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Birding Trips – Astonishing Greek Wetlands and Little-known Endemic Species

Few birdwatchers realize that Greece, a rather small European country, is the natural frontier between Europe, Asia, and Africa combining a great variety of different habitats. Greece is simply full of unexpected micro-environments that provide the perfect conditions for more 450 bird species.

Bird watching in Greek wetlands

Birding in Greece - Pelicans in Kastoria Lake
Pelicans in Kastoria Lake

Greece is covered with mountains, forests, wetlands, caves, and gorges. This wild nature is home to more than 6,000 plant species and 750 of them are only to be found within the borders of Greece. The fauna is a most rare combination of European, African, and Asian species. Many of the species are endemic, while others, particularly some of the birds are migratory. They make a stop in Greece on their way from the northern to the southern countries.

Migratory birds in Greece

It is these migratory species who create the unique ecosystem in the Greek wetlands in lakes and river deltas. Here they rest and feed before they continue southwards. During these days, the Greek wetlands are great places for bird watching and research of the environment. In Greece rivers are rather small but with fast-running waters, a fact making them suitable for activities like rafting, canoeing and river trekking.

When to go bird watching in Greece?

Birding in Greece

The best season for visiting the Greek wetlands are during spring and autumn, when colours are vibrant and the weather pleasantly mild. This is also the busiest agricultural seasons for sowing or harvesting. This will give you the opportunity as volunteer to help and learn during a farm stay. Agritourism is steadily developing in Greece, allowing visitors to get involved with the local farming activities and the everyday life in the Greek countryside.

Birding and environmental awareness

If you are a nature enthusiast you will be surprised to discover the rich, diversified Greek landscape (including ecosystems of Mediterranean, Central European, and Scandinavian types). Furthermore, you will feel blessed by the overwhelming beauty of the terrestrial and wetland ecosystems. Bird watching is a environmental-friendly tourist activity, where travellers aim to study and protect the bird species. This activity raises awareness and concern for the environment as well as ecological issues in general.

Aquatic and mountain bird species

Birding in Greece - seagull by the sea
Seagull by the sea

More than half of the 450 bird species in Greece are endemic. The aquatic populations together with the mountain species like the booted eagle make up a variety unique worldwide. Recently, in 2011 members of the Hellenic Ornithological Society discovered an example of the species known as Pallas’ Warbler (Phylloscopus Proregulus), a bird exceptionally rare in the south of Europe. It was spotted in the forest of Kaisariani just outside the city of Athens. In Greece you will find many bird observatories operating in aquatic as well as in mountain shelters.

11 great Greek wetlands

Birding in Greece - Partridge on cliffs
Partridge on cliffs

EVROS DELTA
“Evros Delta Information Center”, Traianoupoli (14th km east of Alexandroupolis) Tel: 25510-61000 e-mail: evroswet@hol.gr

LAKE VISTONIDA PORTO LAGOS LAGOONS
Porto Lagos (Thrace) next to the coastal road from Xanthi to Komotini Tel: 25410-96646

NESTOS DELTA
“Nestos Delta Information Center”, Keramoti (45 km from Kavala) Tel: 25910 – 96033 e-mail: delta-nestos@kav.forthnet.gr  Visitors Information Center of Nestos River Riparian Forest Location: “West Nestos Forest Site”. You will find the crossroad for the center on the road from Keramoti town to Chrissoulopis town. Tel: 2510-247042 / 2510-461803

LAKE KERKINI
“Information Center of Kerkini Wetland”, Kerkini (east of the lake, 60 km from Serres and 45 km from Sidirokastro) Tel: (23270) -28004-36663 e-mail: wkerkini@otenet.gr

Travel to Greece - Lake Kerkini
Lake Kerkini

LAKE VOLVI – KORONIA (AGHIOS VASILIOS or LAGKADAS)
Apollonia (on the south shores of Lake Volvi, 60 km from Salonika) Tel: 23930-41004

ALIAKMONAS-GALLIKOS-LOUDIAS-AXIOS DELTA & KITROS SALINAS
“Aliakmon-Loudias-Axios-Gallikos Delta & Kitros Salinas Information Center” Chalastra (west of Salonika) Tel: 2310-794811 / 2310-792293 e-mail: wicaxios@otenet.gr 

AMVRAKIKOS LAGOONS
“Salaoras Information Center”, Salaoras Hill (next to the road from Arta to Koronisia) Ask to see live broadcast the settlement of Dalmatian pelicans.
Tel: 26810 -74772 e-mail: etanam@otenet.gr

“Koprena Environment Center”
Including: a) “Koprena Museum of Natural History”, b) “Environmental Education Hall”, c) “Koprena Museum of Lighthouse” (Close to Koprena lighthouse on the road from Arta to Menidi) Tel: 26810-69683 e-mail: etanam@otenet.gr

“Rodia Wetlands Center”, Stroggili (from the National Road Arta-Preveza turn right and take the road to Petra-Stroggili) It organizes bird observation rows in the lagoons and manages the information center. Tel: 26830-41219 e-mail: rodia@otenet.gr

MESSOLOGI-AETOLIKON LAGOONS & ACHELOOS ESTUARY
“Acheloos, Evinos, Mesologi, Aetolikon Wetlands Information Center”, Aetolikon (next to the east bridge area) Tel: 26320-24128 e-mail: icmel@mes.forthnet.gr

KOTICHI LAGOON & STROFILIA FOREST
“Kotichi Lagoon – Trofilia Forest Information Center”, Lappa (close to the coast of “Kalogria” and the road from Patra to Pyrgos) Tel: 26930-31651

External links

Birding in Greece

Hellenic Ornithological Society

Hellenic Ornithological Society’s interactive Important Bird Areas (IBAs) map
Use the interactive Important Bird Areas map to find details of environments and species.

Follow the links below to find dedicated birdwatchers with experience in birdwatching in Greece

Greek Birding and Ecotravelling

Birdtours trip report from Greece

Organized Birdingpal tours to Greece

Birdwatching in Northern Greece

Birdwatching trips in Crete