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The Butterflies of Cappadocia

Papilio MachaonSmall oases of green vegetation scattered along the otherwise inhospitable valleys provide sustenance not only for human beings but for a wide diversity of wildlife, including birds, insects and reptiles. In the first warm days of April butterflies and moths of a myriad colours and designs emerge from their chrysalises. One of Europe’s foremost areas in this respect, Cappadocia is home to over two or three times the number of moths. What makes Cappadocia of particular interest to naturalists is the fact that species native to Europe, North Africa and the Near East are found together here.

Allancastria CerisyiPotato fields attract Papilio Machaon, with its blue and red spots on white ground and wings tapering into long tails. The Balkan species Allancastria Cerisyi is also to be seen here, as is the rare Parnassius Apollon, which flutters on the high forested slopes of Mount Erciyes. The lovely Issoria Hathonla, with is metallic silvery spots on the underside of its wings, appears in late spring and can be seen throughout the summer. A visitor to flower gardens in summer and autumn is the large Argynnis Paphia, while in in the summer the dry hills are home to Chazara Briseis, Chazara Briseispatterned in grey and yellow on black. One of the species unique to Turkey is Agrodiaetus Iphigenia Nonacriensis, distinguished by its incandescent turquoise wings. Most famous of the species native to the Cappadocian region and not found else where is Zygaena Kapadokia, a tiny but beautiful butterfly moth which lives in grassland.

Cynthia CarduiButterflies are generally short lived, but there are exceptions among migrating species which leave North Africa in early spring and fly thousands of kilometres northwards. The most common of these is Cynthia Cardui, which is seen throughout Europe as far as Scandinavia. The first swarms of migrating butterflies arrive in April, and remain until October, laying eggs twice during the summer on thistles and nettles. So when you are in Cappadocia take time out from the frescos and rock hewn churches to watch for the butterflies, which add another dimension of interest and colour to this unique region.


Butterfly Valley (Fethiye)
butterfly-valley_s.jpg (9523 bytes)

Butterfly Valley opens onto a cove near Fethiye on Turkey's southwest coast. This deep steep-sided valley has a floor of approximately ten hectares in area where almost all the butterfly and moth species of the Mediterranean coastal region are to be found, making it an open-air natural history museum. The abundance of lepidoptera is owing to the humid microclimate created by waterfalls in the valley, and also to the hundred or so different plant species found here. The butterfly which inspired the valley's name is the so-called leopard butterfly (Euplagia quadripunctaria), one of the loveliest members of the Arctiidae family. Between June and October hundreds of these butterflies gather in a large colony here.

butterfly-valley1.jpg (9394 bytes)For nine or ten months from late winter onwards it is possible to follow the full life cycle of the butterflies of the valley. Here naturalists have identified around 35 butterfly and 40 moth species, the latter including some of the Mediterranean regions most strikingly patterned species, Sphingidae.

Most people make day trips to the valley by boat from the Ölüdeniz lagoon, a trip of 30 minutes. The boats usually stop off on the way at the Blue Cave, and if the captain of your boat stays here long enough for a swim, do not miss the chance to swim into the cave and experience the full impact of its beauty.

The valley lies in the foothills of the 2000 metre high Mount Babadağ and runs between soaring rock walls. An alternative way to arrive is by hang-glider off Babadağ, so making a spectacular flying start to your visit.

butterfly3.jpg (17165 bytes)There are two paths through the valley, one leading to the waterfalls and the other to the village of Faralya. The first path leads you past many different plants, flowers and trees, and the fragrance of thyme and other aromatic plants saturates the air. As you walk deeper into the valley the rock walls close in. If you are lucky you will come across flocks of butterflies which scatter at your approach. During our walk, I and my friend Rıfat Kılar, a keen amateur entomologist, chanced upon a pair of large tailed Machaon butterflies in the process of mating. This type of butterfly is a rare sight under any circumstances, and we were lucky that they posed for us for several minutes, preoccupied with their own affairs.

butterfly-valley2.jpg (4737 bytes)The valley comes to a dead-end at high sheer cliffs, down which two waterfalls cascade to the ground. We showered under the falls as a reward for reaching our destination. The second path leading to the village is so extremely steep that as a safety measure ropes have been left at a couple of critical points. If panic does not get the better of you, negotiating this difficult route is well worth the exertion. As you climb higher magnificent views over Butterfly Valley are spread at your feet. When you eventually reach the village you see a sign reading George House. The first Americans who came here years ago stayed in the house of Rıdvan Karaburun, and dubbed his house after their friend George whom they likened to their host. Foreigners who came to the valley subsequently on their recommendation began to ask for George House, and so Rıdvan Karaburun put up a sign. During your visit to George Rıdvan's house you can eat a delicious meal of local village cuisine accompanied by a refreshing drink of ayran (yogurt and water).

Over recent years many people have come to Butterfly Valley not just as day trippers from the lagoon, but to stay and enjoy its scenery wildlife at leisure. They include naturalists doing research and young visitors and students who come here for alternative holidays. Building development is prohibited in the valley, but those who wish to stay overnight may use the shelters covered by branches and leaves, platforms built in the trees, or bring tents with them. In the evenings as a camp fire blazes on the beach, you can watch the stars.

butterfly2.jpg (12920 bytes)There is no electricity, telephones, television, buildings or roads in Butterfly Valley, proving that tourism can thrive without any of these modern conveniences, and that unspoiled nature alone is what many come to Turkey. 

Turkey is a country at the junction of three continents, and both its flora and fauna are exceptional in their diversity. Some of the most spectacular members of the world of butterflies and moths, Machaon and Podalirius of the Papilionidae family, are widely found in every region of Turkey. A rare butterfly, Alexanor, which is not found in Europe at all, is found in some areas of the country. Endemic species found in limited areas of the country are an important illustration of Turkey's biological diversity, such as Maniola telmessis found in Fethiye which is a subspecies of the more widespread Maniola jurtina. The name telmessis refers to the ancient name for Fethiye. Apollo butterflies are a Turkish species which lives at an altitude range of 2000-2500 metres and is larger than its European counterparts. Cabbage whites - Pieris rapae, the chrome yellow Colias, and red admiral Vanessa atalanta are widespread all over Turkey. Painted ladies are found across much of the world and migrate in large flocks. Another migrating species, Danaus chrysippus, is one of the Mediterranean regions loveliest butterflies. The tiny Yptima is common in southern Turkey but unknown in Europe, while Krinia roxelana and Archon apollinus are only seen in Turkey and Greece.

butterfly1.jpg (14148 bytes)Lepidoptera species tend to show very slight variations between the northern and southern parts of Turkey. For example the Gonepteryx rhamni of the north is replaced by the Gonepteryx farinosa of the south, while the Limenitis camilla makes way for Limenitis reducta, and Argynnis paphia for Argynnis pandora. These fine local distinctions reflect the rich subspecies potential in Turkey.

Unfortunately no fully comprehensive list of all the butterflies living in Turkey has ever been drawn up, and at high altitudes in southeast and eastern Turkey no systematic research has been carried out at all. Information about Turkish moth species is even more sparse. A massive three volume work entitled Die Tagfalter der Türkei published in London by Classey in 1996 is the most comprehensive study of the subject at present.



Sultan Sazlığı Bird Paradise


1.071 m.


Overlapping the counties of Yeşilhisar, Yahyalı and Develi
to the southwest of Mount Erciyes


14.000 ha.


This wetland, located in the middle of the Yeşilhisar-Develi Plain and known as Sultansazlığı (Sultan Marsh), consists of a freshwater marsh covered with reeds in its southern section, the saline Lake Yay in the northern section, and the barren lands surrounding these two. Sultan Marsh is fed by streams descending from the Ala Mountains in the south as well as by springs with a high output. The Akkoy Dam has been constructed for irrigation purposes on Yeşilhisar Stream, a stream that originates in the Ala Mountains and curves down into the plain from north of Yeşilhisar Country without a well-defined bed. Dundarlı Stream, which comes in from the south and descends into the plain three km. west of the villages of Ovaçiftlik joining the marsh as a delta, has also been dammed up by Kovalı Dam for irrigation purposes. Ağaçasar Dam as well has been built for the purpose of irrigation on Yahyalı Stream, which descends from the Ala Mountains, crossing the County of Yahyalı and reaching the marsh through a number of canals. Develi Stream, which originates on Mountain Koç and crosses Develi Country, flowing on into the plain, disappears near the villages of Sindelhöyük without reaching the lake. It is planned to use the Soysallı spring north of Lake Yay, which have a high output, for irrigation purposes in summer as well, and to channel the rest of the water into the lake. Studies concerning these projects were undertaken in 1960 and culminated in the implementation of the Great Develi Irrigation Project at the beginning of the 1970's. The same project also included draining of Sultan Marsh and Lake Yay. Nevertheless, when the General Directorate of National Parks and Hunting and the Association for the Conservation of Nature in Turkey joined forces to protest the destruction of this important wetland in 1974, their protests won acceptance and appropriate modifications were made in the project, and both the marsh and the lake were spared.

