng

Eurasian Golden-Oriole - Photo copyright Ronald Saldino

Photo copyright Ronald Saldino

White-spectacled Bulbul - Photo copyright Eric Kleyheeg

Photo copyright Eric Kleyheeg

Brown Fish-Owl - Photo copyright Clement Francis and Vijaykumar Thondaman

Photo copyright Clement Francis and Vijaykumar Thondaman

Crested Lark - Photo copyright Guido Band

Photo copyright Guido Band

Sardinian Warbler - Photo copyright Nigel Blake

Photo copyright Nigel Blake

Masked Shrike - Photo copyright James Packer

Photo copyright James Packer

Ruddy Shelduck - Photo copyright Barry Koffler

Photo copyright Barry Koffler

Greater Spotted Eagle - Photo copyright Ronald Saldino

Photo copyright Ronald Saldino
    ....Birding Sites in Turkey - from Yelkovan, a web based Turkish 
      birding magazine
    ....Birding Sites around Ankara - This page lists and gives information
      about the mostly visited and most important bird watching sites around Ankara which can be reached at most in 3 hours with a car. These sides are highly recommended if you stay in Ankara and want to make a daily trip for bird watching.
    ....Birding in Southern Turkey - by Martin R Adlam. In southern 
      Turkey, some 200 miles west of Syria, lies the little known area of the Seyhan delta. Not a popular holiday destination by any means, it is however an excellent birdwatching site and with patience will provide you with a wide variety of species.
    ....Birding the Goksu Delta - (Click on the Gosu Delta button in the
      left-hand navigation bar). The Göksu Delta, 14,500 hectares of 
      salt marshes is a bird watcher's paradise! , where the Göksu River enters the Mediterranean. With its lakes and sand dunes, its profusion of birds and rare plants, and its sea turtles. Spectacular Göksu Delta and surrounding areas; the wetland that holds more than 334 bird species and most of these are migratory birds...  some of them stay temporarily, while some take permanent shelter here. 
    ....Ramsar Sites in Turkey - Brief information on Turkey's 9 
      RAMSAR sites.
    ....Manyas Bird Paradise - Nowhere else in turkey has so rich a 
      diversity of birdlife as that one lake, home to breeding, wintering and migrating birds in an astonishing array of species. 
    ....Bird Watching (Ornithology) in Turkey - Turkey, which is situated 
      at the meeting point of three continents, forms a bridge between the reproductive areas of birds in the north and their winter nests in the south. This site identifies a number of key areas and provides detailed maps to the locations.
    ....Bird Paradise (Bird Lake)  - Located in the northern part of Manyas
      Country,west of Susurluk-Bandýrma highway Area : 16,200 ha., reaching as much as 20,000 ha. at high water level. The lake extends in a east-west direction to the south of the Sea of Marmara and is located at the western tip of extensive fault area containig Lake Ulubat in the east. The lake, formerly known as Lake Manyas, extends in a east-west direction. The lake and its environs provide a breeding, alighting, wintering and feeding ground for over 200 species of birds.
    ....Kizilirmak Delta, Turkey - The Kizilirmak Delta, located in the
      central Black Sea region, is one of Turkey's most important wetland complexes. The delta is classified as a Wetland of International Importance according to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance. It covers an area of 50,000 ha that includes freshwater marshes and swamps, coastal lakes, and lagoons. More than 300 bird species, or 65% of all known bird species in Turkey, use the delta for breeding, wintering, and migration.
    ....Turkey's Wetlands - Turkey has no tropical forest, but nineteen 
