You are in Baku and have a free weekend? You are on business travel in Azerbaijan and want to enjoy the country’s natural heritage? You are interested in birds and other wildlife? – We can bring you to every location from dry steppes, to pristine forests and high mountains to find the best species.
For birding trips through Azerbaijan you have several combinable options of one or more days to choose from. Please contact us for an individual offer.
- Day trip: Absheron National Park
The outermost tip of the Absheron peninsula is a small but very rich protected area. There are often high numbers of waterfowl and waders, gulls and terns in the lagoons and shallow bays. During migration this exposed location attracts many birds to feed and rest and the bushes can be full of them. Even soaring birds gain height over the tip to cross the Caspian Sea in spring. With luck you might spot a Caspian Seal resting on the beach.
On the way back to the city you might visit the burning mountain Yanar Dag, a natural gas spring.
- Day trip: Shirvan National Park and Gobustan
Shirvan is most famous for it’s population of Goitered Gazelles but also the birdlife is interesting and very diverse. Ménétries’s Warbler, Black Francolin, Lesser Kestrel and Blue-cheeked Bee-eater are common and a huge lake in the centre of the park offers best possibilities to see many wetland species including Ferruginous Duck, Red-crested Pochard, Grey-headed Swamphen and Little Bittern.
If you start early, have a stop at the fishponds north of the park. Another good place for herons, terns and waders including possible White-tailed Lapwings and Greater Sandplovers.
In Gobustan you can see pre-historic rock engravings, bubbling mud volcanoes and birds like Long-legged Buzzard, Pied and Finsch´s Wheatear, Rose-coloured Starling, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin and Woodchat Shrike.
- Day trip: Cape Gilazi and Khizi
Cape Gilazi is about an hour north of the city. There are wide lagoons and shallow coastal waters with plenty of associated birds like waterfowl, herons, waders etc. Greater Sandplovers are seen regularly and along the coastline there is heavy migration on good days.
The Candy Cane Mountains on the way to Khizi are colourfully striped clay mountains full of fossils. Birds to expect in this dry and barren landscape are Finsch’s and Black-eared Wheatear, Chukar, Western Rock Nuthatch and Rock Sparrow. Bushes along a small creek often hold resting birds during migration and plenty of Woodchat Shrikes and Black-headed Buntings are breeding there.
If your pace is higher you might drive further up the foothills and reach the oak forest of Altiagach National Park.
- Short trip: Greater Caucasus (3-4 days)
Leaving Baku according to your preferences there are several potential stops along the way to the mountains.
#1 Cape Gilazi is a about an hour north of the city. There are wide lagoons and shallow coastal waters with plenty of associated birds. Waterfowl, herons, waders etc.
#2 The Candy Cane Mountains on the way to Khizi are colourfully striped clay mountains full of fossils. Birds to expect in this dry and barren landscape are Finsch’s and Black-eared Wheatear, Chukar, Western Rock Nuthatch and Rock Sparrow. Bushes along a small creek often hold resting birds during migration and plenty of Woodchat Shrikes and Black-headed Buntings are breeding there.
#3 Besh Barmag is an impressive and holy mountain surrounded by beautiful steppes where the Caucasus almost reaches the Caspian Sea. The place is mainly known for it’s enormous bottleneck effect on migrating birds. But also during breeding season there are many interesting species like Western Rock Nuthatch, Chukar, Woodchat and Lesser Grey Shrike, Finsch’s and Black-eared Wheatear, Calandra Lark, Little Owl or Black Vultures.
#4 Guba forest just after leaving the city towards the mountains holds all typical forest species including Black Woodpecker, Red-breasted and Semi-collared Flycatcher and Green Warbler.
You choose either a resort (Nazli Bulag) in the forest zone or a more simple but friendly guesthouse in Xinaliq in the middle of the mountains.
Excursion with 4WD jeeps into the Shahdag National Park (also hiking directly from the village is possible), where you walk up the slopes in search of species like Caucasian Snowcock, Great Rosefinch, Güldenstädt’s Redstart, Wallcreeper, Common Rock Thrush, Alpine Accentor, Horned Lark, Caucasian Twite and more. From the highest point that the 4WD cars can reach it is another short but steep hike of about 400 m in altitude until you reach the alpine habitat. You have your lunch in field and enjoy the scenery surrounded by 4.000-meter peaks while flocks of vultures pass overhead. In the afternoon you head back with stops along the way and drive north to Laza and your guest house there.
As dawn breaks you scan straight from the doorstep for the Caucasian Black Grouse at their lek. The valley with lush meadows and low birch vegetation is more rich and green than on the dry southern slopes in Xinalik. You will find Green Warbler, Mountain Chiffchaff, Red-fronted Serin, Caucasian Twite and with a bit more luck also Great Rosefinch. Again some hiking depending on how much you like. Your hosting family will povide you with food and everything you need.
Driving back to Baku in the afternoon or another night in Laza.
Before you make your way back towards Baku you should visit Samur Yalama national park at the Russian border. A dense jungle-like lowland forest with all kinds of woodpeckers, Semi-collared Flycatcher and plenty of raptor species including Lesser Spotted Eagle and Levant Sparrowhawk. Also further options from day one are possible.
- Short trip: The South (4 days)
Leaving Baku in the morning for Shirvan National Park 90 km south of the capital. Some former fishponds, the plains, bush land and a reed-fringed lake will keep you busy most of the day: waders including possible Greater Sandplover and White-tailed Lapwing, many kinds of terns, Red-crested Pochard, Ferruginous Duck, Ruddy Shelduck, herons, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Lesser Kestrel, Roller, Black Francolin, Ménétries’s and Olivaceous Warbler… Later you drive to Salyan for the night. Scops Owls all around the dinner restaurant and plenty of Golden Orioles, Nightingales and a lot more during breakfast.