There are number of islands in Lake Yay, a salt water lake is situated between the freshwater marshes on its north and south. These islands are important breeding grounds for birds.

A large part of these freshwater marshes is covered with reeds, and reed communities are encountered growing on the lake floor and floating on its surface as well. Among these extensive beds of reeds and cattails, several small ponds of still water of one hectare or less can be seen. Several species of the underwater plants known as Myrophyllum, a favourite food of ducks, are found in these areas of open water. Such species as Carex, Typha, Juncus and Scirpus are encountered in the north section of Sultan Marsh and Sazdamları marsh north of Lake Yay. Such salt-resistant species as Salicornia are found in the barren areas surrounding the marshes and the lake, while steppe vegetation such as Depioioum, Limmonium, Astragallus and Cynodon are found in the less salty areas.

Freshwater tortoises, water snakes, green frogs, water frogs, and night frogs are encountered in the freshwater marshes and reedbeds, and small fish of the family Cyprinidae are found at the outlets of Soysallı spring and the mouths of Yahyalı and Dundarlı streams. Among mammals, the Shrew (Neomys anomalus) is found in the reedbeds.


Ornithological Importance

Sultan Marsh is one of the largest and most important wetlands in Turkey as well as in the Middle East and Europe. The number of species of birds, both predators and warblers, that visit, winter or breed in this area and its environs, where fresh and saltwater ecosystems are found side by side, is around 250, with extremely high number of certain bird communities during the migration season. Population of Flamingo reach 50.000, Shelduck 10.000 and ducks of various species 600.000. Another salient feature of the area is its importance as the southernmost breeding ground in the Western Palaearctic Region for several species of birds. Pintail Duck, Teal, Tufted Duck and Blackheaded Gull may be cited as examples. The wealth and composition of species, the large populations afforded refuge, the number of varied habitats found side by side and the existing flora and fauna make this a high class a wetland by international standards.


Main Breeding Species:

Flamingo, Spoonbill, White Pelican, Glossy Ibis, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Cattle Egret, Squacco Heron, Night Heron, Great Crested Grebe, Redthroated Diver, Pygmy Cormorant, Little Bittern, Stork, Greyleg Goose, Shelduck, Ruddy Shelduck, Gadwall, Teal Mallard, Pintail Duck, Garganey, Red-crested Pochard, Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Waterhen, Little Crake, Corn Crake, Moorhen, Coot, Crane, Oyster Catcher, Stilt, Avocet, Stone Curlew, Pratincole, Woodcock, Redshank, Blackheaded Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Gull-billed Tern, Common Tern, Whiskered Tern, Least Tern, White-winged Black Tern and, in the barren areas, Sandgrouse.


Visitors and Wintering Species:

Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Red-throated Diver, Black-throated Diver, Cormorant, Pygmy Cormorant, Dalmatian Pelican, Bittern, Great White Egret, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Black Stock, Flamingo, Mute Swan, Greyleg Goose, White-fronted Goose, Shelduck, Ruddy Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Mallard, Pintail Duck, Garganey, Shoveler, Marbled Teal, Red-crested Pochard, Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Tufted Duck, Smew, Stiff-tailed Duck, Coot, Moorhen, Stilt, Avocet, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Dotterel, Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Green Plover, Spurwing Plover, Ruff, Godwit, Curlew, Sandpipers, Mediterranean Gull, Little Gull, Lesser Blackbacked Gull and Herring Gull.

List of birds of Sultansazlığı
Miller's watershrew
Etruscan shrew
Marbled polecat
Wild Boar
Brown Hare
Lesser Molerat
Gray Hamster
Golden Hamster
Desert Rat
Water Vole
Common Vole
Little Grebe
Great Grested Grebe
Red Necked Grebe
Black Necked Grebe
Pygmy comorant
White Pelican
Dalmatian Pelican
Night Horen
Squacco Heron
Cattle Egret
Little Egret
Great While Egret
Gray Heron
Purple Heron
Black Stork
White Stork
Glossy This
Great Flamingo
Mute Swan
Pink froot goose
White froot goose
Greylag goose
Ruddy Sheiduck
Water Rail
Zpotted Crake
Little Crake
Purple Gallinule
Little Bustard
Great Bustard
Black winged still
Stone Curlew
Collared Pratincole
Little ringed plover
Ringed Plover
Kentlis Plover
Great Sandplover
Golden plover
Silver Plover
Spur winged Plover
Sociable Plover
Little Stint
Temmick's Stint
Scops Owl
Eagle Owl
Little Owl
Tawny Owl
Long Eared Owl
Short Eared Owl
Alpine Swift
Bee Eater
Syrian Woodpecker
Calaranda Lark
Bimacullated Lark
Field Lark
Lesser Short Toed Lark
Grested Lark
Sand Martin
House Martin
Crag martin
Tawny Pipit
Meadow Pipit
Meadow Pipit
Red Thorated Pipit
Water and Rock Pipit
Blueheaded &Yellow Wagtails
Citrine Wagtail
White and Pied Wagtail
Hedgesparrow or Dunnock
Spotted Flycatcher
Collared Flycatcher
Pied Flycatcher
Long Tailed
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Rock Nuthatch
Penduline Tit
Golden Oriole
Backed Shrike
Lesser Grey Shrike
Masked Shrike
Woodchat Shrike
Hooded Crow
Marbled Duck
Red Crested Pechard
Ferruginous Duck
Honey Buzzard
Black Kite
Egyption Vulture
Griffon Vulture
Short Toed Eagle
Marsh Harrier
Hen Harrier
Pallaid Harrier
Montagu's Harrier
Long legged Buzzard
Lesser Spotted Eagle
Steppe Eagle
Imperial Eagle
Golden Eagle
Booted Eagle
Lesser Kenstrel
Red Footed Falcon
Lanner Falcon
Seker Falcon
Curlew Sandpiper
Blact tailed godwit
Spotted Redshank
Green Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper
Red Necked Phalorope
Mediterranean Gull
Little Gull
Black handed Gull
Slander Billed Gull
Common Gull
Lesser Black black
Herring Gull
Gull billed Tern
Sandwich Tern
Common Tern
Little Tern
Whiskered Tern
Black Bellied Sandgrou
Rock Dove
Collored Dove
Turtle Dove
Great Spotted Cuckoo
Rofous Buchchat
Thrus Nightingale
Blue Throat
White Throated Robin
Black Redstart
Black Eared Wheatear
Isabelina Wheatear
Finsch's Wheatear
Rock Thrush
Mistle Thrush
Cettis Warbler
River Warbler
Sawi's Warbler
Moustached Warbler
Sedge Warbler
Marsh Warbler
Reed Warbler
Great reed Warbler
Olive Tree Warbler
Olivacous Warbler
Lesser White Throad
Garden Warbler
Bonelli's Warbler
Wood Warbler
Waillow Warbler
Rose Coloured Starling
Rock Sparrow
House Sparrow
Spanish Sparrow
Crimson Winged finch
Common Rosefinch
Cinerecaus Bunting
Black Headed Bunting
Corn Bunting
Reptiles Tails Amphibians
Swamp Turtle
Grecian Tortoise
Starred Lizard
Cappadocian Lizard
Osphisaps Elegans
Caspian Arrowsnake
Grass snake
Natrix Tesellata
Green Toad
Tree Toad
Sailton Pupfish





Turkey's Migratory Birds

Geographically Turkey enjoys a very special location with respect to seas and land masses, and a remarkable diversity of terrain, habitat and climate, with a large number of streams and rivers. The country has a coastline of 8200 kilometres, yet an average altitude of over 1100 metres. Vast forests of spruce and fir suddenly make way for bare steppe and semi-desert conditions, and there are numerous wetlands, both freshwater and salt.


Then there are the birds. Turkey’s mountains, forests, coasts, steppes, arable land and wetlands are temporary or permanent home to nearly 450 species, or approximately 75 percent of all the recorded bird species in the Western Palearctic.

