Georgia (one of the South Caucasus countries) is located at the edge of Asia and Europe. Georgia is a country of exceptional beauty: diverse in nature, with rich and ancient history
Tsminda Sameba Church ©Vaughan Ashby Birdfinders
The country is mostly complex and mountainous. The highest peak is 5,201m (peak Shkhara) above sea level. Due to Georgia’s specific geographic location, on a relatively small territory (69,700 square km.) there are extremely diverse ecosystems from Alpine meadows to semi-deserts, wetlands, costal landscape, numerous lakes and rivers, caves, magnificent mountain-chains and peaks covered with eternal snow.
Kazbegi ©Vaughan Ashby Birdfinders
The variety of ecosystems conditions the richness of the flora and fauna of Georgia. The forests cover 40% (2,75 million hectares) of the whole territory. 5% of it can be considered as virgin forests, and 40% of it retains the original structure. Up to 5,000 species of angiosperms and gymnosperms, about 8,300 species of sporoparous plants are found in Georgia. 380 species of them are endemic, and around 1,000 are endemic to the Caucasus.
Rock Bunting Emberiza cia ©Vaughan Ashby Birdfinders
There are around 110 species of mammals, more than 330 species of birds, 48 species of reptiles, 11 species of amphibians and 160 fish.
Mountain Chiffchaff Phylloscopus sindianus ©Vaughan Ashby Birdfinders
In Georgia there are several spectacular birdwatching locations, with very different characteristics. Each of them is interesting in terms of species composition. On a relatively small territory there is a multitude of diverse ecosystems. This is very favourable for bird watching, as in a short period of time and in area very close to each other it is possible to see birds from totally different habitats.
Güldenstädt’s (White-winged) Redstart Phoenicurus erythrogastrus ©Vaughan Ashby Birdfinders
Birders tend to target the ‘big five’ species: Caucasian Snowcock, Caucasian Black Grouse, Great Rosefinch, Güldenstädt’s Redstart and Caucasian Chiffchaff.
Great Rosefinch Carpodacus rubicilla ©Vaughan Ashby Birdfinders
Other regional specialties including: Twite (interior Asian form – a potential split), Red-fronted Serin, Wallcreeper, Citrine Wagtail, White-winged Snowfinch, Red-billed and Alpine Choughs, Chukar, Horned Lark, Water Pipit, Greenish Warbler, Barred Warbler, Alpine Accentor, Common Rosefinch and dozens of other species.
White-winged Snowfinch Montifringilla nivalis ©Vaughan Ashby Birdfinders
Common raptors include: Bearded Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Golden Eagle, Imperial Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Long-legged Buzzard, and Levant Sparrowhawk.
Major Source: Fatbirder
Map Source: Googlemaps™
Photo Source: Birdfinders