Are you trying to identify a bird found in Turkey?
This can be an immense challenge because of the sheer number of species. Did you know there have been 527 species recorded here?
As you can imagine, there was no way to include this many birds in the below article. So instead, I tried to focus on the birds that are most regularly seen and observed in gardens, backyards, and feeding stations.
Today, you will learn about 12 COMMON types of birds in Turkey!
#1. Common Chaffinch
- Fringilla coelebs
- Males are rust-colored, with green on the upper back. They have a gray cap that curls around the back of their head, surrounding the earhole, and looks like a shirt collar.
- Females are duller with a greenish-brown head, white tail feathers, and a green posterior.
- Both sexes have bright white stripes on their wings.
Common Chaffinches are incredibly common, mostly because they are so adaptable. Look for this small songbird in Turkey in many habitats, such as forests, parks, and neighborhoods with lots of tree cover.
Chaffinches are incredibly common at bird feeders. They are most often seen on the ground cleaning up the seed that has fallen from above, with sunflower hearts being their favorite. These birds can become so tame in backyards that they flutter around people as they come outside, expecting to be fed or the feeders refilled!
Their song is so beautiful that a group of these birds is known as a “Charm!” Their songs usually contain a rattling series of notes that start high and lower toward the end.
#2. Common Blackbird
- Turdus merula
- Males are entirely black with a bright yellow ring around the eyes. The beak is bright orange.
- Females and juveniles are mottled brown with yellowish-brown beaks. However, they still have a bright yellow eye ring.
The Eurasian or Common Blackbird is one of the most recognizable birds in Turkey. Their preferred territories include gardens, wooded habitats, parks, and farmland with hedges. Look for them on lawns and fields, where they spend most of their time foraging insects and earthworms.
Like many blackbirds, this species is extremely territorial, especially during breeding. Look for squabbles and fights to break out regularly over food, nesting locations, and seemingly nothing at all!
Listen for the Eurasian Blackbird’s multi-toned warbling cry, which is easy to recognize, but harder to describe.
#3. Eurasian Collared Dove
- Streptopelia decaocto
- The coloring of this species is gray throughout and slightly darker at the back.
- They have a small black horizontal stripe on the back of the neck, outlined in white.
- Their beaks and eyes are black, and their legs are pale pink to red.
Despite its drab color, the Eurasian Collared Dove is a very interesting bird in Turkey!
This species is native to Turkey but has spread across the globe through a series of unlikely events. First, in the mid-1970s, a pet shop in the Bahamas was robbed, and a few Eurasian Collared Doves were released. Then, not long after, more were set free on the island of Guadaloupe during a volcanic eruption. Then, the birds traveled to North America and spread throughout the continent!
Another truly strange feature of the Eurasian Collared Dove is the way it drinks. Unlike most birds that gather water in their beak and tip their head back to drink, this species uses its beak as a straw! It seems unlikely that this large gray bird could have anything in common with a tiny, flashy hummingbird, but they look similar when drinking water.
One of the easiest ways to recognize this species is to listen for its three-note song, which sounds like “coo-coo-coooo.” They also give a warning screech if they land near another bird as if they’re honking a car horn on arrival.
#4. Eurasian Jackdaw
- Coloeus monedula
- Their coloring is dark gray, slightly lighter on the back of the head and shoulders.
- They have a bright white eye ring, dark grey legs and feet, and a dark-colored, pointed beak.
As a member of the crow family, Eurasian Jackdaws prefer open spaces like farmland, pastures, or open woods. So look for these birds in Turkey on open lawns in the suburbs, especially near bird feeders.
To attract them to your feeding station, offer peanuts in a tray, which is their favorite feeder food. In the wild, they eat insects and other small creatures while foraging on the ground.
Jackdaws don’t have a distinctive song, but a muted call that sounds like “Chek! Chek! Chek!” is typical for these birds.
#5. Eurasian Jay
- Garrulus glandarius
- Overall, their coloring is brownish-tan, but that can vary dramatically based on location.