 Twenty-three of these are rare species threatened by worldwide extinction. A high proportion of the millions of birds which migrate from Africa to Europe in spring and back again in autumn fly over Turkey, because the peninsula of Anatolia which forms Turkey’s mainland mass serves as a convenient bridge between the continents. The main migration routes are along the Bosphorus and Çanakkale straits and the valleys of the eastern Black Sea. The sight of the sky filled with tens of thousands of wheeling storks or soaring eagles over a great city like Istanbul is unforgettable. The best time of year to see these remarkable phenomena are April-May and August-September, and the best vantage points in Istanbul are the hills of Sarıyer and Çamlıca overlooking the Bosphorus. In a study carried out thirty years ago, nearly 350,000 storks were counted over Istanbul during two months in autumn.

Birdwatchers who come to Turkey for the first time should certainly start or end their journey in Istanbul if they come in those months. The other must on their itinerary is the wetlands, of which the nearest to Istanbul is just a two and a half hour drive away. This is Kuşcenneti, one of Turkey’s first national parks, near Bandırma. Although this consists of a small willow forest on the shores of Lake Manyas (alias Kuş Gölü), astonishingly large numbers of birds come here. Large species which nest in the willow copses include spoonbills, squacco herons, night herons, little egrets, grey herons, glossy ibises, cormorants and pygmy cormorants. Dalmatian pelicans, which are an endangered species, breed on special platforms built for them here. If you come in May or June, try looking out from the observation tower in this bird sanctuary.

  On the Aegean coast are two deltas of particular importance where birdlife is concerned. One of these is the Gediz Delta, where the İzmir Kuşcenneti bird sanctuary is located (also known as Çamaltı Tuzlası), and which lies just 25 kilometres northwest of İzmir at the mouth of the gulf. This bird sanctuary is famous for its flamingos, and has paths and observation towers which enable visitors to get a good view of the birds without disturbing them. This is a perfect place to spend a weekend in spring or summer. South of İzmir is the Büyük Menderes Delta, which is the largest and also the most important delta in terms of birdlife in the Aegean region. The scenes you are likely to see on the northern shore of the delta early one sunny spring morning will be imprinted on your memory for ever. Flamingos, herons and pelicans provide the only movement in the still water of the delta, and of course the fishermen, who still use the traditional methods they have used for centuries. After visiting the delta, you can spend the rest of the day visiting the ancient cities of Miletus and Priene, both among the most spectacular sights in western Turkey. Here you will be able to see not only history but also an abundance of songbirds which make their home in the ruins.

  The Göksu Delta on the Mediterranean holds the Turkish record for the greatest number of species ever observed in a single area, 331 in all. Throughout the year a wide variety of common and unusual birds can be seen here, including rare and large birds of prey like the white-tailed eagle, imperial eagle and greater spotted eagle. In the winter months cranes and tens of thousands of ducks of many different species inhabit the delta, and in the breeding season birds like the white-headed duck, marbled duck and gallinule make this wetland a centre of attention for ornithologists around the world.

  Turkey’s Lake District, with its many large and small lakes, is situated between the Aegean, Mediterranean and central Anatolian regions. Here are Turkey’s two largest freshwater natural lakes, Eğirdir and Beyşehir, while two others, Burdur and Acıgöl, contain high levels of salts. Particularly in winter, this area is home to hundreds of thousands of ducks, principally the white headed duck. In some years Lake Burdur alone is home to nearly 70 percent of the entire world population of this bird.

Although central Anatolia is largely bare dry tableland, surprisingly it also possesses some of the coutry’se foremost wetlands. The region is an ancient seabed, left high and dry after the formation of the Toros Mountains. Tuz Gölü (Salt Lake) could be likened to the last remaining puddle of this ancient sea, in the lowest lying part. The lake has one of the highest salinity levels in the world, which is why it attracts flamingos in such huge numbers.

  The deep forests and craggy mountains of the Black Sea region offer remote habitats for rare species like the Caucasian black grouse and Caspian snowcock, and are perfect for birdwatchers who like a challenge.

  Eastern Anatolia with its lofty mountains and high plateaus, and southeastern Anatolia with its semi-desert character, despite the huge amounts of water carried by the Euphrates, the Tigris and their tributaries, also offer their own surprises for birdwatchers. Here can be seen many of the rare species native to the Caucasus, Caspian, Middle East and Western Asian regions. These include such endangered songbird species as the cinereous bunting, grey-necked bunting, desert finch, pale rock sparrow, eastern rock nuthatch and Upcher’s warbler. What more could a birdwatcher want than to see one of these? And finally, at Birecik on the Euphrates you can see the last of Turkey’s bald ibises, but unfortunately only in cages. Captivity was the last hope for this virtually extinct species.

This brief ornithological tour of Turkey gives an idea of this land of birds, where so many elusive species still make their home.



SMALL CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax Pygmeus)


They prefer areas having watery surroundings. They live in mild climate and in sweet, salty and bitter waters.

They generally spend the winter at shores of Lagoons, deltas and rivers in forests. Mating takes place at the locations where the winter is spent. Usually they brood in colonies in a mixed manner with other species. Nests are made in dense woods and scrubs at 1 - 15m height from the water surface. Sometimes this height becomes 2 - 2.5 m in forests. They use old nets by repairing them.

The brood population in Turkey is estimated to be 1500 pairs. The brooding areas in Turkey are Ulubat Lake (max 300 pairs), Ereğli Rushes (max 600 pairs), Sultan Sazlığı (Kayseri) (max 200 pairs), Kuş Lake (150 pairs), and in addition other reproduction areas are Akşehir and Eber Lakes, Hotamış Rushes (Konya) and Çaldıran Rushes (Van).

Winter areas are Meriç Delta (Edirne) (max 1450), Ulubat Lake (max 1078), Gediz Delta (max 1000), B. Menderes Delta (max 1350), and other winter areas are Marmara Lake, Işıklı Lake, Eğridir Lake, Göksu Delta.


CRESTED PELICAN (pelicanus crispus)

They live in large inner waters, lakes, large marshes and lagoons. Although it lives in sweet waters, it can be seen in salty and bitter waters rarely. They generally prefer watery areas having an intense fish population. Their reproduction colonies are in lakes, deltas and river mouths. The ones coming for reproduction are seen at the reproduction locations in February. The eggs are laid 10 days later. They lay 4 eggs. The incubation period is 31 - 32 days. The young feather out in 11 - 12 weeks.

They leave the reproduction areas in autumn. The basic location where they spent winter is the shore areas and deltas of Mediterranean Sea and Hazar Sea. The region for spending the winter is very narrow.

Their condition in Turkey:

Reproduction areas: Menderes Delta (max 42 pairs), Kuş lake (max 35 pairs), Gediz Delta (max 35 pairs), Aktaş Lake (Ardahan) (max 50 pairs), Kızılırmak Delta (max 6 pairs); Areas for spending the winter: Menderes Delta (Max 434 pairs), Gediz Delta (Max 341 pairs), Meriç Delta (Max 290 pairs), Uluabat Lake (Max 136 pairs), Kuş Lake (Max 117 pairs), Göksu Delta (max 56 pairs).


SMALL SAKARCA GOOSE (Anser erythropus)

It broods in the tundra at the north of Scandinavia and Russia. It is herbivorous and feeds in the reeds at the shores of lakes and rivers - they rather prefer salty marshes. In winter, they generally live in semi - dry regions. When they can not find steppe areas, they use other habitats.

Condition in Turkey: In years with heavy winters, they are rarely seen in Western Anatolia, Trakya and Eastern Anatolia.

Although Siberia Goose (Branta ruficollis) uses Steppe areas during migration, the feeding habitats at Black Sea shores are meadows and agricultural areas. This species can fly to safe watery areas for meeting their water needs and staying for the night. Their reproduction area is mostly tundra. They are nested in the form of colonies consisting of 5-6 pairs. The number of eggs varies between 3 - 10. Incubation period is 25 days.

Condition in Turkey: Turkey is one of the 5 countries in which this species can be seen during the migration period. In winter, it is seen in the watery areas in Kayseri. In eastern Anatolia, this species produced two pairs, after that no information could be obtained to verify their reproduction.


SUMMER DUCK (Marmorentta angustrious)

They generally prefer sweet, shallow lakes having a dense flora. But, information is available showing that they live in salty / bitter watery areas, although in small amounts. They prefer continuously watery areas for reproduction and makes its nest on reed and plant islands on water. It lays 4 - 14 eggs from April until June. Incubation period is 25 - 27 days. Although they are swimmer ducks, they dive well and feed in this way. They mostly feed with invertebrates and plant mixtures.

