Albania Birding Tour

Tour Overview
Bird-lovers travel from all over the world to experience the unusual bird species of Albania. According to Birdlife International Albania boasts a birdlist of around 300 species, of which 8 is listed as globally threatened.
The mountainous country offers fantastic birding opportunities with the coastal regions and wetlands as the main attractions. These areas host dense populations of rare birds with Karavasta Lagoon in the Divjaka-Karavasta National Park as a hostpot for some exquisite birding. One of the main attractions in the Park is the nesting of a rare species of Dalmatian pelican.
Explore the wonderful avian world of Albania with us on our 8-day expert-guided tour.

Tour starts and ends in Tirana
Tour duration:8 days / 7 nights
Type of accommodation: Comfortable / Mid-range
Summary of Day to day ItineraryDay 1:
Arrival in Tirana, departure for Divjaka-Karavasta and overnight in Divjaka

Divjaka-Karavasta National Park is the only breeding place for the Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus), the largest bird of Europe, with a colony of 80 breeding pairs located at the Karavasta Lagoon. We will observe the colony from a safe distance with great chance to take photographs of the breeding pairs and their chicks. The lagoon also serves as a breeding site for other bird species that include nesting colonies of Little Tern, Yellow-legged Gull, Common Tern & Pied Avocet as well as passerines such as the Black-headed feldegg race of Yellow Wagtail. The park is also home to Squacco Heron & Glossy Ibis and a large colony of Pygmy Cormorant.

Day 2:
Morning walk in Divjaka-Karavasta National Park and Overnight in Vlora

We start our morning’s birdwatching with a visit to the abandoned farmland in the southern part of the park where we hope to see some of the ground nesting birds such as Collared Pratincole, Eurasian Thick-knee (Stone Curlew), Kentish Plover and Tawny Pipit. Other interesting species that can be found here include Woodchat, Red-backed & Lesser Grey Shrike, Zitting Cisticola and Redrumped Swallow.

In the afternoon we leave for Vlora. We will stop along the way to find nesting European Roller, White Stork, Olivaceous Warbler, Black-eared Wheatear (melanoleuca), Spanish Sparrow and other passerines. Close to Vlora we do another quick stop at Akernia plain, hoping to see breeding Calandra, Tawny Pipit, European Thick-knee, Little Ringed Plover, Collared Pratincole and Short-toed & Crested Lark.

Day 3:
Panaja hills, Akernia plain, Narta saltpans and overnight in Saranda

Panaja hills, close to Vlora are covered with Mediterranean macquis and olive groves.  These habitats offer shelter to different passerines like Sardinian, Subalpine, Olivaceous & Olive-tree Warbler.  After a morning walk, we reach the dike dividing the Salinas and the lagoon of Narta.  This area hosts an abundance of  breeding and resident birds.   A highlight of  our morning is the high numbers of colonially nesting birds  in the area, such as Avocet, Collared Pratincole, Gull-billed, Little & Common Tern and Black-Winged Stilt. Other birds of the are include Stone Curlew, Dalmatian Pelican, Eurasian Spoonbill, Mediterranean Gull and migrating Curlew Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper and Mediterranean Gull.

After lunch we leave for Orikum and Saranda with a few stops on our way to see Ferruginous Duck, Shrikes, Black-Headed Bunting, Blue Rock Thrush, Rock Bunting & Rock Nuthatch.

Day 4:
Visit Butrint National Park and overnight in Gjirokastra

We will leave for Butrint National Park in the early morning. Butrint is a historical world heritage site and wetland ecosystem close to Mile peak. Apart from the brackish wetland sites, the area is covered with Mediterranean macquis and oak forest.

Our main targets in the Park are Somber Tit, Rock Nuthatch, Sardinian Warbler,Subalpine Warbler, a colony of the Spanish Sparrow, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Levant Sparrowhawk, Turtle Dove, Black-head Bunting as well as waterbirds.

Day 5:
Visit the Globally Important Area of Gjirokastra, Vjosa valley, Carshova and overnight in Korca

The site was designated a ‘Globally Important Bird Area’ due to the pre-migration flocks of Lesser Kestrels. Two to Three percent of the global population can be present in the area in late July. Three breeding pairs of the globally vulnerable Egyptian Vulture are resident to the area.

On our morning walk we will explore the valley for passerines, specifically Lesser Grey Shrike, Alpine Swifts and Alpine Cough. Other targets include Egyptian Vulture, Golden & Shorttoed Snake Eagles, Peregrine Falcon, Levant Sparrowhawk, and Turtle Dove. Little Ringed Plover, White Stork and Black Stork can also be spotted in this area.

Before we leave for Korca we will try again to see the Egyptian Vulture.

Day 6:
Visit Prespa National Park and overnight in Korca

Prespa National Park is a tectonic, fresh water lake, with limited reedbeds and surrounded by oak forests and the high Dry Mountain (2,890m). The site offers spectacular landscapes and great views of both land and waterbirds. At the lake it is easy to see mixed flocks of Dalmatian and Great White Pelicans, Goosander, Little Bittern and a number of Grebe species. We also hope to see the colony of Alpine Swift as well as Bearded Reedling.

The area around the lake offers great possibilities to observe other species like the Eastern Orphean and Barred Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Rock Nuthatch and, if we are really lucky, Cretzschmar’s Bunting.

Day 7:
Visit Korca Park, Maliq lake, Ohrid Lake, Shkumbin River and overnight in Tirana

We will start our day with a morning walk in Korca urban park looking for urban birds and woodland species. The park has breeding birds such as the Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Woodchat Shrike, Eurasian Wryneck, Syrian Woodpecker, and European Serin.

OUr next stop is a visit to Maliq Marsh where we could see Ferruginous Duck, Pygmy Cormorant, Green Sandpiper, White Stork and birds of prey including Hobby and Short-toed Snake Eagle. In Pogradec, at Ohrid lake, we should see Goosander, Little Bittern, and other waterbirds as well as Crag & Sand Martins, and Red-rumped Swallow.

Our final stop in Krraba will be focused on species present in the cliffs where we hope to see Blue Rock Thrush, Little Owl and Rock Nuthatch as well as other resident species in the surrounding vegetation such as Sardinian Warbler and Golden Oriole.

Day 8:
Visit Tirana Lake Park, Tirana Urban areas and Dajti mountain

We start the day wuth a birding walk at Tirana Lake Park looking for Syrian, Middle Spotted, Great Spotted & Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers, Wryneck, Icterine and Cetti’s Warbler. At the adjacent urban areas, close to the park, we will try to distinguish between Pallid and Common Swift.

We leave for Dajti National Park with stops along the way to see Warblers, Blue Rock Thrush, Black-eared Wheatear, Marsh Tit and forest birds.
This is where our wonderful birding adventure in Albania comes to an end.


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