Birding Factoids

381 species
in 52 families

1 of the 5 European
endemics are 
represented here. 
No national endemics
10 speciality species
10 endangered species

Checklist of ??? BirdsConservation, Biodiversity and the EnvironmentTours and GuidesRare Bird AlertsSpeciality BirdsMap and General Country Information
For photos of some Lesvos birds (with a trip report), see Peter Jones' Lesvos Gallery.
Also check out Erik Kleyheeg's Lesvos Birds
and Ben van den Broek's Digiscoped Birds of Lesvos
and Cliff Buckton's Crete Photos
Greek Specialities
Squacco Heron (Lesvos) - Photo copyright David Lingard
Photo copyright David Lingard

Blue Rock-Thrush - Photo copyright Sujan Chatterjee

Photo copyright Sujan Chatterjee

Middle Spotted Woodpecker (Lesvos) - Photo copyright David Lingard

Photo copyright David Lingard

Western Rock Nuthatch - Photo copyright Erik Toorman

Photo Copyright Erik Toorman

Ruepell's Warbler - Photo copyright George McCarthy

Photo copyright George McCarthy

Kruper's Nuthatch - Photo copyright David Lingard

Photo copyright David Lingard

Isabelline Wheatear - Photo copyright Erik Kleyheeg

Photo copyright Erik Kleyheeg

Cinereous Bunting - THREATENED - Photo copyright Vaughan Ashby

Photo copyright Vaughan Ashby

Wallcreeper - Photo copyright Ronald Saldino

Photo copyright Ronald Saldino

Crezschmar's Bunting - Photo copyright Jan Kåre Ness
Photo copyright Jan Kåre Ness