Condition in Turkey: Turkey is one of the most important countries where Summer Duck shows distribution.

The reproduction population in Turkey is between 150 - 250 pairs. 50 pairs in Göksu Delta, 35 pairs in Seyhan, Ceyhan Delta, 20 pairs in Hatamış Reedbed (Konya). Other brooding areas are Sultan Reedbed, Kulu Lake, Ereğli Reedbeds, Bendima Delta and Çelebibağ (Van) reedbed.


DİKKUYRUK ÖRDEK (Oxyura Leucocephala)

They prefer semi - permanently or continuously salty, bitter and sweet lakes having closed basin hydrology.

They generally prefer areas having large, deep and small flora or areas surrounded with larger watery areas as winter areas. They make their nests on small, swimming islands between water plants. They are polygamic. Reproduction area varies between April and the first half of July. They have very big eggs and the number of eggs vary between 4 - 9. Incubation period is between 22 - 24 days. The larva feed with invertebrates and water plants.

Condition in Turkey:
Turkey is one of the most important countries for Oxyura Leucocephala. It has the biggest winter population among the countries where it shows distribution.

The most important winter area of Oxyura Leucocephala in the world is Burdur Lake. In some years, more than 50% of the total population spends winter in Burdur Lake. The biggest number in the lake was 10297, but this number has decreased too much now. Except Burdur Lake, it spends the winter in Kuş Lake (max 34), Marmara Lake (max 20), Karataş Lake (max 128), Yarışlı Lake (Max 82), İrfanlı Dam (max 122). Before reproduction period, it is seen in Ereğli Shallow areas (max 508), Hotamış Reedbed (Max 354), Kulu Lake (max 319), after reproduction period, it is seen in Arin (soda lake) (max 750). During migration, it is seen in Kızılırmak Delta (max 1246).

Brooding Areas: Ereğli Reedbeds (max 50 pairs), Hotamış Reedbed (max 50 pairs), Kulu Lake (max 30 pairs), Arin (Soda Lake) (Max 30 pairs), Sultan Reedbed (max 20 pairs), Uyuz Lake (max 10 pairs), Kazanlı Lake (max 10 pairs), Kars Çalı Kuyucak Lakes (Max 12 pairs), Van Sarısu and Nurşun Lakes (max 6 pairs).


BLACK VULTURE (Aegypius Monachus)

They live on mountains, at the sides of steppes in high locations. They need slightly sloped forests and open valleys and sub - alpin areas having various pine types (up to 2000 meters). They feed in steppe regions. They reproduce in sparse colonies or alone. They make large nests on trees where they can leave their eggs. The first reproduction age is 5 - 6. Eggs are generally laid in the period that begins at the beginning of February and ends at the end of April. The incubation period is 50 - 54 days. The young generally remains in the nest for 100 - 105 days.

Condition in Turkey:

Türkmen Baba Mountain between Eskişehir and Kütahya (10 pairs), Kızılcahamam Soğuksu National Park (6 pairs), Bolu Kavalı Mountain (5 pairs), Eskişehir Hamam Mountain (5 pairs), Denizli Akdağ (3 pairs), Murat Mountain (2 pairs), Eastern Black Sea Mountains (10 pairs).


ŞAH KARTAL (Aquila heliaca)

Although aquila heiaca lives basically in areas having a small height, it is forced to live at bigger heights. Their reproduction habitat in Mid and Eastern Europe consists of forested mountains, hills and river lengths, areas having heights up to 1000 meters, furthermore, steppes, open lands and agricultural areas. They prefer watery areas for spending winter. They use many types of habitats during migration. Aquila heliaca generally makes its nest at the top of old and high trees. Incubation period is completed at the end of March or beginning of April. They lay 2 - 3 eggs. Incubation period is 6 weeks. Their basic food is small mammals such as rabbits, squirrels, weasel and rats, in addition to these, they feed with water snakes, water salamanders, frogs and lizards.

Condition in Turkey:

2 pairs in Ankara Beynam Forests, 1 pair in Meriç Delta (Edirne), it is thought to reproduce in Ilgaz Mountains, Yozgat Pine Area, Eskişehir Türkmen Baba Mountain.

Among the reasons of the decrease in their numbers, destruction of the living environments of the mammals which are their food, forestry activities, habitat destruction, especially cutting down the large and old trees, hunting and illegal trade can be said.


SMALL KESTREL (Falco naumanni)

Small kestrels, which live in the form of a herd during the whole year, live in the roofs and walls of old houses, tree cavities and rocks. They generally prefer mild and hot regions having an open and short flora.

They generally make their nests in the human residence places. Although they nest in large colonies, as the species became rare, colonies including less than 10 pairs started to be seen. Although it broods in pure colonies, they form reproduction colonies with small crows and other kestrel species.

Their main food consists of invertebrates such as grasshoppers, scrub hoppers, land hoppers. Its population in Turkey is estimated as 3 - 5 thousands. It is known to reproduce in the villages around Salt Lake, Balıkdamı (Eskişehir), Ereğli reedbed.



It prefers sparse grassed parts of unfertilized soil, regularly cut meadows and sown areas. In addition, shores of watery areas and reedbeds and dry, green areas are important for the species.

They generally reproduce in open or semi - open land. They hide themselves with meadows covered with long grasses. Its distribution and density during reproduction is concentrated on dead roots and leaves in the suitable flora in spring. Most of their food in reproduction season consists of invertebrates on the plants and soil. In autumn and winter, they generally feed with seeds. It is seen in our country as summer immigrant and passing bird. It lays 7 - 9 and sometimes 12 eggs. Incubation period is 3 weeks. It is seen as summer immigrant at the south of Marmara, Inner Aegean and mid Anatolia and in the passage period in other regions. It needs a comprehensive research in the reproduction regions in Turkey. 10 pairs have been seen in Turkey.


BUSTARD (otis tarda)

It is spread over an area from the mid and south parts of Europe to mid - Asia and Manchuria. It prefers agricultural areas, meadows and steppes that are large, open and generally flat. They make their nests in the crop fields or between high grasses. The nest areas are chosen by the female.

Bustard generally lays 2 eggs and has an incubation period of 28 - 30 days. It is very sensitive during reproduction period. It leaves the nest when it is disturbed. The young are fed with insects in the first month, the adults eat insects and plants. Most of the population is native. They change place towards long distance locations under heavy winter conditions.

Condition in Turkey:

Important amounts are examined as 51 in Altınbaş Plain in Kütahya in 1996, 20 pairs in Eskişehir Aliken plateau, 20 pairs at Northwest of Van Lake, 200 pairs in Muş Bulamak Plain.

12 - Thin beaked Kervan woodcock (Numenius tenuirostris) In the examinations carried out in Western Siberia South Talge region and Forest Steppes, it is seen that their living areas are small forested areas, shallow waters, small meadows and small unplanted areas. During migration and winter and in the areas where they spend winter, they use habitats showing a wide spread such as salty marshes, steppes, bitter lagoons and fish pools.

During migration, they pass over Turkey and spend the winter in Northern Africa and Western Mediterranean.

29 records have been determined in our country between 1946 - 1990. The potential areas in Turkey are estimated as Salt Lake, Göksu Delta, Seyfe Lake, Burdur Lake and Çamaltı Salt Area and finally Kızılırmak Delta.


ISLAND GULL (Larus ovdoinii)

They are seen in colonies at rocky gaps and islands far away from the shore. They use various habitats from rocky areas up to 1000 m height from locations close to the sea level to areas, 85% of which are covered with scrubs and from completely flat areas to slopes of 90 degrees.

They reproduce in colonies varying from a few pairs to thousands of pairs, they prefer medium level flora in reproduction areas. This protects the young from high temperatures and predatory animals.

Eggs are laid in the period starting in the second half of April until the beginning of May. The young get out of the egg in the first two weeks of July. Generally they lay 2 - 3 eggs. Incubation period is 4 weeks.

They feed with fish, small mammals, arthropods, birds and plants. It is estimated that 15 thousand pairs live in entire Mediterranean and that 30 - 50 pairs live at Mediterranean shores of Turkey. 30 pairs are recorded between Mersin and Silifke.


