An opportunity to watch migratory, resident, and native birds in different regions of Iran.


From a climatologic point of view there are 490 species of birds in various parts of Iran, from which 458 of them are main species and 32 of them are seen accidentally and 22 of them have been seen once or twice. The main species are divided in 3 groups by ecologic condition:

A. Natives: Which belong specially to Iran, such as Podoces Pleske "Ground Jay” that lives in desert areas.

B. Residents: They are not originally from Iran but are living here such as Columbidae (living all around the country).

C. Migratory: Their number and species are seasonal and are divided into 3 main kinds:

Winter migratory: Like Anatidae
Breeding migratory: Like Oriolus
Passage migratory: Like Scolopacidae

The eight major habitat types of Iranian birds can be identified, each with its own characteristic bird fauna, as follows:

True desert and semi-desert

 Rather few species occur in true desert, and densities are very low, but most of those species which have become adapted to this hostile environment have large ranges both in Iran and in the southern Palearctic as a whole. Examples include Chlamydotis Undulata, Oenanthe Monacha and Ammomanes Cinctura, Alaemon Alaudipes, Sylvia nana, Oenanthe Deserti, and Rhodopechys Githaginea. Podoces Pleskei, which occurs widely in the deserts of central and eastern Iran, is almost confined to Iran.

Semi-arid steppe of the desert rim and foothills
Characteristic species include Buteo Rufinus, Falco Tinnunculus, Pterocles Orientalis, Coracias Garrulous, Merops Apiaster, and several species of lark including the ubiquitous Galerida Cristata, Oenanthe Isabellina and Emberiza melanocephala.

High Mountains

Characteristic species include Aquila Chrysaetos, Gypaetus Barbatus, Tachymarptis Melba, Hirundo Rupestris, Eremophila Alpestris Pyrhocorax Graculus, Prunella Collaris, Monticola Saxatilis, Phoenicurus Ochruros, Tichodroma Muraria and Montifringill Nivalis. Tetraogallus Caspius which confined to high mountain ranges in Turkey and Iran, is still locally common on the highest peaks in the Alborz and Zagros.

Forests and woodland

The luxuriant forests of northern Azerbaijan and the south Caspian region have a bird fauna scarcely different from that of a central European woodland, with common species including Columba Palumbus, Picus Viridis, Dendrocopos Major, Anthus Trivialis, Lanius Collurio, Garrulus Glandarius, Troglodytes Troglodytes, Prunella Modularis, Sylvia Articapilla, Hippolais Icterina, Erithacus Rubecula, Luscinia Megarhynchos, and several species of Turdus, Parus and Fringilla Coelebs.

The oak woodlands of the western Zagrous lack some of the true forest species and have a Mediterranean element which includes species such as Dendrocopos Syriacus, Lanius Nubicus, Oenanthe Hispanica and Emberiza Cineracea.

In the even drier mixed Pistacia, Acer and Amygdalus woodlands in the eastern Zagros, Kerman highlands, and isolated mountains in northern Baluchistan, only a handful of western Palearctic species occur. Characteristic birds here include a mixture of Middle Eastern specialties, e.g. Irania Gutturalis and Phylloscopus Neglectus, eastern Palearctic species, e.g. Lanius Isabellinus and Sylvia Althaea, Indo-Malayan species, e.g. Lanius Vittatus and western Palearctic species at the extreme edge of their ranges, such as Turdus Merula. Finally, throughout the remote mountain ranges of Iran, there still exist good stands of juniper Juniperus woodland with specialties such as Serinus Pusillus and in the north-east, Mycerobas carnipes.

The hot southern lowlands

Indo-Malayan/Afrotropical species such as Streptopelia Senegalensis, Coracias Benghalensis, Morops Orientalis, Pycnonottus Leucotis, Prinia Gracilis, Turdoides Caudantus, Nectarinia Asiatica and Petronia xanthocollis are the common species of the hot southern lowlands of Iran. A number of species of Indo-Malayan origin, such as Calandrella Raytal, Acridotheres Tristis, and Passer Pyrrhonotus, are confined to extreme southeast Iranian Baluchistan, while several others extend only as far west as the Bandar Abbas region, e.g. Butastur Teesa, Francolinus Pandicerianus and Dendrocopos Assimilis.

In the west, the riverine poplar thickets and marsh edge habitat of Khuzestan hold several specialties, such as Hypocolius Ampelinus, Turdoides Altirostris and Passer Moabiticus.