Black-headed Bunting - Photo copyright David Lingard

Photo copyright David Lingard
    ....Important Bird Areas in Greece - this clickable map, presented 
      by the Helenic Ornithological Society, has information on all 196 Important Bird Areas in Greece(these are not really birding hot spots since bird species at most of them are  vulnerable and birders
      should exert great caution in order not to disturb the birds).
    ....Winter Birding in the Evros Delta - In north-eastern Greece, on the
      border with Turkey, the Evros Delta is a vast tract of unspoilt wilderness, extending over more than 150 square kilometres, just waiting to be explored.
    ....Aegean Birds - Greek Department of the Environment - More than 
      300 bird species have been recorded in the Aegean, distinguished in two main categories; those resident here permanently, or for long periods, and the passage migrants. 
    ....Vikos Gorge National Park - Where the gorge sides are less
      precipitous, and in the countryside nearby, there are forests of beech, fir, bosnian pine and black pine. The cliffs are the breeding haunts of griffon vultures,  golden and Bonelli's eagles and peregrine falcons.
    ....Kerkini Lake - It is a miracle of nature which came about by man's
      technical intervention on the natural characteristics of Strymon river. This wonderful biosphere is recouped by the Internetional Convention of Ramsar and presents numerous admirable elements. Thousands of birds, both rare and protege, riverside forests, water-lilies in a large area, fish variety and fantastic panoramic view from the mountains of Beles and Krousia give it a characteristic tone. Actually the lake hosts 227 kinds of birds, especially non-migrants.
    ....Prespa Park - the Prespa Lakes and their surrounding catchment are
      unique for their geomorphology, their ecological wealth, and their biodiversity, which gives the area significant international importance. The Prespa Lakes and their surroundings provide habitat for the conservation of various and rare species of flora and fauna and offer refuge for the migratory bird populations. They constitute as well a much needed nesting place for many species of birds threatened with extinction. See also the Society for the Protection of Prespa.
    ....Rhodes Birding - by Martin R. Adlam. - Situated in Mediterranean, 
      this picturesque island has to be one of the cleanest and certainly the friendliest of all the Greek islands. Granted there is a long featureless beach running down the west coast, but this pales into insignificance when you find yourself on the east coast, with its rocky headlands and sheltered sandy bays. Not only is this island noted for its many features such as the outcrop used in the filming of "Guns of Navarone", but it is also an excellent stopover for migratory birds heading north into neighbouring Turkey.
    ....Lesvos, Jewel of  the Aegean - When describing Lesvos, words like
      'magical island', 'migration hotspot'. and 'jewel of the Aegean' tend to trip off the tongue with monotonous regularity. On top of all these acolades I would just add the words 'a wildlife photographer's dream'.
    ....Wildlife, Birding in Lesbos - The information on this site is taken 
      from the book "Birding in Lesbos" by Mr Richard Brooks. The basic geography of Lesbos, together with its size and location so close to the Turkish coast, mark it out as an area of varied habitats, with some good wetlands, likely to prove extremely attractive to spring and autumn migrants; wet enough to keep a fair variety of wintering wildfowl, waders etc.; yet also playing host to a good mix of breeding birds - some of them, like Cinereous Bunting and Kruper's Nuthatch, quite outstanding. 
    ....Wildlife and Wild Birds - Lesvos is known to the birding world as 
      one of the best locations in Europe to see migrating birds. The island's vast and varied landscape offers numerous species of birds exactly what they want and thus it is a haven not only for birds but for birdwatchers too who arrive in droves in the spring. 
    ....Birdwatching in Lesvos - Undeniably Lesvos is a very special place 
      for birds and an extremely rewarding location for watching them, often at very close range. So far 325 species have been recorded, right across the island. There are several reasons why this is the case, but the wonderful variety of habitats and the island's location on an important migration route just below the Turkish coast are two of the most important. See also the birding reports for 1999, 2000, and 2001 (available only to Internet Explorer users).
    ....Greece - the Island of Lesvos at leisure - this commercial itinerary 
      from Ornitholidays provides a lot of information about where to find birds in Lesvos. 
    ....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 the Greek Islands.
    ....Trip Report - Kos, Greece - April 10 to April 23, 1998 - by Jan Kuper. 
      On this website,  you will find information on observations of birds and invertebrates during a holiday trip to Kos, Greece, in April 1998. Descriptions of some interesting spots are given. This is followed by (systematic) lists of observed birds, diurnal butterflies and dragonflies with English, Dutch and scientific species names. For  some animals, you can see pictures. 
    ....Trip Report: Northern Greece - June 2 - 16, 1998. By Rob Goldbach.
      The timing was rather optimal, as prior to our visit the weather was rather unstable, with heavy rainfall until the end of May, and only turned dry and sunny one week before our visit. Hence, the landscape was green, with many plants flowering. We had sunny days, with temperatures between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius, and only some local thunderstorms at the Evros delta. 
    ....Birds at Ouranoupolis, Greece - seen between the 6th and 13th of 
      July, 1998. The list of birds is NOT from a birding trip. It's only the birds I couldn't avoid seeing at my holiday, while we stayed at a camping place in Ouranoupolis near Thessaloniki in Greece. 
    ....Trip Report: Greece, July 1-23, 1994 - George and Myra Dremeaux
      Our summer vacation this year took us to Greece. A few days would be devoted to birding and the rest to other pursuits such as visiting archaeological sites, snorkeling, hiking etc. Only four days really qualified as birding days. 
    ....Trip Reports from Greece - these reports are hosted by John Girdley
      (follow the link to Greece)
    ....Trip Report: Greece, May 12-19, 1997 - Gebbe Björkman, 