SARI KAMIŞÇIN (Acrocephalus paludicola)

It is found in the large reedbeds in the shallow areas having a water level of 1cm - 10 cm during the reproduction season. They are known to prefer the marsh meadows in the river valleys for reproduction. During migration, Acrocephalus paludicola needs short grasses in the marshes and reeds in open waters.

Their reproduction systems are poligamic and they combine mixed reproduction systems. The young is brought forth in 15 - 16 days. Reproduction success is very high, it is 83%. The reason of the reproduction losses is small mammals. It is rarely seen in Marmara Region, Western Mediterranean and Northeastern Anatolia in Turkey as summer immigrant.

Among the wild animals in our country whose generation is becoming extinct, the first is bald ibis (Geronticus eremita). It lives in the form of a colony only in Birecik district of Urfa in Turkey. For this reason, the efforts for the protection and reproduction of bald ibis, which has a special place in the fauna of our country and closely followed by the public, have gained importance.

The biggest strike is hit to the bald ibis population between 1958 - 60. DDT is used in pesticide application by plane in Southeastern Anatolia against the desert grasshoppers getting close from Syria and Iraq. Once upon a time, a big community was formed, it is said that persons saying that "the bald ibis colony was so crowded that when they flied together, they could cover the sun" still live. Some foreign bird observers have recorded that there existed more than one thousand bald ibis nests in that region at the beginning of the 20th century. In this case, it is said that the bald ibis population at that time exceeded five thousands. As the result of DDT pesticide used, more than 700 pairs of bald ibis have died. Their number decreased year by year. Upon this, bald ibises have been taken under protection for the entire year since 1967 with the decree of Central Hunting Commission basing on the authorization given by the Law on Land Hunting numbered 3167. But their being taking under protection could not prevent the decrease in their number. As the buildings having 3-4 floors increased in front of the rocks where they made their nests, the individuals in the colony are affected.

A bald ibis reproduction station is established at a location that is 1 km away from the city by General Directorate of National Parks and Hunting - Wild Life in 1978 in order to support the population in nature by reproducing the bald ibis in artificial locations. The bald ibises reproduced in the reproduction station were marked and released to the nature; although some of the released bald ibises mated with the ones returning from migration and had young, most important problem has been their staying in Birecik instead of migrating. This resulted in the birds' losing their natural behavior and the death of the individuals staying in Birecik.

Birecik Public thought the bald ibises as holy animals that show the coming spring and arranged festivals because of the coming bald ibises, but the efforts shown could not prevent the decrease in their number and the reality that every year, a smaller number than that of the migrated bald ibises returned back to Birecik and unfortunately, in 1991 not one bald ibis came to our country.

These birds that make their nests in rock terraces in the form of colonies generally lay 2 - 4 eggs and incubation period is 27 - 28 days. Bald ibises feed with grasshoppers, coleopteran insects, snakes, lizards, mole crickets, etc.


REED COCK (Parphyro porphyro)

Reed cock, that is named as Sultan Tavuğu and Gök Saz Horozu at some locations, was found only in Göksu Delta in our country, but recently it is seen in Kızılırmak Delta.

This bird is native in our country. It does not migrate. Although it is said that it came to Kızılırmak Delta from the south of Hazar Sea, in our opinion it is generated in Kızılırmak Delta and began to be seen when its number increased. The generation of this bird in our country is in danger. In Göksu Delta 300 pairs, in Kızılırmak Delta 20 pairs are recorded.

Reed Cock lives and makes its nest in lakes covered with reed and cattails, marshes, large canals covered with reeds and lakes. The female makes the nest with the male. The female lays 3 - 5 eggs, they set by turns. Incubation period is 28 days. The parents grow up the offspring getting out of the egg. The offspring flies in 35 - 40 days.

They feed with the fresh parts of various water plants, seeds, water insects, larva, frogs, etc.


ANATOLIAN WILD SHEEP (Ovis orientalis anatolica valenciennes 1856)

There are two types of wild sheep in our country. One of them lives in Eastern Anatolia Region in Hakkari, Van, Iğdır and the other lives only in Konya - Bozdağ both in the world and in our country. This latter type is the Anatolian WILD sheep. The most significant difference between these two types of sheep is that the female of the species living in Eastern Anatolia has horns while the female of the species living in Konya - Bozdağ does not have any horns.

It is indicated that Anatolian wild sheep was found in the rocky area lying to Emirdağları between Afyon - Konya and to Konya in east - south direction until 1945. Until the end of 1950s, they were seen in Karadağ which is at the north of Bozdağ.

Until 1957, they lived around Ankara - Nallıhan, in Saruyar Dam valley, between Mihalıççık - Sivrihisar towards south, in Araidbaba mountain which is in the southeast of Sivrihisar. They are said to live in Bolkar mountains until 1963. As the result of their being hunted unconsciously and exceedingly in 1960s, their number decreased down to 35 and they lived only in Konya Bozdağ, but they are taken under protection by the Ministry of Forestry and their number increased by time.

The females of the Anatolian wild sheep which have a life of 15 - 18 years have a weight of 50 kg, while the weight of the males is 75 kg for old ones.

They have reddish brown color in summer and have short hair, in winter their color gets darker and black manes occur in the chest and neck parts of the males after 2 - 3 years.

While the wild sheep that continuously move during the day is resting, one male sheep continuously stands guard and hits its feet to ground and makes a sound similar to whistle in case of a danger to warn other sheep. All the herd runs towards the direction where the guardian sheep goes. Under normal conditions, predatory animals such as wolfs, dogs, jackals can not catch those sheep. Their seeing and smelling senses are very strong and they are resistant against thirst. In autumn and winter, they take out the roots and nodules of the plants with their nails and eat them. They mate in December and bring forth young between the beginning of May and beginning of June. The young female brings forth a single offspring, while the females aged more than two bring double offspring. Their front feet are shorter than their back feet.

The number per herd of the Anatolian wild sheep which live in the form of herds sometimes reach 100. In 1967, it has been seen that this value was about to disappear and this species has been taken under protection and now it lives in an area of 42.000 ha at the right and left of the main road between Konya - Aksaray at a distance of 50 km to Konya. This area includes Bozdağ, Sasa Mountain, Balık Mountain and Hodulbaba Mountain and is surrounded by Divanlar Göcü, Gene, Ağsaklı, Yağlıbayat, Bademli Gimir, Kocaş, Karakaya villages. As indicated, the sheep that had a big number previously, has become rare as the result of excess hunting stress, the sheep dogs' killing the falcon offsprings and the wolf's directing the sheep towards snow gaps and causing their death under winter conditions. Furthermore, the feces of parasited sheep dogs contaminated the grass and tapeworms passed to the wild sheep eating that grass. Another reason for that decrease in the number of that sheep is the feeding competition that occurred as the result of feeding ten thousands of sheep in the same area.

These bad conditions have been improved in favor of the sheep as the result of the works carried out by our Ministry. To summarize them, big numbers of guards, personnel and vehicles have been charged in the region, struggles have been made with the wolfs and unconfined dogs, entrance of tamed sheep is forbidden to some regions, spread of tamed sheep in those regions with dogs has been prevented during the birth and offspring periods of the wild sheep, water has been provided to the animals in hot summer months by constructing grass and fodder storage and water containers and in this way, healthy offsprings have been obtained. In extreme winters, grass support has been provided to the area and the growing up and continuity of life of the wild sheep have been provided.

In order to prevent the death of the sheep because of probable infectious diseases in the area, an area of 5 thousand ha has been surrounded with both net wire and electroshock wire to divide the sheep population into two; a big part of the sheep has been taken into this fence and diseases and parasites in these sheep have been minimized and feeding competition and wolf damages have been completely prevented. In this area, the sheep will be placed in compliance with their old living environment in a program that will provide their easily being caught. As the conditions got better, it has been determined that there are 1041 sheep in that area as the result of the counting made in the area surrounded with net and electroshock wire, by General Directorate of National Parks and Hunting - Wild Life in February 1998 with the cooperation of our Ministry and Selçuk University.

Naturally, as the result of the increase in the number of the sheep in the area, the works such as the provision of fodder, water, grass, maintenance, protection, study, inventory, etc and administrative expenses will increase and there will be great need for vehicles, helicopters and trained personnel. Big amounts of money will be needed for such works and in case legal arrangement is made in accordance with the contemporary conditions, it may be possible to permit hunting in order to provide contribution to economy.

As an example to show that the sheep are valuable and that their hunting value is high, two of the sheep has been hunted as the result of laboratory examination and a price of 18.500$ for one of them and 12.500 $ for the other has been taken.