You continue south through farmland and river lowlands. Soon you´ll see the Talysh Mountains in the distance on the border to Iran. Stops for birds along the way before you reach Masalli and the breeding sites of the Shikra. The afternoon is spent in Kizil Agach at the Caspian Sea with many shore and wetland birds, especially all kinds of herons and thousands of breeding Whiskered Terns are impressive. A Blue-cheeked Bee-eater colony is right at the roadside. Night in the beautiful Tebessüm resort in the Talysh forest. Dippers and Grey Wagtails along the creek and Tawny Owls calling in the forest at night.
You ascend the Talysh mountains with jeeps and skilled drivers. There are good chances to see Caspian Tit in the highest forest if you are interested in this enigmatic species. After lunch you drive through an impressive canyon and enter the mountain semi-desert of the Zuvand region with its lush green river oases in the valleys. Birds include Crag Martin, Alpine Swift, Blue Rock Trush, Great Spotted Woodpecker (subspecies poelzami), Syrian, Black and Green Woodpecker, Horned Lark, Semi-collared and Red-breasted Flycatcher, Crimson-winged Finches and a lot more. Night in Tebessum again.
Driving back to Baku with more stops along the way. Mahmudchala wetland often holds hundreds of Greater Flamingos and in the bushes around there are Peduline Tits and Rufous-tailed Scub Robins. In Gobustan you can see pre-historic rock engravings, bubbling mud volcanoes and birds like Long-legged Buzzard, Pied and Finsch´s Wheatear, Rose-coloured Starling and Woodchat Shrike.
- Short trip: The West (3-5 days)
Leaving Baku towards southwest your first stop will be Hajigabul. Though the lake itself is often dry the nearby fishponds are definitely worth a visit. There are all kinds of wetland and reed birds and the area is especially famous for high numbers of White-tailed Lapwings. With some luck you might even spot a Jungle Cat.
Another stop at the old river branches east of Yevlakh before reaching Mingechevir. Your hotel lies at the Kura river and you enjoy Black-crowned Night Herons, Pygmy Cormorants and Armenian Gulls from the terrace.
The Varvara wetland south of Mingechevir is an important site for migrants and breeding birds. There are colonies of herons and Glossy Ibisses, White-tailed Lapwings and Ferruginous Ducks are nesting and there are loads of other wetland birds.
Adjinour is a salt lake in a shallow bassin, surrounded by fields, steppe and gentle mountains. Larks, Isabelline Wheatear and Black-headed Bunting are common and there are many kinds of raptors and vultures. Especially Imperial Eagles can easily be found around their huge Nest in old poplars. A small population of Goitered Gazelles has be re-introduced here.
Turianchai SPA is known for a good population of Black and Egyptian Vultures, Imperial Eagles, Short-toed Snake Eagles and other raptors. Little Ringed Plovers and Common Sandpipers breed in the river bed and in the loamy cliffs around there are colonies of European Bee-eaters and many Rollers.
In the evening of your last day you drive to Gabala for another night.
Day 3 (+):
Starting from Gabala in the morning you follow the southern slopes of the Greater Caucasus back to the east and Baku. Jungle-like riparian and dark beech forest change into dry oak shrubs, grassy steppes and barren semi-desert along the precipitation gradient. There are many possible stops along the way in all different kinds of landscapes with their adjacent birds.
- Short trip: Nakhchivan
Your trip to Nakhchivan starts with an one hour flight from Baku. There are several connections per day of which the afternoon flight is most practicable. After checking in at Grand Hotel Nakhchivan you’ll go out for dinner.
You start early morning and head straight up the mountains to Batabat. The special feature of the lake is it’s floating peat island. Unexpectedly there are Common Redshanks, Sedge Warblers and Black-headed Yellow Wagtails breeding at about 2000 m asl. In the surrounding meadows Corncrakes are calling and there are Whinchats, Ortolan Buntings and Barred Warblers. The birding highlight though is the Radde’s Accentor on the mountain flanks above.
On the way back you stop in suitable habitat for White-throated Robin and you will also find Eastern Rock Nuthatch, Grey-necked Bunting, Egyptian and Bearded Vulture. In the afternoon you visit a beautiful wadi where Persian Wheatear, See-see Partridge and Upcher’s Warbler are breeding.
The day starts with an off-road excursion into the Negram region. Rocky outcrops in this wide and hilly landscape are good spots to find Trumpeter and Mongolian Finch, Blue Rock Thrush and Lanner Falcon. The surrounding steppes are filled with songs of Greater Short-toed Lark and Isabelline Wheatear and Black-bellied Sandgrouse come to drink at small ponds.
Later the day you drive along the impressive one kilometre high symbol of Nakhchivan, Mount Ilandag. Bimaculated Lark, Crimson-winged Finch and Pale Rock Sparrow are among the birds to look for. In the end Daridag and the hot sulphide springs are a save place for breeding Desert Finches and Bezoar Goats are resting in the shade of steep cliffs.
Another early morning will bring you up to the highest parts of Nakhchivan. With Jeeps and some walking you reach some 250 0m asl to search for Caspian Snowcock. There will be Bearded Vultures and loads of other mountain birds and an amazing landscape to enjoy.
On the way back you have more options to stop again for White-throated Robin and all the other specials or you spend the afternoon sightseeing in Nakhchivan city where you might visit Noah’s grave or other historical monuments.
After Dinner you take the evening flight back to Baku. For international flights there is a connection from Nakhchivan to Istanbul on Tuesday and Saturday morning.
Please use the contact form below for detailed information about reservation, price and booking. Don’t hesitate to ask any question.