      Ateljé Gebbe. In my notebook I have a report from a trip to the area of Island Lefkas - Pindos Mountains in the north-west of Greece. 
    ....Trip Report: Greece, June 2-16, 1998 - Rob and Evelien Goldbach
      The timing was rather optimal, as prior to our visit the weather was rather unstable, with heavy rainfall until the end of May, and only turned dry and sunny one week before our visit. Hence, the landscape was green, with many plants flowering. 
    ....Trip Report - Greece - Chris Walsh - Here is a brief trip report of my
      sojourn in Porto Heli on the Greek mainland near Spetse, between 26th September and 10th October 1995. There was a fair bit of rain around with one very wet day. This week was the most fruitful regarding numbers of birds 
    ....Trip Report: Crete - May - June 2000. Report of a combined birding/
      business trip by Rob Goldbach. only during the migration time this island might be very productive. Outside the migration times, however, one has to be satisfied with the relatively low number of resident species. This low diversity in avifauna is mainly caused by the fact that Crete basically is a dry mountain chain situated in the middle of the Mediterranean. The lack of major rivers or marshes (the few and small wedlands moreover being mostly dried out by the end of May) and the overgrazed dry slopes of the many hills and mountains makes that it is hard to reach 100+ bird species outside the migration periods. The special birds of Crete, which make a visit always rewarding, include Griffon Vulture (still rather common), Bearded Vulture, Eleonora's Falcon, Blue Rock Thrush, Chough, Booted and Bonelli's Eagle, while both Yelkouan and Cory's Shearwater are frequently seen off shore.
    ....Lesbos Trip Report - by Alastair Rae - 18th - 25th May 1995 
      "Lesbos is a one of the larger Greek islands, tucked away in the north-eastern corner of the Aegean, close to Turkey," to quote Marjorie Williams' "Birdwatching in Lesbos" booklet. Other information we had in advance of our visit was the "Lesbos Compilation" of trip reports from Steve Whitehouse. We also had help on the island from some of the other birders. We kept bumping into Richard Brooks who was on the island for a month researching a book on birding in Lesvos. I suspect that this is an up-and-coming destination. 
    ....Trip Report - Lesvos Birding - by Paul Wetton. This trip report
      describes our visit to the Greek island of Lesvos (Lesbos) in the first two weeks of September 2000. There were a few sites I wanted to visit, including the Potamia Valley, Kalloni II Pool which was 10 minutes walk from our apartment, the area known as Derbyshire, Kalloni Salt Pans and Polichnitos Salt Pans. A few days were also spent birdwatching from the car in the Western Uplands, along the North Coast and in the Central Uplands including Agiasos. This site contains a great map of the various birding locations. See also Paul's report on their 2003 Lesvos Trip
    ....Trip Report Greece: 2001 April 29th to May 7th, by J. P. Paris. 
      We made a small visit in this country and we crossed all the North-East part. The Kerkinis lake is really a wonderfull place but there's only one good hotel. If you go in this area, spent at least 2 days here! A big part of the Evros delta can be visit only with a guid and the army and only 2 hours. However, a big part can be visit without problem if you take some tracks around Monastiraki. There's probably less birds, but there's always a lot of thing to see.
    ....Trip Report - Lesvos - May 2 - 17, 2001 - by Jim Willson. The island 
      of Lesvos is one of the largest of the  east Greek Islands and only about 6 miles from the Turkish Coast. This was our first visit to a Greek island and we were  impressed by the 'greenery' compared to the Balearics or Cyprus.
    ....Trip Report: Lesbos - 6th May 1999 - 13th May 1999 - by Andy 
      Senior. A group of four birders, Guy Bottomley, Roy Bottomley, Paul Robinson and myself, visited Lesbos in early May 1999 for a week of fairly intensive birding. We had birded together in Andalucia in 1994 as well as in the UK, but Lesbos was a new experience for most of us. Roy had visited Lesbos previously, but in September as a family holiday. He therefore had some experience with the species we would encounter. This trip report contains numerous "micromaps" of specific locations.
    ....Trip Report - Lesvos - May 6 - 13, 1999. This pdf format trip report ....Trip Report - Rhodes 4-17 May 2000 - by Brian Stone. This report
      contains a list of bird species seen during a two week family holiday to Rhodes. Birding time was extremely limited and a couple of sites mentioned in other reports were not visited. 
    ....Trip Report: Lesvos, Greece - 26th April to 2nd May 2002, by 
      Peter Alfrey and Lee Dingain. This was our first trip to Lesvos and we were very impressed with the quality of the birding. The speciality birds were easy to see and there were good numbers of passage migrants moving through all week, with a noticable fall occurring on the 1st. In particular we found the Eressos to Sigri road and the Faneromeni Valley especially good for migrant passerines and the Kalloni Salt Pans were also very productive. 
    ....Trip Report: Lesvos - 19th – 27th April  2002. By Steve Bird and 
      Viv Stratton.  169 Species seen ( 1 week ). A Birdseekers Tour Report.
    ....Trip Report: Greece (Athens and Corfu) and Northern Germany
      April 29 - May 23, 2003, by Urs Geiser. This trip had two main purposes, neither of them birding: the Greece segment was to attend a professional conference in Dassia on the island of Corfu, and the vacation trip through the northern half of Germany was to visit the ancestral villages of my wife's family.  Nevertheless, I managed to fit in quite a bit of birding, especially during the second part of the trip. 
    ....Trip Report: Greece: Gialova Lagoon, near Pylos, Greece, by 
      Andrea Bonetti. Gialova lagoon, overlooked by Thanos village, is a real bird paradise: more than 270 species of birds have been counted there by the Hellenic Ornithological Society – the Greek partner of Birdlife International. Thousands of birds flying to Africa in autumn stop at the lagoon to rest and “refuel” for the last time before the long journey of 3000 km over the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara desert. In spring they find there the southern-most European wetland to rest and feed again. Furthermore, many species over winter at the lagoon.