In case the public and the local administrations pay the necessary attention to the issue, we have to use any of our possibilities for the protection, development and proliferation of this species that has a great importance in terms of hunting tourism.


As not only a coastal city, but straddling the Bosphorus strait, Istanbul is famous for many species of fish. But among these, one has a special place. This is lüfer or bluefish, whose shoals have always been eagerly awaited; which has been written about by Ottoman poets; for which the sultans had special boats made, and anglers along the Bosphorus used silver hooks. Bluefish is therefore justly known as ‘sultan of the Bosphorus’.The bluefish is one of Istanbul’s legends, and its flavour is at its most exquisite here. Clearly the cool waters of the strait are the secret.




So when speaking of Istanbul and its fish, the bluefish is the one which first comes to mind. Pomatomus saltatrix, to use its Latin name, begins its travels from the south in spring, the shoals swimming from the Aegean into the Marmara, and along the Bosphorus to the Black Sea.On rafts moored to the banks of these gently flowing branches of the river are several restaurants nestling amongst greenery. Here you can enjoy a delicious meal of fresh trout and the local pastry known as gözleme.

During the summer months spent in the cool waters of the Black Sea the fish become well nourished and their fat content increases. In September they begin the journey southwards again, lingering for some time in the Bosphorus.

Catching bluefish was a popular and festive pastime among residents of the Bosphorus shores until just thirty or forty years ago. When the first spate - known as katavaşya - began in September, these anglers thought of nothing but catching the first bluefish of the season.

The anglers would also vie to get the first catch each morning, taking up their places early on the Bosphorus shore at Kavaklar, Kandilli, Kanlıca, Ortaköy, Çengelköy, Beylerbeyi, Sarıyer, İstinye and other good fishing spots. All would throw their lines out at the same moment. There was also competition between anglers on the European and Asian shores of the Bosphorus. Unlike the professional fishermen, amateurs fished purely for the pleasure of it. another. 


They included teachers, journalists, writers, and artists who all lived on the Bosphorus shores and knew one The fish they caught would be distributed to the whole neighbourhood, and in the evenings they would invite friends to suppers of bluefish at tables set up by the sea. They were the ones who created the fish culture, indeed the entire Bosphorus culture, of Istanbul.

Fishing with line and lamp by night from rowing boats was the traditional way for amateurs to catch bluefish. In his book ‘Fish and the Rod’ Ali Pasinler quotes Muammer Asaf of Kandilli as saying: ‘Those fishing parties of old times were like sacred rituals... Just as there was once a Tulip Era in our history, so there was a Bluefish Era... The gentlemen living on the Bosphorus used to go out at night to catch bluefish, and most evenings some of the royal princes would join them.


Elaborate decorum, elegance and courtesy marked those occasions. If it happened to be full moon, music, poetry and wit mingled harmoniously to lift the bluefish expedition to a quite different plane.As they fished, people in nearby boats recited poems to one another and engaged in witty exchanges. Compositions by Dedeler and Sadullah Ağa would be played, and sometimes a deep voice would be heard out of the darkness joining the strains of the musical instruments.’

Of course it was not just the wealthy inhabitants of the Bosphorus who went out in pursuit of bluefish. The fishermen who caught fish for a living awaited their coming just as eagerly. Those who remember the abundance of the past complain about the depleted shoals of the present day. Professional fishermen use special nets for the sultan of the Bosphorus. They will tell you that ordinary nets are no use for bluefish, and they must make the most of the two months or so that they continue to swim through the Bosphorus. But the most enjoyable way of catching them is with a long rod off the rocks where the fish feed. Expert fishermen know exactly where these rocks are, and in season take their boats there. Fishing for bluefish is as much a delight as the eating of them. Grilled bluefish accompanied by side dishes of seafood and vegetables make an exquisite feast, above all when surrounded by the beautiful scenery of the Bosphorus. That is how the people of Istanbul have done it for years. Today the people who catch, sell or buy just three or four bluefish count themselves lucky, and who knows if those former times of abundance will ever return.

Cats from Van

van-cat1.jpg (6216 bytes)Every domestic animal has a different characteristic. One of the cats attracting human beings' attention for centuries, having silky white fur, different colors, perfect hunting abilities and loving to play with water is Van cat.

The fossil of ancestor primitive of modern domestic cats can be seen about 12 million years ago. It is known that domestication of cats was made by Egyptians in 3000 B.C. The domesticated cats were treated as holy creatures and respected as goddess. Although there are various argument about the place and time of domestication, the thing that is certainly known is that Asians took part in domestication. On the other hand some resources suggest that the cats were semi-domesticated in 1900 B.C.

Cats are carnivorous. When generalized animals are nourished by proteins. Having sharp senses, eyes seeing well in dark, sharp paws, sharp teeth, alerted and energetic bodies, walking on their feet silently make them good hunters. They have sensitive hairs around eyes and nose which strengthen their hunting abilities.

They lose their fur hair in Spring and fall, and they have facial muscles which change as a reaction to anything happening. Muscle and skeleton form are controlled in an excellent way and that is why no matter the position they fall from they always fall on their feet.

Cerebrum area is wide and indicates the intelligence of them. In addition, cerebellum is improved, which provides excellence in co-ordination.

Domesticated cats are either treated as holly creatures or are fed by people at home for hunting harmful animals like mouse, rat and insects for centuries. However, People have started to take them as close friends.

In recent years one of the cats attracting people's attention in Turkey or in the world is Van cat. However, as required care has not been shown so far, they face loss of the species. The number of them has been decreasing day by day and the original breeds have been lost, while they were often seen in the region and almost each house had one in the past. People of Van call the cat pişik. Van cats are not only seen as a pet or hunter of rats and insects but also a friend and member of the family.

It is said that Van cats used to spend summer in mountain and winter in houses. Today rarely they spend summer in Erek Mountain and winter in houses.

Van cats are described by the people of region as having long, white, silky fur, long body, tiger walking, fox like tail. Different colors of eyes (dischromatopsy), intelligent, agile is clean, friendly, loves playing and faithful to its owner and therefore these characteristics make it a rare found cat. However, since 1950s, the cat has been introduced to the world by Europeans but this unique cat has not been introduced fully.

van-cat2.jpg (2637 bytes)One of the characteristics of Van cats is the color of their eyes. They are classified under three groups according to the color of their eyes:

  1. Both eyes blue,

  2. both eyes amber color (yellow and its tones)

  3. one eye (dischromatopsy, one eye blue and the other amber).

Blue color of Van cats usually shows blue but amber color shows many differences in tones. The tones are amber, light amber, yellow and green almond. Although very rare, sometimes brown color can be seen. Blue eyed cats are classified as blue eyed short, velvet furred cats and blue eyed, long silky fur cats. The color of newly born kittens is grayish. 25 days after birth the color of eyes starts to change, and after 40 days the color reaches final color.

There are generally one or two black points between ears of kittens. Most of the kittens having two black points are single eyed. And this black point is taken as stamp of single eye cats. However, the black points are lost after 2 months. And sometimes they may have black hairs varying between 8 to 30.

It is known that having different color of eyes which human beings, dogs and doves face, is genetic defect syndrome.

Body weight of female Van cats is 2900 grams while males weigh 3600 grams.

Van cats have mating period in February-March-June. This period lasts for up to 10 days. In case of pregnancy during this period, no other mating period is seen in the same year. Pregnancy period is 62 days. The belly starts to swallow from the first month and the cat never lets any one touch her belly. Van cats like other cats prefer to give birth in the locations far away from vision, and for this reason they start to look for isolated and dark location from the first month of the pregnancy. Immediately after birth, placenta of the kittens are cut by the mother. Mother cat suckles its kittens for 50-60 days. However, this period can be more or less.

Van cats give birth to four kittens at one birth. The eyes of kittens are open on the 10th day. Mother licks its kittens in order to clean them and starts suckling immediately after birth. If mother deems that the location is not safe, it finds a safe place and carries the kittens there. Mother hardly leaves its kittens alone and only leaves them to meet its needs.

The kittens still with close eyes reacts to smells other than their mother and try to protect themselves.

The movement of the kittens at the beginning is like walking and crawling.

Kitten brothers/sisters usually fight for milk. They usually play with each other. Playing game is an essential factor for development. The game is under control of the mother and the mother teaches its kittens how to survive. If the kitten is alone, it wants to play with its mother and if mother is not there even it can play with other animals around.