      Grade A wetlands according to international definition. Five of these (Kusgölü, Göksu delta, Sultan Sazligi, Lake Burdur, and Lake Seyfe) are registered as wetlands of international importance under the Ramsar Coventions. Another site on National Parks, Wild Life, Wetlands of Turkey. Note the features of Kus Cenneti National Park.
    ....Konya Basin - information on the Society for the Protection of 
      Nature-Turkey, carries out a field survey in the Konya basin, central Turkey. Aim is to gather information about bird populations as well as other fauna in this area. This information will be used to produce a "Biodiversity Hotspot Atlas" of the Konya Basin, that will provide a platform on which focused conservation can be based.
    ....Dogu Karadeniz Daglari (Eastern Black Sea Mountains) - 
      this important bird Area (IBA) 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). 
    ....Esmekaya Sazligi - This Important Bird Area (IOBA) 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). 
    ....Trip to SE Turkey - Sep 1995 - by Jean Bickal
    ....Trip Report: Turkey, May 18-13, 1993 - by Kieran Fahy, William
      McDowell, Denis Weir, Dave Bird, and Denis O'Sullivan.
    ....Trip Report: Northwest Turkey, April 16-21, 1996 - by José Tavares. 
      The main purpose of this visit to Turkey was not birdwatching. I was based in Istanbul for the whole period, and went to Rumelikavagi one day to watch the raptor migration. Also, I did a boat trip from Kabatas ferry terminal to Anadolukavagi, and back (several hours), across the Bosphorus. The time I spent watching for migrating raptors at these places are detailed in this report. See also José's September 1996, and April, 1997 reports.
    ....Trip Report: Anatolia (Turkey), May 20 - June 2, 1998. Translation
      of the article entitled "Charting the Birds of Central Anatolia" which appeared in the Finnish publication Linnut. Copyright 1998 Anssi Kristian Kullberg. 
    ....Trip Report: Turkey, February 9-16, 1999 - by Remco Hofland.
      Our main aim was to check out the marshes in the Çukurova delta (a place that neither of us visited before) and to try and find Great Black-headed Gull. We had vague plans about also checking out Demirkazik (in the Eastern Taurus range - in summer the place for Caspian Snowcock, Radde's Accentor and Red-fronted Serin), a place that we visited before on several occasions; and also to have a look at Soguksu Milli Parki near Kizilcahamam (between Ankara and Istanbul). 
    ....Turkey Trip Report - by Hugh Harrop. This is part of John Girdley's
      trip report site (follow the Middle East link). "Re-reading this report brought back some wonderful memories. Probably the best
      week I've had anywhere in the world!"  (Hugh Harrop, summer '99). See also John Bateman's report on South West Turkey (12th-26th Sept ‘94), part of the same trip report archive. 
    ....Birdwatching in Turkey: (June 5-20, 1999) - by Andreas Kristensen.
    ....Trip Report: Turkey, July 14 - August 19, 1999 - by Ahmet Baytas.
    ....Trip Report: Central Anatolia (Turkey) & Iran, September 20 - October
      13, 1999 - by Jerzy Dyczkowski. Our trip to Eastern Turkey and Iran was tempted by two Polish birders who went to Iran in August-September 1998. They returned with following news: good birds, people extremely friendly (for a few days, they were even honoured by people who apparently were hashish smugglers!), but unbearably hot. Therefore we planned our trip a month later, hoping to spend half time on Persian architecture and half birding. See also Jerzy's 2nd-22nd Sept' 2001 Trip Report. 
    ....Turkey Birding Diary - by Bill & Doreen Stair, September 15 -
      October 9, 2000. Whereas, in normal life, we would plan our weekend or weeklong vacations as tightly and as twitchily as possible, cramming as  many target species as conceivably possible into the allotted time frame, this trip is different. For one year we will be traveling on a limited budget, which necessitates an entirely different approach. 
