Sign In

Evros Delta

On the border with Turkey, the Evros Delta forms a huge area of 188km2 and was declared a Ramsar-protected wetland in 1974. Despite this and a plethora of other paper protection the site faces major issues of freshwater management, overgrazing, overfishing, hunting and drainage.

However the delta still offers good birdwatching opportunities and, being close to one of the great migration flyways, offers the chance of real rarities, such as Greater Sand, White-tailed, Sociable and even Caspian Plovers.

Birding the delta

The north-western section has public access. The south-eastern part is permit only for non-Greeks (see below).

The delta has a rich diversity of habitats including freshwater lakes, brackish and seawater lagoons, rivers, reedy ditches, tamarisk forest, sandy islets, swamps, reedbeds and a small area of riverine forest. More than 300 species have been recorded and it has probably been the prime European site for Slender-billed Curlew, with a flock of 120 (no, it’s not a typo!) on 20 October 1978. Those were the days!

When to visit

The delta can offer great birding at any time of year:

Spring - probably the richest time of the year is from mid-April to mid-May when migration can be fantastic, with large numbers of passage waders and terns in evidence alongside those birds that have returned to breed.  Glossy Ibis, Ruff, Curlew Sandpipers and Spur-wings can be much in evidence. All three marsh terns occur in good numbers, particularly at site 7 in the site guide. Raptors can include Montagu's Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, Lanner and Eleonora's Falcons. Masked Shrike, Blue Rock Thrush, Ortolan Bunting

and Woodlark occur around site 9 together with Orphean Warblers. Isabelline Wheatears, Greater Short-toed and Calandra Lark plus Tawny Pipit are all easy to find near the Isabelline Flats

Autumn - tends to be a little more hit-and-miss, with water levels the crucial element and the bulk of passage waders have moved through by late September. Pelican numbers peak in autumn, often with several hundred of both species. Broad-billed Sandpipers are frequent visitors, although a flock of 50 in September ’14 was rather special, and Terek Sands are regular, though only in singles. Garganey numbers peak in late August – early September, with 2650 in 2005. Other early autumn highlights include 1468 Glossy Ibis and 43 Ruddy Shelduck in July '10.

Winter - has a special, desolate feel. Thousands of White-fronted Geese move noisily around the delta during the day, arriving at their roosts in late afternoon, usually with perhaps 50 Lessers and occasional Red-breasteds. Hen Harriers quarter the rough grass and Spotted Eagles can be everywhere, together with perhaps a White-tailed or Eastern Imperial. There were 15 species of raptor on the delta in February ’14, including Eastern Imperial, both kites, Long-legged Buzzard and a Lanner.
Over 200 000 birds were counted in January '13, predominantly ducks, with over 100 000 Teal. However geese and duck numbers fluctuate enormously, with particularly low numbers during the mild winter of 2008 - 2009. Numbers of swans are growing – over 5000 of the three species early in 2013. A total of 1980 Ruddy Shelduck was counted in Febuary ’11 and 45 Little Bustards were on the delta in January '13. In addition, around 2 000 Greater Flamingo spend the winter here, alongside plenty of Pygmy Cormorants.

Getting permits

Permits can be obtained free of charge from the Evros Visitors' Centre. Alternatively, we will be happy to arrange this for you, also free of charge. You will need to give four weeks’ notice if possible.

Guided tours and boat trips are also available from the Centre, which is usually open from around 8.30 a.m. during the week. The address is The Evros Delta Visitors' Centre, Traianoupoli, Thrace, Greece, telephone and fax (0030) 25510 61000 and email Try to visit the Centre to add your support to the work going on.


Thanks to the Evros Delta Management Authority for their data.

Evros April 2016

April brought plenty of warm, settled weather to the delta and Anthia played host to most of the birds. The seasonal pools held several hundred of both Wood Sandpiper and Ruff, together with some 300 Glossy Ibis. Plenty of Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Black-winged Stilt, Stone Curlew and a booming  Bittern added to the picture. 40 Whiskered Tern arrived on the 23rd. The beach area also had plenty of waders, with 230 Sanderling, 185 Dunlin, 50 Grey Plover and 10 Whimbrel. Two Ruddy Shelduck and a calling Quail were nearby. 

Elsewhere on the delta a lack of muddy edges kept wader numbers down with a group of 500 newly-arrived Ruff at site 17 the only collection of note on the 23rd. Isabelline Wheatears were still thin on the ground in the third week of the month but Spur-wings were prominent at sites 13 and 17. A gorgeous male Pallid Harrier drifted by on the 11th.

Evros March 2016

Spring is well underway on the delta, with 1893 Garganey, 139 Slender-billed Gull, 16 Spur-wings, 251 Black-tailed Godwit, 168 Spotted Redshank, 1496 Dunlin, 259 Curlew, 1257 Shelduck and 1781 Shoveler.

Evros January 2016

Cold weather and snow cover characteristically saw wildfowl numbers increase dramatically during the month. Once again records have been broken for Bewick's Swans. Ten years ago max numbers were in the low hundreds but February 2014 saw a new record for Greece with 3300, February 2015 saw 3691 and this month over 5300 are on the delta. This upward trend coincides with a decreasing trend for wintering numbers in northern Europe. See 

for some fascinating insights into what seems to be happening with this species. Other interesting counts include 26 783 Teal, 11 698 Wigeon, 58 729 Mallard and 3090 Ruddy Shelduck. Over 4100 Greater White-fronts and 80 Lessers are present with 207 Dalmatians, 83 Pygmy Cormorants and 2327 Flamingos.

Whenever wildfowl numbers build the raptors are never far behind, with 31 Spotted Eagles, 6 White-tails and 176 Marsh Harriers. 15 Little Bustards complete this impressive line-up. There can't be many more impressive places to be than here if you're a birder.

Evros November 2015

With temperatures regularly in the 20s throughout November to date, with southerly winds, winter has yet to make an appearance at the delta. As a result bird numbers are low, with only 70 Greater White-fronts and 15 Greylags. Other wildfowl numbers have similarly yet to build, with 233 Mute Swans and 155 Bewick's and only  4750 Teal, 3030 Wigeon and 1320 Pintail.

Evros August 2015

Passage is in full swing at the Evros Delta, where temperatures have consistently been in the high 30s, with gatherings of 1160 Garganey, 616 Spoonbill, 245 Greenshank, 75 Black Stork, 751 Little Egret and 44 Spur-winged Plover.



Built by Jack Barber in Whitby, North Yorkshire. Visit Herbal Apothecary for herbal practitioner supplies, Sweet Cecily's for natural skincare, BeeVital for propolis health supplements and Future Health Store for whole foods, health supplements, natural & ethical gifts.