Greece country programme

As part of our ongoing support for BirdLife International, we are supporting the Hellenic Ornithological Society (HOS), the Greek BirdLife Partner, to become a stronger, more effective and a self-sustainable organisation. Together we tackle key nature conservation issues in Greece.

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RSPB started work with the Greek BirdLife partner in 1998, when HOS was already fifteen years old. Greece is important because the Aegean islands hold important populations of Mediterranean birds endangered elsewhere, including 80 per cent of the world’s breeding population of Eleonora’s falcon and a significant proportion of the Yelkouan shearwater.
Greece has magnificent natural sites and habitats, including internationally important marshlands, which for example support the world’s largest breeding colony of the globally threatened Dalmatian pelican and receives most of the wintering Fenno-Scandian endangered lesser white fronted geese.

High nature value Mediterranean farmland also still exists across large parts of the country. Therefore, a strong partner in Greece is essential to conserve these and other important elements of Greek nature to help protect biodiversity.


  • Build a strong and effective BirdLife Partner organisation in Greece, by exchanging knowledge on developing and managing the operations of an organisation, such as strategic planning, project development and delivery, financial management, and growing and maintaining membership services.
  • Identify, protect and manage Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Greece.
  • Save globally threatened species from extinction, including Eleonora's falcon and the lesser white-fronted goose.
  • Monitor the population trends of common and rare breeding birds and the bird populations in IBAs in order to identify threats at an early stage.
  • Lobby for the protection of both rare and common bird species in the countryside, by influencing policies at a national level.
  • Promote bird and nature conservation among the Greek society and build public support for HOS.

Planned Work

Our support to HOS is a combination of annual funding for key elements of HOS’ core organisational costs and focussed technical support in key areas.


  • HOS has grown to become an efficient, professional nature conservation organisation with 20 full-time staff, and an impressive portfolio of conservation projects and public outreach work.
  • HOS has identified and is monitoring 196 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Greece. Thanks to pressure by HOS and the European Commission, many of these are already protected as Special Protection Areas (SPAs) as part of the EU Natura 2000 network. Recently the Greek Government declared a further 12 new SPAs as a direct result of a European court case instigated by HOS.
  • HOS is developing dedicated groups of ‘IBA caretakers’, who monitor these important areas, and is working on the highest priority sites to secure effective management and protection.
  • HOS runs a series of volunteer camps and work placements at key sites such as the Agras wetland, to undertake hands-on site management work.
  • HOS is running a comprehensive conservation programme for several globally threatened or rare species, like the lesser white-fronted geese, and Eleonora’s falcon.
  • HOS recently evaluated the impacts of accidental and deliberate poisoning of birds at a national level. It is now leading efforts to establish a national anti-poisoning campaign.
  • HOS is carrying out coastal and marine research to identify marine IBAs which will protect important feeding areas for seabirds.
  • HOS monitors common breeding birds and undertakes mid-winter waterfowl counts with the help of many volunteers.
  • HOS maintains a successful ‘WorldBirds’ database collecting valuable bird distribution data provided by volunteer birdwatchers.
  • HOS operates the only migration bird observatory in Greece, on the island of Anthykythera.
  • HOS is lobbying the relevant authorities on national policies which can have a negative impact on birds and biodiversity.
  • HOS is running a series of programmes to introduce people to birds and nature conservation in both rural areas and an urban city park in Athens

Species affected (not UK birds)

Yelkouan shearwater, Cory's shearwater, Eleonora's falcon, Lesser white-fronted goose


HOS-BirdLife Greece
Vas. Irakleiou 24, GR-10682, Athens, Greece Tel/Fax. +30 210 8227937, +30 210 8228704


This programme is not externally funded.

Further reading

Tagged with: Country: Greece Country: International Project status: Ongoing Project types: Advocacy Project types: Education Project types: Site protection Project types: Species protection