- Black wings, beaks, cheek patches, and legs stand out against the brown of its body.
- Flashy wing patches show blue, white, and black iridescence, and the head is white with dark brown streaks.
The Eurasian Jay is one of the most strikingly colored birds in Turkey!
Its brown-colored body just highlights the bold coloring of its wings and tail. When spread in flight, this species’ wings have a brilliant blue and white patch that’s impossible to miss! In addition, its bright white patches on the wingtips and base of the tail add more flair to this flashy bird.
Because its coloring is so brilliant, they stand out to predators, so they have to rely on other means for defense. For example, Eurasian Jays are a master of imitation and often produce calls identical to predators like goshawks and buzzards.
However, its natural call is distinctive and sounds like “weeeerrah” repeated over and over with a four- to ten-second pause in between.
#6. Magpie (Eurasian)
- Pica pica
- The head, neck, and breast coloring are shiny black with iridescent purple and green highlights.
- Their shoulders, outer wing tips, and belly are all stark white, though the white wing tips are best observed in flight.
- This species’ feathers between the shoulder and wingtips, as well as the tail, can be iridescent blue-green.
Look for Eurasian Magpies in open countryside, meadows, and rocky areas. They avoid dense forests but often visit parks, gardens, and cities. I think Magpies are beautiful with their mix of black, white, and blue coloring, but they can be aggressive around other birds and at feeders.
This species is one of the most intelligent birds in Turkey.
They imitate human speech, and they can recognize themselves in a mirror. In addition, they often cooperate to achieve goals, play games together, and even use tools. Most notably, they grieve when a mate dies, singing specialized songs and behaving differently for a period of time.
The Magpie you see in Turkey is also referred to as the Common or Eurasian Magpie, and its scientific name is Pica pica. In North America, the scientific name is Pica hudsonia and is referred to as the American or Black-billed Magpie. Both of these species look identical.
Although they mostly produce mimic vocalizations, they have a natural call that sounds like a raspy chuckle.
- Chloris chloris
- Males have olive-green plumage tinged with yellow during mating season, which grows duller the rest of the year.
- Females and juveniles are always dull grayish-brown.
- They have stout, conical beaks well-adapted for eating seeds.
Have you ever seen a “frowning” bird? Well, then you have never met a Greenfinch. Take a look at their bill! Greenfinches love to visit backyards that offer sunflowers, and they have no issue cracking through the hard shell with their powerful beaks.
Even though most European Greenfinches are year-round residents, those in the far north will migrate to avoid harsh winters. Look for them in open woods, parks, gardens, and farmland.
Unfortunately, some farming practices like using fertilizers and insecticides are causing a decline in European Greenfinch populations. This species is a natural forager, and its diet is easily contaminated with these chemicals, causing sickness and even death.
Listen for the Greenfinch’s unique song, which sounds like “twee-twee-twee, tseeeeee, twee-twee-twee, tseeeeee.”
#8. Goldfinch (European)
- Carduelis carduelis
- The distinct color pattern is present in males and females: a bright red face with white cheeks, a black cap, and a brown back and chest. They have black and white striped wings with a golden yellow bar. The tail is black with white markings.
- Their beaks are conical and strong, white with a black tip.
The Goldfinch might be the most well-known bird in Turkey!
Its distinct coloring, simple but pretty song, and fondness for bird feeders make it a well-loved addition to any backyard.
To attract this acrobatic songbird, offer sunflower seeds or nyger (thistle) seed. It’s a favorite among goldfinches! Of course, flowers, fruits, and the buds of plants are also common food sources, and parents will feed insects to hatchlings.
European Goldfinches are gregarious and readily form flocks. They like to assemble in groups of nearly 40 birds and sing together, which is quite a sight!
#9. Robin (European)
- Erithacus rubecula
- Their coloring is orange on the face and breast with slate-blue sides and neck. Their backs are tan, and their bellies are white.