The cats have a strong control over the areas they are settled in. They do not want other cats to come to their living areas. When their living places or houses are changed, they try to return to former place if they do not like the new one. Van cats get used to their new living places in 20 to 30 days. During this period they examine the surrounding and are not interested in their owners.

The cats have more cleaning sense than other animals. They are considerably curious about cleanliness of themselves and their living surrounding. After toilet, they have instinct to burying the dirt. They clean their mouths and faces with help of their paws after eating and toilet.

The hunting characteristic of Van cats is superior. They hunt rats, mice, bird, flies and insects indoor and outdoor, and eat them. They never attack to poultry animals living with them in the house or out of the house.

Van cats love living with human beings in family environment. If they do not have relation with human beings or have a little relationship they start to become wild.

Van Cats are very affectionate, giving head butts and love bites. Especially during pregnancy they are in need of love. They are very close to their owners and love them. When they see strangers they react and escape. They jump on the lap of the ones loving them. They are jealous of their owners showing affection to other cats and small kids.

Although there is a belief that Van Cats suffer from deafness problem, only 2-3% of odd eyed (dischromatopsy) and blue eyed cats suffer from this problem.

Van Cats love to swim and play with water, and with this feature it is the only cat species.

Van cats checks the meal if it is warm with their front paws and if the meal is warm enough they eat. It is also observed that Van Cats eat melon, watermelon and some fruit.

Although the fur is quite thick, they are affected by the cold.

They produce some voices in order to communicate with each other and with human beings. The voices indicate their emotions. Their meowing has some varieties. Some indicates communication with human beings some indicates communication with their kittens or for their sexual activities. The sounds generated according to their needs have different intensity and frequency. Van Cats meow loudly when they see their owners in the morning in order to show their happiness. When they are hungry they go to the kitchen door and meows to indicate that they are hungry.

When the food is given, they show their grates by means of touching their owner. When they need toilet they go to the door and meow in order to ask their owners to open the door. It is also observed that if the door needs to be opened, they jump to the handle and open it.

The studies indicated that Van Cats respond to training very well. They understand what have been taught very quickly. They immediately learn the place where soil is put for their toilet needs, and never try other places for toilet needs.

Kittens are able to learn their names when they are 2-3 months. However, it is thought that this learning is understanding the tone of the sound they are used to rather than learning the names.

It is necessary to take any actions required for preservation of lovely, friendly, intelligent, faithful, beautiful and attractive Van Cats and decrease of them.



camel2_s.jpg (13189 bytes)The camel wrestling organized traditionally in our country was firstly made in Hıdırbeyi village, İncirliova, Aydın. However, A.Munis Armağan, in his book Batı Anadolu Tarihinde İlginç Olaylar (Interesting Events in Western Anatolia History). Under the section titled "End of the Camels" states that camel wrestling organizations were held during reign of Mahmut II in Tire and neighborhood.

Although starting date of camel wrestling is not known, it is predicted that the wrestling organizations have been made since caravan and nomading period. Based on the information obtained from camel owners and wrestling fans, nomads and caravan owners had a competition and they had camel wrestling.

Camel wrestling has been seen more in Aydın as well as Aegean region(İzmir, Manisa, Muğla, Denizli) also many cities, districts, towns and villages, also in Marmara region (Balıkesir and Çanakkale), Mediterranean Region (Burdur, Isparta and Antalya) and some other provinces.

Although there are traditional rules of camel wrestling, they differ from region to region. However, camel wrestling does not have a unique field and spectators. The organizations for camel wrestling are usually held by associations dealing with activities in education, culture, health, sports and social fields for making profits. In some regions municipalities take part in organizations in order to discipline the wrestling and provide a certain order.

The incomes from wrestling organization are used, after deduction of expenses, for specified purposes. Betting and other kind of organizations are made for camel wrestlings Camel wrestling is made between male camels delivered upon mating of female camel with single hump called "yoz" and male camels with double humps called "buhur". The camels are for wrestling. They are born for wrestling that is their descendants were also wrestler camels.

Wrestler camels are grown up with special care and prepared for wrestling.

The wrestling is organized during winter months when Tülüs are angry, namely in December, January, February and March.

camel4_s.jpg (14002 bytes)Wrestling camel has a name. The names are given by their owners as well as by spectators because of the actions the camels make during wrestling. It is also seen that the names are chosen from the names of heroes of TV serials. It will be better if some names are given. Some of the names are Kolombo, Dozer, Şahintepesi, Gezer, Sarızeybek, Yörükali, Almanyalı, Ceylan, Flek, Ali Tülü, Talancı, Karka kartalı, Suat, Zümrüt, Menderes, Fırat, Takmakol, Şoför, Civan, Karamurat, Yarımdünya and so on.

The names of the camels are transcribed on the cloth put on back of the pack-saddle. This cloth is called Peş. "Maşallah" is written under the name.

One day before the wrestling, the camels taking part in the wrestling are designed in a traditional way. In addition, they are showed up in the streets. This is a worth seeing event. You hear drum and zurna playing zeybek and the bells of the camels. The dressed up camels indicate a different beauty. One is delighted of watching them. The city is too crowded like a festival. There is a huge crowd in front of cafe houses. The fans of camel wrestling are all there. Discussions about the wrestling go on. You are attracted by the camel owners in their traditional clothes and also some fans dressing in the same way, in caps, poşu, jacket and traditional trousers and boots. It is also possible to see some watching video clips of former wrestling.

In the evening a friendship party called Halı Gecesi is held in order to provide friendship between camel owners and wrestling lovers. People eat, drink and sing songs of the region, play zeybek and also some auctions are held to sell carpets. This evening party is held one day before wrestling.

The people prepare their meals one night prior to organisation date. Everybody is very excited.

Wrestling Day

camel1.jpg (9976 bytes)People start to come wrestling field early in the morning. While some try to find a good seat at field, the others arrange the place where they can stay with their families. Grills and meals are prepared. At about 9.00-10.00 the wrestling field is full of wrestling lovers. In addition street hawkers take their places out of the field. Several kinds of foods, drinks, gifts are already placed on the counters. And drum and zurna are played. Some people start to play zeybek.

Then it is announced from the speakers that the wrestling has started, and the names of the camels announced to come into field for wrestling. The movement out of the field now shifts to the field. Camel owners take the camels into the field. After the camels make a tour in the field the wrestling starts. Camel wrestling generally starts at 9.00-10.00.

The person announcing the names of the wrestling camels (called "Cazgır") praises the camels and contributes entertainment to the wrestling through his unique praising, and poems.

Cazgır is the most important and colorful figure of the camel wrestling as it is in oil wrestling. He tries to narrate the camel wrestling like sports reporters.

In camel wrestling the followings are charged with duties: organization committees, referee committee (Head referee, mid referee and desk referee), urgancı (rope keeper) in sufficient number, mouth tiers (to tie mouth of the camels) and controller of tying mouth.

Camel wrestling is made in four categories, namely Ayak, Orta, Başaltı and Baş. The winners are determined by: 1. Making the rival escape, 2. cry 3. fall.

camel3_s.jpg (13926 bytes)In the first one, the camel makes its rival escape from the field with its huge body. In the second, the camel ties its rival with several tricks and games, and the rival cannot stand this force and cries. In the third one, the winner makes its rival fall with tricks and attacks and sits on losing rival. There is also beating called "pes" (accepting defeat) in which the owner of the camel accepts the defeating in order to prevent his camel encounter damage, for this defeating the owner throws the rope into the field which means acceptance of defeating. The camels not beating each others are equal without any winners.

Some of the names given to tricks made by camels during wrestling are: Bağ, Çengel, Çatal, Makas, kol Atması, Muşat Çengel, Tam Bağ, Yarım Bağ, Düz Çengel, Tekçi, Kol Kaldırma.

In order to increase the excitement, great care is paid for matching the camels having different tricks. Each camel wrestles with a tülü in its class. The camels wrestling from right are matched with the ones wrestling from the right, and left ones with left ones, the ones hooking with the ones hooking etc. The winner camel bring its four feet together and salutes the spectator with boasting. As a reward it gets its carpet and leaves the field. Defeated camel shows silence and embarrassment.

Each camel wrestles only once a day. The duration of the wrestling is about 10 to 15 minutes. The rules are set out in order to prevent reduction in number of wrestling camels and damage of them.

All of them are carried out within a disciplinary manner and traditionally. When wrestling is ended, the owners and the winner camels return home with proud and happiness while spectators are delighted of having an exciting day.

The camel wrestling usually held in winter months in Aegean region has become winter festivals of Aegean region.


