© 2004 Kasper P Hendriks

Long-legged Buzzard @ Turkey © Wesley Overman


19: Birecik and surroundings

See-see Partridge Ammoperdix griseogularis
Black Francolin Francolinus francolinus
Northern Bald Ibis Geronticus eremita
Spur-winged Lapwing Vanellus spinosus
Pallid Scops Owl Otus brucei
Little Swift Apus affinis
Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis
White-spectacled Bulbul Pycnonotus xanthopygos
Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin Cercotrichas galactotes syriacus
Graceful Prinia Prinia gracilis
Olivaceous Warbler Acrocephalus pallidus elaeicus
Ménétries's Warbler Sylvia mystacea rubescens
Dead Sea Sparrow Passer moabiticus
Chestnut-shouldered Petronia Petronia xanthocollis
Desert Finch Rhodospizza obsolete

Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca
Pygmy Cormorant Microcarbo pygmeus
Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutes
Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
Slender-billed Gull Larus genei
White-winged Black Tern Chlidonias leucopterus
European Bee-eater Merops apiaster
European Roller Coracia garrulous
Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops
Syrian Woodpecker Dendrocopos syriacus
Eurasian Crag Martin Hirundo rupestris
Eastern Orphean Warbler Sylvia crassirostris
Rock Sparrow Petronia petronia

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus
Eurasian Coot Fulica atra
Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
Common Tern Sterna hirundo
Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaoto
European Collared Dove Streptopelia turtur
Northern Little Owl Athene noctua indigena
Long-eared Owl Asio otus
Common Swift Apus apus
Crested Lark Galerida cristata
Sand Martin Riparia riparia
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Common House Martin Delichon urbica
Great Reed Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus
Great Tit Parus major
Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator niloticus
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Hooded Crow Corvus cornix sharpii

To obtain information about the numbers and exact places we observed these species, please download the complete trip report in pdf-format from the QUICK LINKS! on the right.

Birecik has always had the Western Palearctic sub-zero status for birding areas amongst birders. Our expectations were very high, and luckily the birding indeed turned out to be stunning. A lot of target species were easily found, whereas others needed more than a day to be found, especially Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis. It should be noted that temperatures are extremely high (up to 40°C) in summer, starting from 09:00h until dark. Really good birding can therefore only be done in the very early morning. After 09:00h, only though guys will be able to walk around.

The areas visited have all been described by Dave Gosney in Finding Birds in Turkey – Ankara to Birecik and references are made above. Some extra comments need to be given, though. The village of Halfeti came across very dead. We actually saw not one bird, but this might have been caused by us visiting in the afternoon.
The spot formerly known to have breeding Cream-coloured Courser Cursorius cursor, Gosney site 6, was totally empty. In 2003, these birds have been seen again though, by two Dutch birders.
A species formerly breeding on the west banks of the river Euphrates, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater Merops persicus, has not been found here since quite some years. Unfortunately, we did neither.
Last but not least, the electricity substation described by Gosney as site 5 has been overgrown by some trees and is hard to find. Watch out for a split of the road westwards. The substation is here at the east side of the road. To see Chestnut-shouldered Petronia Petronia xanthocollis, check the electricity cables behind the nearby houses.

South of Birecik, birding along the eastern bank of the river Euphrates is very interesting. Gosney does not describe this area, unfortunately. If you have found the tea gardens where Pallid Scops Owl Otus brucei breed, drive further south through the outskirts of the village and keep the direction of the river. After a while, it is possible to ascend the dike along the river southwards. We travelled along this dike for many kilometres, which was very fruitful. The number of herons Ardeidae was impressive. Quite some ducks Anatidae could be found as well. Pied Kingfisher turned out to be easily found hunting above the pools on the landside of the dike.

Apart from birds, we observed a very beautiful butterfly, Plain Tiger Danaus chrysippus, closely related to the well-known Monarch Danaus plexippus. This was in the orchards north of Birecik, Gosney site 5. Try to find it, as I found it more stunning than many birds in the area!

We stayed two nights in the air-conditioned hotel Mirkelam, which can be found at the Petrol Ofise gasoline station just east of the river Euphrates and south of the main road. Smaller and less expensive hotels should be found on the west side of the river, in the centre of Birecik. Though, the air-conditioning was truly needed!

To find out more about the other places visited during our trip, just click one of the numbers below or one of the links on the right!

Route travelled through Turkey in 2004 Alanya surroundings Mediterranean coast road Göksu Delta Tarsus Delta Aladag Mountains: Demirkazik Between Sivas and Erzurum Gelinkaya, Sivri Kaya, Ovit Dagi Gecidi and surroundings Between Savsat and Ardahan Hills east and valley south of Ardahan Aktas Gölü and surroundings Between Igdir and Dogubayazit Isak Pasa Palace and surroundings Between Dogubayazit and Van Lake area Van Lake area, including Erçek Gölü and Van Hills Bulanik Area Nemrut Dagi near Tatvan Nemrud Dagi and surroundings, between Siverek and Adiyaman Birecik and surroundings Durnalik and surroundings Cyprus: Bellepais Monastery and surroundings Konya-Karaman-Eregli triangle Kulu Gölü Akseki and surroundings Click on one of the places visited!




1:Alanya surroundings
2:Mediterranean coast road
3:Göksu Delta
4:Tarsus Delta
5:Aladag Mountains
6:Between Sivas and Erzurum
7:Sivri Kaya and surroundings
8:Between Savsat and Ardahan
9:Ardahan surroundings
10:Aktas Gölü
11:"Small Mast Lake"
12:Between Igdir and Dogubayazit
13:Isak Pasa Palace
14:Between Dogubayazit and Van Lake area
15:Van Lake area
16:Bulanik Area
17:Nemrut Dagi near Tatvan
18:Nemrud Dagi and surroundings
19:Birecik and surroundings
20:Durnalik and surroundings
22:Konya-Karaman-Eregli triangle
23:Kulu Gölü
24:Akseki and surroundings


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