Specially designed tour for photographing the European woodpeckers and other woodland birds

Woodpeckers in the lens

Tuesday 31st October - Monday 6th November 2023

Bulgaria has one third of its territory covered with forests. Large parts of it are natural, mature woodlands, rich wildlife home for birds and mammals. All the European species of woodpeckers can be found here, except the Iberian Green Woodpecker, all in quite good numbers. The rarest one is the Three-toed Woodpecker, with about 150 pairs, as it is the southernmost edge of its range in Europe. White-backed Woodpecker, here in Bulgaria, is represented from the Balkan subspecies - Lilfordi Woodpecker, which is quite rare in Europe.

We have set up this special photography tour for woodpeckers in Bulgaria. We have special hides for woodpeckers photography and other woodland birds. We`ll also try some of the species during walks in the forest.

Our tour will start from the vicinities of the village of Ribaritsa, "Central Balkan" NP where will walk in the very old-growth beech forest. Here we will try to find some of the species - White-backed, Black and Grey-headed woodpeckers. We will use a camo tents situated close to the nests and will take shots in absolutely natural behavior and habitats.

After this we will move in the region of our special designed wood hides. The local woodpeckers come there to feeding. We have 2 hides and depending on the number of photographers and the daily activity we will use them rotationally.

We have the options for extension for the Three-toed Woodpecker too.


Day 1 Arrive at Sofia airport. Three hours driving will bring us in the first area - village of Ribarsta. We`ll accommodate for two nights. Short walk if the time permit.

Day 2 All day woodpeckers photography. Today, our highlight is a White-backed Woodpecker (Lilfordi Woodpecker). We`ll visit nature reserve Boatin in "Central Balkan" NP Here the track is 5 km long and easy to moderate for walking. We will stop many times in the old-growth beech forest and will use camo tents for photography of the species in the nests or feeding spots. Other interesting species here will be - Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Black Woodpecker, Grey-headed Woodpecker; also possible are Tawny Owl, Ural Owl, both treecreepers and more. Second night in Ribaritsa.

Day 3 Same routine as previous day. Late in the afternoon we drive 2 hours to our next location - village of Mirkovo. Accommodation for 4 nights. On 20 minutes driving from the hotel are our special designed photography hides for woodpeckers. We will be using the hides for 3 days but also walk and possibly some camouflage hides too for photography of woodpeckers and other woodland birds.

Days 4 to 6 Three full days photography from our special hides. Here we will take shots of Wryneck, Great Spotted, Syrian, Middle Spotted, Lesser Spotted, Green, Grey-headed and Black woodpeckers. Together with all of the woodpeckers we can photography and some common song birds as Hawfinch, Sombre Tit, Dipper, Jay, Willow Tit, Yellowhammer, Common Finch, Greenfinch, Common Nuthatch, Brambling (only winter), Blackbird, Song Thrush and more than 20 species.

Day 7 Depend from your flight time, we can produce one more short morning session in the hides. Two hours driving will bring us at Sofia airport. Departure.
With the participants in the extension will drive two more hours to our next base.


Days 8 to 10 We will be spending three days for searching of the Three-toed Woodpecker (Balkan subspecies). Species is a very rare and inhabit high altitude coniferous forests. For the purpose we will visit Rhodopes Mountain in the region of the town of Velingrad. Three-toed is not shy species and we`ll have enough time for photography when find it. Fitness level will be moderate to hard in some parts. It is possible to find and photography a Pygmy Owl, Boreal Owl, Hazel Grouse, Capercaillie, Crossbill, Grey-headed Woodpecker, Black Woodpecker, Crested Tit, Coal Tit and more. At the last day departure is depending of your flights (2 hours driving).

Note: during the tour some snow cover is possible, please bring with your waterproof and warm boots and clothes. Tripod, gimble head (it is better for the hides), lenses at least 300+ mm, extender, camo cover are must.


Photo and video gallery

Woodpeckers in the lens

Woodpeckers in the lens

Woodpeckers in the lens tour gallery