Each rooster crows at its own place
But Denizli Rooster crows every where.

denizli-rooster.jpg (4230 bytes)"Thanks God, I have everything here. Only one thing is missing in my life here: Cock crowing..." said A rich businessman living in New York. The rooster he was talking about was Denizli rooster. While he was expressing his missing of the Rooster, he was also expressing a reality of the modern world.

"I was born at dawn time in Denizli while roosters were crowing.... Then I used to wake up with the same sound for many years... I was getting out of my bed with the sound of my rooster every morning at a regular time like a clock set at e time. Let me tell you something now..... I have not heard any rooster crowing here for 21 years...The thing that modern city life has taken out off me is rooster crowing sound which is sweeter than gold sound... Contemporary city life, at the very beginning, stops the sound of rooster..."

"Denizli Rooster", the symbol of Denizli is a domestic species which is well known in even the farthest regions to our city with its colour and body building, harmonious long and beautiful crowing. According to some rumours, Berat roosters having long crowing were brought to Istanbul during Ottoman Empire from Albania and then brought to Denizli and crossbred with domestic chicken of Denizli and thus Denizli Rooster species was originated but it is not true. Because there are no similarities between two species when compared in terms of colour and body structure. Denizli rooster was originated automatically upon great care shown by the people living in Denizli to long crowing rooster for centuries.

The colour of Denizli rooster's eyes is black and blackened with kohl. Its legs are dark grey or purple, its comb is in big axe comb, and atrium is red or white spots on red background, general colour is black and dirty white together. Sometimes wing features have brown colours. Red roosters have black-white mixture. Their alive weight is about 3-3.5 kg. They are divided into 3 groups according to their colours, body building and combp types. According to their colours they are classified into 6 groups as: DEMİRKIR, PAMUKKIR, KINALI, AL, SİYAH and KÜRKLÜ. According to their body buildin they are divided into 3 types, namely : YÜKSEK BOYUN, SÜLÜN and KÜPELİ. According to their combs, they are divided into 2 types: GENİŞ İBİK and DAR İBİK.

The sound of Denizli roosters are classified according to the tone and clearness. According to sound tones they are divided into 3 groups: İNCE, DAVUDİ, KALIN SES. Davudi(bass) voice is between high pitched and deep voice and is the only sound close to deep voice. According to clearness, they are divided into four groups namely sad voice, shrill voice, wavy voice(funny voice).

Crowing of Denizli roosters is performed upon use of all abilities. Crowing is divided into four groups depending on body position during crowing, which are LION CROWING, WOLF CROWING, HERO CROWING, PUS CROWING.

A good Denizli Rooster must have: alive apearance; long and strong legs and neck; wide and deep chest; sharp and sloped toward head tail. The same features are true for the chicken. The crowing period of Denizli Roosters in the first year must be 20 to 25 seconds.

Denizli roosters being grown up by Denizli species production unit formed under body of Directorate of Province Agricultural Affairs are maintened generally in 100 flock. Breeding roosters are selected and the rest are sold according to the demands made from various parts of the country from March, April, and sales of chicks are made in March, April, may, June.


ibis1_s.jpg (8819 bytes)From old hand writing documents, it has been determined that Thermit Ibis birds used to live in Europe since 1504. This bird, which was living in Central Europe near the Alps, was first defined by C. Gessner as Corvus Sylvaticus in 1555 in Historia Animalium and some information was given about the birds' life style. Later, it was determined that those birds, which disappeared in Europe, emigrated to Middle East countries and Africa and they still live in these countries.

Thermit Ibis that come to Birecik in the middle of February settle down at rocks in the middle of March. After their procreation, they grow up their youngs and in the middle of July they leave Birecik with their youngs. The reason for these birds to come to Birecik for procreation is thought to be that the calcite mineral in those rocks increased the procreation energy of birds. Thermit Ibis birds are single mate and every year they build their nest and lash out with the same couple. Mature birds are the ones that show their energy to build up a nest. It is necessary to be 5 years old, to become a mature bird. Their average life period is 25-30 years.

In the beginning of 1950, the number of Thermit Ibis was more than 1000, there had been a specific decrease in the number of birds since 1954. Destruction of natural feeding environment of these birds with overuse of agricultural insecticide chemicals, hunting of these birds by the hunters in their long immigration period and cold weather conditions are the main reasons for the decrease of Thermit Ibis birds. Thermit Ibis birds follow the Lebanon - Israel way and the River Nil or Red Sea coast and can not be observed at those places.

nemrut_d2_s.jpg (14161 bytes)In order to prevent the decrease in number and disappearing of the generation, Thermit Ibis Procreation Station was established in Birecik by the Generate Directorate of Forestry of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Affairs in 1972. In this station, first of all two mature and nine young Thermit Ibis birds were captured by net and put into a cage, and then production started in 1977. The birds under protection are fed with meat without fat, planed carrot, boiled egg and mixture of fodder.

In February 1996, 52 Hermit Ibis birds set free from procreation station to reproduction in nature. After the reproduction season, the total number reached to 75 with 23 young birds. 4 of them are given to Istanbul Bayramoğlu Zoo, 5 of them are given to Atatürk Orman Çiftliği, 13 of them immigrated and 45 of them are still living in procreation station.

Birecik people consider Thermit Ibis birds which they regionally call Keçelaynak holy. Arrival of Hermit Ibis birds to Birecik in the middle of February is interpreted by Birecik people as a sign of spring. In recent years, "Hermit Ibis Festival" is being organized in Birecik for these birds.

The turkish sheppard dog: Kangal

kangal1.jpg (22643 bytes)The Kangal Dog is found in the high rolling plains country of central Turkey. The approximate geographic center of the region is Sivas City. The Kangal Dog has historically been associated with the town of Kangal­a district town within Sivas Province. While much of the landscape is rolling plains, the region is cut by the Kulmaç Mountains and the Tecer Mountains running approximately NE/SW. The Uzun Yayla southwest of Kangal is a major Kangal Dog and sheep producing area. The Kızılırmak River runs through the province. A karst topography dominates the northern part of the province.

Although Sivas Province is the center of Kangal Dog breeding, good examples of the breed can also be found in parts of the neighboring provinces of Kayseri, Yozgat, Tokat, Erzincan, and Malatya, where they border on Sivas Province. The precise regional boundaries for the Kangal Dog cannot be defined, but the demarcation between true Kangal Dogs and other dogs is usually abrupt.

Kangal. A name well known to the people of Turkey! Its very name evokes the romance and legendary aura of this land so steeped in history. This ancient breed springs forth like a lion from its epicenter - the Kangal District - a region in east central Turkey located in what is known as the Anti-Taurus. While Turkey has more than one indigenous dog breed, the Kangal is the most famous of them all. This breed's status is manifested by its portrait on a national Turkish postage stamp. If any dog breed can be characterized as the national dog of Turkey, that breed is the Kangal Dog.

kangal2.jpg (26159 bytes)Standing a minimum of 30 inches (dogs) at the withers and weighing an average 120 pounds, the Kangal Dog is a strongly-built, magnificent dog distinguished by its black face and ears. The short, soft body coat ranges from light dun to steel grey in color and is usually accented with a white chest blaze and white stockings on the feet and legs. Turkish shepherds frequently crop the ears close to the skull, thereby enhancing its leonine appearance. When equipped with the traditional spiked, iron collar around its neck, the Kangal Dog, in its native land, projects an intimidating and powerful image.

The correct, traditional name for the breed in Turkey is Kangal Köpegi or Sivas Kangal Köpegi. (The Turkish word köpek means "dog" in English. When used with an adjective in the Turkish language, the word "köpek" takes the form köpeği.) Thus, the direct translation is Kangal Dog or Sivas Kangal Dog. No other name is acceptable to the Turks, nor to its original sponsor in Europe and the United States - The Kangal Dog Club of America, Inc., a non-profit corporation founded to preserve the breed, protect its name, and maintain the Turkish-American standard for the breed.

To understand the Kangal Dog, one needs to understand the context-historical, cultural, and physical-in which it is found. Our objective is to provide all the information needed to understand and appreciate this magnificent breed.

If any dog breed can be characterized as the "national dog" of Turkey, the Kangal Dog is that dog. Simply stated, the Kangal Dog is a cultural and historic icon of the Turkish people.

The image of the Kangal Dog in Turkey is very positive. This image connotes power, strength, and generates a great sense of pride. There is a feeling of awe for the great Kangals of Turkey!

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