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Conservation, Biodiversity

and Environment

    ....Participate in the international electronic protest against the
      construction of the Athens 2004 Olympic rowing & canoeing centre on Schinias (Marathon) coastal wetland and forest. These plans threaten the Schinias - Marathon wetland.

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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 Greek Birding Pals, or join to be a Birding Pal!
    ....Hellenic Ornithological Society - Events & Activities listing which includes
      Meetings, Field trips and Birdwatching Tours and Environmental Education. You can volunteer to assist in the protection of Wild Birds and their Habitats and for Environmental Conservation. We need your help! 
    ....Lesvos Birding - with Birdfinders Holidays. April 24 - May 1, 2003. Lesvos,
      to give it its correct Greek name, has rapidly become one of the most popular Mediterranean birding destinations, rivalling even Eilat in Israel. There are several reasons for this: first, being very close to the Turkish mainland, it is inhabited by several eastern specialities, including Krüper's Nuthatch and Cinereous Bunting. Other southeastern birds include Sombre Tit, Cretzschmar's Bunting, Western Rock Nuthatch, Olive-tree Warbler and Masked Shrike. Secondly, many other southern European species occur including Hoopoe, European Roller, European Bee-eater and Eastern Olivaceous and Great Reed Warblers. Finally, Lesvos is also an excellent migration spot. Although Lesvos is a relatively large Greek   island, 45 x 30 miles, it can be covered easily in one week.


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Rare Bird Alert

         Not available 


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European Endemics and Specialities

in Greece

Information on endemics and specialities is derived from Sibley & Monroe checklists and bird distribution lists in Thayer's Birder's Diary - Version 2.5. Speciality birds, while not endemic, are those that can only be found in three or less countries of Europe. Species printed in bold italic have only been sighted in Greece. Information on endangered birds is derived from the IUCN Red List, Birdlife International, and supporting data bases developed by Ian Patton, of Merlin Species Watcher.  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 Greece. 

European Endemics in Greece - No National Endemics

___ Rock Partridge 
Endangered Birds in Greece
(for more information on endangered birds in Greece, see the Hellenic Ornithological Society website)

Breeding Birds

Non-Breeding Birds

___ Audouin's Gull
___ Dalmation Pelican
___ Ferruginous Pochard
___ Imperial Eagle
___ Lesser Kestrel
___ Corn Crake
___ Greater Spotted Eagle
___ Lesser White-fronted Goose
___ Slender-billed Curlew
___ White-headed Duck

Other Speciality Birds in Greece

___ Cinereous Bunting
___ Crezschmar's Bunting
___ Dead Sea Sparrow
___ Fire-fronted Serin
___ Graceful Prinia
___ Greater Hoopoe-Lark
___ Krueper's Nuthatch
___ Pied Kingfisher
___ Ruepell's Warbler
___ Striated Heron
___ White-eyed Gull
___ White-throated Kingfisher

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