The wetland

The south Caspian Sea and the freshwater lakes, marshes and brackish lagoons in central Gilan, the Gorgan Bay area, and the Turkmen steppes provide a complex of breeding and wintering areas for waterfowl. There are large wintering populations of Pelecanus Crispus, Phoenicoptrus Rubber, grebes, shorebirds and gulls, plus breeding Phalacrocarax Carbo, herons, egrets, gallinules including Porphyriio Prophrio, and Chlidonias Hybridus.

The wetlands of the Uromiyeh Lake in Azerbaijan support large breeding colonies of waterfowl, notably Phoenicopterus Rubber, Pelecanus Onocrotalus, Palatalea Leucorodia, Plegadis Falcinellus, Ciconia Ciconia, Tradorna Tradorna, Tadorna Ferruginea, Recurvirostra Avosetta, Himantopus Himantopus, and Larus Armenicus.

The flood-plains of the Dez, Karun and Karkheh rivers in Khuzestan, the complex for fresh, brackish and saline lakes at the inland delta of Hiramnd river in Sistan of the Afghan border, and the network of fresh and saline lakes in central Fars, particularly Lakes Bakhtegan, Tashk, Maharlu, and Parishan and the Dasht-e Arian marshes all provide habitat for thousands of wintering waterfowls. In addition to a wide range of ducks, geese and shorebirds, these wetlands are particularly important for wintering Pelecanus Onocrotalus (Fars and Sistan), Threskiornis Aethiopicus (Khuzestan), Ciconia Ciconia (Khuzestans and Fars), Phoenicopterus Rubber (Fars) and Grus Grus (all three areas).

In year of good rainfall, wetlands in all three regions can be of great importance for breeding waterfowl, particularly herons, egrets, Platalea Leucorodia, Plegadis Falcinellus, Vanellus Indicus, and Glarreola Pratincola.

Coastal habitats of the Persian Gulf and Makran Coast

The tidal mudflats, mangrove, sand beaches, rocky shores and sea-cliffs of Iran's south coast support a variety of breeding and wintering waterfowl and seabirds. Breeding species include Dromas Ardeola, Burhinus Recurvirostris (only in the sea), several species of herons and egrets such as Ardeola Grayii, Egretta Gularis and Ardea Goliath (in mangrove), and several species of terns. Wintering species include Platalea Leucorodia, Pandion Haliaetus, Haliaeetus Albicilla, many shorebirds notably Heamatopus Ostralegus, Limosa Lapponica, Numenius Arquata and Charadrius spp., Stercorarius spp., Larus spp., and Sterna spp.

Offshore Islands

The many small and uninhabited islands in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormoz provide ideal breeding grounds for large colonies of seabirds. The main species are Sterna Bergii, Sterna Bengalensis, S. repressa and S. anaethetus, but small colonies of Phaethon Aethereus, Phalacrocorax Nigrigularis and Sterna Saunderis have been found, and Puffinus Persicus probably breeds.

The following itinerary gives you the chance of watching the most famous Iranian endemic bird, Pleskes Ground Jay (Podoces Pleskei).

However if you are interested in watching any special spices of birds, just let us know the name. We can arrange a tailor made tour, for with preferred services.

Birdwatching in Iran

Day Daily Program Accomodation
Day 1 Arrive Tehran

Arrive Tehran’s IKA Airport; meet and transfer to hotel for overnight stay.
O/N in Tehran.
Day 2 Tehran / Semnan

Drive to Semnan. 
O/N in Semnan.
Day 3 Semnan / Excursion to Parvar

Drive to Parvar protected area for bird watching; late afternoon drive back to Semnan.
O/N in Semnan
Day 4 Semnan / Excursion

Excursion to Molla- Deh and Roudbarak areas for bird watching in more high-altitude habitats; afternoon drive back to Semnan. 
O/N in Semnan.
Day 5 Semnan / Touran National Park

Morning drive to Touran National Park, located in northern parts of Dasht-e kavir desert, where we stay for 3 nights. 
O/N in local house.
Day 6 Touran National Park

Full day wildlife-watching in Touran National Park. Look for Pleskes Ground Jay (Podoces pleskei) which is endemic to Iran deserts. 
O/N in local house.
Day 7 Touran National Park

Full day wildlife-watching in Touran National Park looking for some of the rare species of birds and mammals like Persian Wild Ass.
O/N in local house.
Day 8 Touran National Park / Tehran

Drive to Tehran. Afternoon free time for rest and shopping.
O/N in Tehran.
Day 9 Tehran

Depart from the IKA airport.