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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 July 2015

Even as June finishes and July begins, return passage is in full swing. Areas of fresh water shrink as temperatures reached 40 degrees in mid-month with 545 Glossy Ibis and 330 White Pelicans being amongst the most noticeable indicators of autumn migration. Wader numbers built, with 712 Greenshank, 345 Marsh Sandpiper, 945 Spotted Redshank, 400 Black-tailed Godwit and 210 Black-winged Stilt. Other counts include 341 Spoonbill, 20 Purple Heron, 154 Little and 73 Great White Egrets, 167 Pygmy Cormorant. Finally, 5 Rollers are visible around the nest boxes.

Evros May 2015

We are moving forward to the end of spring and in Evros Delta, there are still some areas with fresh water.
The areas that are still flooded with fresh water, host most of the birds and the "Tigania" area on the Eastern part of the wetland, the area of “Anthia” and the area south of “Drana” lagoon, were the major hotspots, as usually this period. The last recording, made by the scientific staff of Evros Delta Management Authority on 12 May 2015.
Among the most important observations were the one of 37 Spur-winged Plovers; 970 Curlew Sandpipers; 76 Black-winged Stilts; 15 Purple Herons; 6 Collared Pratincoles and 13 European Honey Buzzards, while many other small waders were recorded.
Furthermore, 406 Glossy ibises were counted - most of them in “Anthia” area.
During the observation, the scientific staff of Evros Delta counted 659 White Storks and 12 Black Storks as well as 770 Dalmatian Pelicans and 3 Great white Pelicans.

Thanks to the Management Authority for the data.

Evros January 2015

The number of Spotted Eagles on the delta has risen during the cold January to a great total of 36 on the 23rd. Swan numbers have also been increasing, reaching over 10 000, with 3645 Bewick's and 1170 Whoopers. Ducks are also present in large numbers, with over 39 000 Mallard, 30 000 Teal and 10 500 Wigeon. Over 800 Avocet are spread across the delta. Geese numbers, in the shape of Greater White- fronted, have reached 1300. Regarding the Lesser White-fronteds the winter maximum was 53 on the 8th. Their departure, as the first stage of their spring migration, was extremely early this year, occuring overnight on the 19th/20th when they headed to Kerkini.

Evros December 2014

The first count by the Management Authority in December showed steadily building wildfowl numbers but, in the absence of any severe weather further north so far, these have yet to peak. Despite this some 33000 Teal, 22000 Mallard and 12000 Wigeon are already present. Swan numbers have reached 2660, with 2100 Bewick's and 450 Whoopers. Avocets total 500 and Dunlin 2000 alongside 800 Flamingos. Geese have yet to arrive, with just 24 Greater White-fronts and 81 Greylags to date.

The Spotted Eagle roost currently holds 22 birds.

Evros October 2014

As Autumn begins to turn into winter the last of the passage and summer birds have moved on and we await the winter arrivals from the north. October totals include 2730 Greater Flamingo, 278 Dalmatian Pelican, 4090 Wigeon, 1070 Teal, 106 Mute Swan and 1070 Sandwich Tern.