Europe and Central Asia
17 Feb 2016

Turkey needs your help to create its first breeding bird atlas

Audouin's Gull is one of the many beautiful species found in Turkey. Photo: Thanos Kastritis/HOS
By Sanya Khetani-Shah

Turkey is one of the most fascinating countries in the Western Palearctic for birdwatchers: the location of the country at the crossroads of continents has resulted in diverse habitat and bird species.

Rare and endangered species such as the Yelkouan Shearwater, White-headed Duck, Purple Swamphen, Caspian Snowcock, See-see Partridge, Audouin's Gull, Great Spotted Cuckoo, Brown Fish-owl, Pallid Scops-owl, four species of vulture, Rüppell’s Warbler, White-throated Robin and Krüper’s Nuthatch are found here – either breeding or stopping over during their migration.

In spite of its rich biodiversity, bird studies and conservation only started in Turkey in the early 1990s (Doğa Derneği, the BirdLife Partner in Turkey, began work there in 2002). But while some surveys were undertaken in smaller areas, the country as a whole was never covered. All that changed in 2014, when Turkey was invited to be a part of the second European Breeding Bird Atlas.

Over the next three years, in collaboration with the European Bird Census Council (EBCC), a group of Turkish birders will help to collect breeding bird information of representative squares (important areas will be marked in a grid so that all ground is covered systematically) in the country. This study will shed light on the distribution and abundance of breeding bird species and enable the improved bird conservation in the country.

Your help is needed to complete as many squares as possible in the coming years. Access to large parts of the country is still considered safe. If you are planning a birding holiday next spring to Turkey and are willing to contribute your data, or even better, spend three days to count one square, please contact the Turkish Atlas Team:

Stichting BirdLife Europe gratefully acknowledges financial support from the European Commission. All content and opinions expressed on these pages are solely those of Stichting BirdLife Europe. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.