Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs IX. Regional Director

Wetland areas and bird paradises are the ecosystems that have great importance in conservation of biodiversity, which should be protected considering their social, cultural and economic contributions.

In Turkey, sheltered by two major bird migration routes and home to numerous migratory birds that pass through or visit; the responsibility in maintaining the balance of utilization and protection is increasing each day. With this awareness and with the purpose of moving Nallıhan Bird Paradise to being one of the important bird areas in our region; the “A Bird Paradise Accessible To Everybody” Project was prepared in collaboration with Nallıhan Union of Village Service Delivery. The Project has been implemented with the support of Ankara Development Agency.

Aim of this catalog, which is prepared as part of the project, is to identify and to present bird species observed in Nallıhan Bird Paradise more closely, to contribute to protection awareness, to fill in the information gap about Nallıhan birds, and to provide a resource for domestic and foreign visitors and researchers. Nallıhan’s Birds Catalog, being the most comprehensive source prepared for Nallıhan Bird Paradise, is one of the most important outcomes of “A Bird Paradise Accessible
To Everybody” project. Therefore, I would like to thank and wish continued success to everyone who took part in preparation of this eminent source, which will fill a major gap in the promotion of our region and birds.


Nallıhan District Governor

Since 2011, new agro-industrial plants have been established to diversify rural economy of Nallıhan and solidarity with our community has been achieved in order to protect natural and historic values of our district, all with increasing pace. Our efforts are continuing to make Nallıhan a top culture & nature tourism destination, with the help of Nallıhan’s strong history, rich cultural identity and natural/ecological treasures.

Projects aimed at strengthening our districts tourism infrastructure and touristic treasures have been made a prioritized agenda by our district government and related divisions. With this perspective, “A Bird Paradise Accessible To Everybody” Project was designed and executed to enable both specialists and public to benefit more from Nallıhan Bird Paradise, which is one of the top ornithologic sites in our country. The project will improve the infrastructure of the capital’s sole bird paradise which is home to more than hundred bird species, and also will make the site more accessible to public through scientific research and positive communication. The project was brought into life for turning our district with prominent nature into firstly a national, then an international tourism destination. It is also only one of our many works in infrastructure development of Nallıhan’s cultural and natural beauties.

With my wishes to meet in many other projects that contibutes to Nallıhan’s and Ankara’s development…

Nallıhan Bird Paradise

Nallıhan Bird Paradise is an artificial wetland ecosystem and was formed at the junction of Aladağ Stream and north of Sarıyar Dam which was opened in 1959. It is located in the village of Davutoğlan in Nallıhan district of Ankara province. Nallıhan Bird Paradise is located on the historical Silk Road and it is 130 km away from provinces of  Ankara and Eskişehir, 300 km away from Istanbul, 100 km away from Bolu, and 30 km away from Beypazarı and Nallıhan districts.

Nallıhan Bird Paradise is one of the Important Bird Areas (IBA) in Turkey. It was defined as Nallıhan Bird Paradise due to the presence of birds that it breeds. A 425-hectare area which was located at the junction of Aladağ Stream and Dam of Sarıyar, has been set as a Wildlife Development Area due to it’s intense bird population and hunting is prohibited in this area. After the prohibition of hunting, and limiting human activity in the field, together with the increase in the level of public awareness, now birds have an area where they could live and breed in safety.

Different ecological habitats such as willow grove, reeds and tamarisks which grew near the Aladağ Stream, extensive  farmlands, groves, steppe areas, rocky cliffs and hills and presence of rich nutrient provides shelter for different bird groups in the area.

191 bird species have been observed to date in Nallıhan Bird Paradise. Not only Nallıhan Bird Paradise, but also  Sarıyar Dam is important for bird life. Sarıyar Dam provides a shelter for thousands of waterbirds in the winter. In some years, the number of wintering waterfowl pass 50,000 in dam. Most of wintering birds in the area is composed of mallard, ruddy shelduck, common pochard, coot, cormorant and gull species as stated in several mid-winter waterfowl counts.

Willow grove near Aladağ Stream is flowing the dam, is one of the most important breeding habitats in Turkey for different egret species. 190 pairs of little egret, 140 couple of blackcrowned night heron and 170 couple of grey heron breeds in area of 5 ha willowy. While grey heron prefers the upper and middle branches of willow trees, little egret prefers areas close to the upper branches and / or branches of medium fornesting. Blackcrowned night heron, uses the lower branches of the willow trees. They make 8 or 15 nests in each willow tree. 2 pairs of black kite has been recorded near the willow trees around the colony. In the field of reeds in Bird Paradise; little grebe (> 5 pairs), great crested grebe (2 pairs), squacco heron (2 pairs), ruddy shelduck (20-30 pairs), mallard (15-20 pairs), coot (10 pairs) lie for incubation.

The rocky cliffs extending east and south in the back of Bird Paradise, are important breeding habitats for black storks and different species birds of prey. Breeding of 4 pairs of black stork, one pair of long-legged buzzard and two pairs of little owl and crag martin and western rock nuthatch has been recorded. In the update of Important Bird Areas in Turkey (2004), 20 couples of the Black Kite and Black Storks was reported to be breeding in the region.

No detailed breeding survey was carried out in the region. A detailed breeding atlas study is thought to reveal the rich avian biodiversity, especially raptors, which Nallıhan Bird Paradise breeds.

The presence of Aladağ Stream and seasonal oscillation in dam water level is important for bird populations of breeding, wintering, feeding and sheltering in the area. Most of the herons and storks which breed in Bird Paradise feed in Aladağ Stream. In the breeding period of birds between the months of May and July, increase in dam water level, provides secure and sheltered environment for birds which lie incubation in reeds and trees and causes increase in populations of frogs, insects and fish, etc. The reason of declines in populations of particular species of herons and storks in the dry periods was lack of access to space and to an unsuitable place for feeding birds. Therefore, the presence of birds in the site depends on protection of Aladağ Stream. The continuous release of dam water to the area is crucial for the survival of the avian fauna.

Geologic structure of the area has a great outstanding landscape reflecting the characteristics of lake sedimentary environment with yellow, brown and reddish layers on top each.

Nallıhan Bird Paradise is an ideal place for nature photography and bird watching due to presence of large number of birds all seasons andit’s geological and landscape values. Nallıhan Bird Paradise is only one hour away from Ankara, the capital and second largest city of Turkey. Thus it has great potential to be one of the ideal wetlands for bird-watching and nature photography excursions, and education activities for students of all ages.

Status of birds observed in the area:

Resident species: Resident species are found in the are all year round and not migratory.

Summer visitor: Summer visitors are species spending the winter in southern regions like Africa and coming to the area to breed.

Winter visitor: Winter visitors are species breeding in northern regions and coming to the area to spend the winter.

Passage migrant: Passage migrants are species that are not breeding or wintering in the area. They are only observed in spring and autumn.