    ....Trip Report: Turkey, 17th June - 2nd July 2001, by Ian Merrill. 
      It has been a phenomenally successful trip. Turkey is a stunningly diverse and beautiful country. Its people are as welcoming and friendly as in any nation on the planet. Despite an almost total absence of any form of conservation structure, the country sports a wealth of wildlife unparalleled in the Western Palearctic. It is a great shame to end on a sad note, but one can only wonder for how long will this remain the case?
    ....Trip Report: Turkey, June, 2001 - by Paul Wetton. Turkey is an 
      interesting country both in terms of birds and other wildlife and in terms of its friendly people and culture. Beware of being taking for a ride in some of the more tourist areas. If you want a guide, take the official guide as it is easy to be conned. The saddest thing I noticed during my stay was the ruination of some of the best birding sites such as the drainage of many of the marshland including Eregli marshes and the dredging of gravel from the Euphrates at Birecik and the dumping of the gravel in and around the old Blue-cheeked Bee-eater colony. This site contains a great site map.
    ....Trip Report: Turkey, August 13 - September 7, 2000. Some New 
      Sites and Insights - by Ady and Keren Gancz. Although we live only an hour flight away from Turkey, near Tel-Aviv Israel, this has been our first visit to this great country. In the weeks before the trip we were too busy to make any detailed plans, so we gathered as much information as we could, and took it with us. We knew that we wanted to spend most of the 4 weeks we had in eastern Turkey, but all the rest was decided on a day-to-day basis. As in our previous trips, we have again tried to combine birding with some sightseeing. Of course there were several species which we really made an effort to see, but we were not going to turn the trip into a "Tick-N-Run". We did, however, visit many birding sites, and since we were not in a hurry, we also found some new ones (or aberrations to the old ones). All in all we ended up doing a similar route to what others have done before, with some different side trips and stops. 
    ....Trip Report: Southern Central Turkey, 26th May - 8th June 2003, by
      Simon Hartill. Excellent trip, very enjoyable despite 2-3 days of bad weather, car breaking down temporarily, attempted break in and speeding fine! Birding would be too easy if nothing ever went wrong!  We birded at a reasonable pace, usually up by 6-6.30 and often birding towards dusk. We avoided driving at night except to and from the airport. Its much better to bird at a reasonable pace than burn yourself out attempting to fit in too much, you will definitely enjoy it more and have less risk of an RTA as you will be knackered the whole time. 
    ....Trip Report: South central Turkey - 23rd-29th June 2003. By Chris 
      Batty et. al. Turkey has long been recognised as an essential birding destination. A large country, spanning both Europe and Asia, Turkey  supports several species which are either very difficult or impossible to find elsewhere in the Western Palearctic. After considering a visit for many years 2003 saw me finally get my act together and book a charter flight to Antalya, a Mediterranean coast tourist magnet. 
    ....Latest News from Abroad - this commercial site provides up-dated 
      details about birdwatching sites abroad. All of these sites are described fully, with detailed maps, in a series of books entitled `Finding Birds in...' (sometimes referred to as Gostours guides). These notes are intended to supplement the books to provide the most complete and up-to-date service possible. Notes are available on:

    Factoids taken from Where to watch birds in Asia  - by Nigel Wheatley

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Tours and Guides

...>> A Birding Pal is not a paid guide, but someone who likes to help out of town visitors. You can become a Birding Pal today! Help someone to enjoy your local birding spots and find a pal to help you when you travel. Click here for Turkish Birding Pals, or join to be a Birding Pal!
Spur-winged Plover - Photo copyright Erik Kleyheeg
Photo copyright Erik Kleyheeg

Zitting Cisticola - Photo copyright Sumit Sen

Photo copyright Sumit Sen
    **..Birding Turkey in May-June 2005 - Enjoy great birding, pay less, and
      help conservation. Experience Turkish hospitality, delicious cuisine, 10,000 years of history, and breathtaking scenery. See many spectacular birds and specialties, such as Dalmatian Pelican, Greater Flamingo, White-headed Duck, Black Vulture, Caspian Snowcock, Caucasian Grouse, Smyrna Kingfisher, Krüper’s Nuthatch, Wallcreeper, Accentors, Bulbuls, Buntings, Choughs, Wheatears & more.
    **..Western Turkey  with Victor Emanuel Nature Tours (VENT)
      Wonderful birds pass through a magical setting overlooking one of Eurasia's most exotic cities–Istanbul, the former Constantinople, crossroads between Europe and Asia. This gives a marvelous opportunity for birders interested in ancient history of the Greek, Byzantine, Roman, and Ottoman empires to combine both interests in a single tour. The aim of this tour is to combine great birding with great history. We will try to maintain a flexible approach so that you can opt in or out of historical or birding activities depending on your particular interests. Much of the birding is close to or amongst famous historical sites, so it is often possible to have your cake and eat it too! This tour has a two-center itinerary, so you will not have to pack and unpack every other day! 
      • Western Turkey August 26 - September 9, 2002 (15.0 days - Limit 16) with leaders Peter Roberts & TBA
      VENT offers nearly 140 tours to over 100 land-based destinations each year and is the largest tour company in the world specializing in birding and natural history.
    ....Birdwatch Turkey - We organize bird watching and wild-life tours 
      in four different seasons across Turkey (TÜRKIYE). These tours recently revealed some bird species and subgroups which were previously unknown. One of our most favorite tours is to Kaçkar Mountains (+3000m) in the northeast, Black Sea Region of Turkey. With its rainy climate, fresh water, sources, lagoons and deep green forests, Kachkar serves the best of the nature to the nature lovers, trackers and bird watchers.

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Caspian Snowcock - Photo copyright Arnoud van der Berg
Photo copyright Arnoud van der Berg (courtesy of Özsafak Pansiyon)
    .....Özsafak Pansiyon at Taurus in the Aladag Mountains - The Aladag
      Mountains are easily accessible from here for trekking, and climbing, with a lot of kinds of bird, flowers and butterflys. Buses run several times a day from Nigde. Check out the BIRDS page to see likely species. 


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Endemics and Specialities

in Turkey

Information on endemics and specialities is derived from Sibley & Monroe checklists and bird distribution lists in Thayer's Birder's Diary - Version 2.05, supplemented by material found in Where to watch birds in Asia  - by Nigel Wheatley. African speciality birds, while not endemic, are those that can only be found in three or less countries of Africa. Information on endangered birds is derived from the IUCN Red List, Birdlife International.  The endemic, endangered and speciality birds may be uncommon, extremely rare vagrants, may be extirpated in the country now or may only be present in migration. However, documented sightings of each species noted below have been made in Turkey. 

Endemics in Turkey
___ Krueper's Nuthatch 
___ (virtual endemic)
Endangered Birds in Turkey
(endemics are printed in bold italic)

Breeding Birds

Non-Breeding Birds

___ Audouin's Gull
___ Corn Crake
___ Dalmation Pelican
___ Ferruginous Pochard
___ Great Bustard
___ Imperial Eagle 
___ Lesser Kestrel
___ Marbled Teal
___ Northern Bald Ibis (Waldrapp)
___ White-headed Duck
___ Greater Spotted Eagle
___ Lesser White-fronted Goose
___ Red-breasted Goose
___ Slender-billed Curlew
___ Sociable Lapwing

Other Speciality and Near-endemic Birds in Turkey
(adapted from Where to watch birds in Asia  - by Nigel Wheatley.)

___ Armenian Gull
___ Blue-cheeked Bee-eater
___ Caspian Snowcock
___ Caucasian Grouse
___ Chestnut-shouldered Petronia
___ Cinerepous Bunting
___ Cretzschmar's Bunting
___ Crimson-winged Finch
___ Dead Sea Sparrow
___ Demoiselle Crane
___ Desert Finch
___ Grey-hooded Bunting
___ Menetries' Warbler
___ Olive-tree Warbler
___ Pallid Scops-Owl
___ Persian Nuthatch
___ Pygmy Cormorant
___ Red-tailed Wheatear
___ See-see Partridge
___ Spot-throated Accentor
___ Upcher's Warbler
___ White-throated Robin

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Links checked October 13, 2001