- The beak and eyes are dark brown, while the feet and legs are light brown.
Robins are one of the most widespread birds in Turkey!
You can find them across many habitats, but they are especially common visitors to backyards and gardens. The Robin is one of Turkey’s most charming and popular birds. They have become tame and are a welcome sight in any backyard. Robins are even known to follow gardeners around! 🙂
They enjoy eating worms, but they will also eat seeds, other invertebrates and insects, fruit, and nuts. During the winter, they’re attracted to suet, especially if it contains mealworms.
You’re likely to hear European Robins singing at all hours of the day. They’re usually the first to start calling in the morning and the last to stop in the evening. Listen for a sweet, breathy song that turns up in pitch at the end.
#10. European Starling
- Sturnus vulgaris
- Winter plumage is black with white spots across the body.
- Summer plumage has a purple-green iridescence, which catches the light beautifully.
- The beak is black, except during breeding season when it turns yellow.
European Starlings are considered a “bully” at backyard feeders. They have the unfortunate habit of descending on a bird feeder in large groups, pushing out other birds, and wiping out tons of food in a single sitting.
In North America, where this species is invasive, many smaller birds have difficulty surviving alongside European Starlings. However, birds in Turkey tend to push back more and reclaim their territory against these blackbirds.
Farmers also have their hands full with starlings flocks since they enjoy eating berries, cherries, and other crop foods. They will even steal feed from livestock like cattle and horses!
European Starlings have a variety of calls, and they even mimic other species. Listen for rattles, trilling, chattering, and whistles. They’re known to imitate over 20 different species, including jays, meadowlarks, and hawks.
#11. House Sparrow
- Passer domesticus
- Males are predominantly slate gray, with black stripes under the chin and from the beak to the eyes. In addition, they have brown “eyebrows” and brown, black, and white-streaked wings.
- Females are far plainer, mostly dull brown and gray.
House Sparrows are opportunistic birds that live across Turkey.
Although its native numbers in Turkey are declining slightly, it has become invasive across much of the rest of the world, where it thrives with little competition and pushes out many native species.
This species is granivorous, meaning they prefer flowers, grasses, and bird seed mixes. Unfortunately, their fearlessness around people and other birds means they can easily take over your feeders. However, by eliminating millet and other grains, you can increase your variety of visitors.
In most urban and suburban areas, it’s INCREDIBLY COMMON to see House Sparrows. They owe their success to their ability to adapt and live near humans. Unlike most other birds, they love grains and are commonly seen eating bread and popcorn at amusement parks, sporting events, etc.
House Sparrows can be heard across the entire planet. Pay attention the next time you’re watching the news in another country. Listen for a simple song that includes lots of “cheep” notes.
#12. Great Tit
- Parus major
- A yellow belly with a distinctive black stripe running right down the middle of its chest, a jade back, and a black cap and collar that contrasts with its white cheek patches.
- Its wings are grey-brown with a flashy lateral white-yellow bar, and the tail is a black fan.
The Great Tit is one of the most recognizable birds in Turkey.
They live throughout Turkey in mixed forests, clearings, and dense woodlands. They have a particular affinity for people, and you’ll often find them in parks, gardens, cultivated fields, and even cities.
Climate change is causing an unexpected conflict between the Great Tit and another European bird, the Pied Flycatcher. Historically, these two species used the same breeding grounds at different times of the year. But because climate change is causing seasonal temperature fluctuations, the species have started showing up at the breeding sites simultaneously.
Unfortunately for the Pied Flycatcher, they are severely outmatched by the Great Tit, which weighs nearly twice as much. Great Tits often kill Pied Flycatchers in territory disputes, and it’s causing a decrease in Pied Flycatcher populations.
The Great Tit has over 70 songs and vocalizations! There are so many different calls to choose from; compilations are available so you can familiarize yourself with common examples.
Do you need help identifying birds of Turkey?
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Which of these birds in Turkey have you seen before?
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