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Birding in Iran: A Paradise for Tourists
Artin Travel > Blog > Birding in Iran: A Paradise for Tourists

Birding in Iran, A Must Try Experience 



Iran is known for its spectacular historical monuments, gorgeous mosques, and fine carpets. But, this country is also one of the world’s most culturally diverse and interesting countries to visit. Religion, culture, and legacy have been woven together and created a rich destination package.

It is the Middle East’s second-largest country, covering 636,372 square miles (1,648,195 square kilometres), and offers a lot to the adventurous to interested travelers, including birding. The unique Pleske’s Ground Jay, as well as highly restricted-range species including Sind Woodpecker, Basra Reed Warbler, Iraq and Afghan Babblers, Caspian Tit, Black-headed Penduline Tit, Mesopotamian Crow, and Sistan (or Afghan) Scrub Sparrow, are among the highlights of an Iran birding tours.

In fact, Iran has so many birds migrating and breeding inside its borders that birding enthusiasts will surely enjoy their trip no matter what season take their trip. Soon, you’re going to learn all you need to know about rare bird species in Iran, the nation’s diversity, the best spots for birding in Iran, and Iran birding FAQ.

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Diversity in Iran Nature

despite its reputation as a land of bleak hills and great deserts, Iran is a land of amazing diversity. The Caspian Sea is 26 meters (85 feet) below sea level, whereas the Elburz is 5760 meters (18,899 feet) above sea level. Temperatures in the northwest range from below 30°C (minus 22°F) in the winter to over 45°C (113°F) in the summer. Annual rainfall in areas of the Caspian watershed ranges from over 2000mm (78 inches) to near nil in the central deserts!

The large range of climates reflects the wide range of ecosystems. There are luxuriant deciduous woods of Hyrcanian Forests along the Caspian to oak, pistachio, and almond woodlands in the middle highlands. Then, there are acacia trees, fan palms, and mangrove swamps in the south. There is no end to the natural beauty of Iran.

The avifauna is also diverse, as one might expect. Iran is home to about 500 different bird species, and over 300 of them are known to breed. Although much of this richness can be attributed to Iran’s diverse habitats, it also stems from the country’s strategic location in Asia. Iran is located in the Palearctic faunal region, straddling the boundary between the Western and Eastern Palearctic sub-regions.

Only a tiny group of exclusively Eastern Palearctic species extends into Iran’s northeastern highlands, whereas roughly 80 species with strictly Western Palearctic distribution reach their southeastern limits in the Elburz and Zagros.

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Why Travel to Iran

Iran is truly fascinating and worthy of deep exploration. It has 21 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, vast scenery ranging from harsh mountain peaks and azure seas to arid deserts, astonishingly ancient and gorgeous cities and villages, and the world-famous hospitality of the Iranians.

Thanks to the advancements of technology and the fast spread of information on media, people are discovering the truth about Iran. The fact that Persia is one of the safest nations for travelers is not an exaggeration. You can ask solo female travelers in Iran, read Iran tour reviews, or contact us to put your mind at ease. All these are adding up to Iran’s newfound popularity as a tourist destination.

Iranian Birds in Iran Deserts

Many of these birds are classified as Least Concern by the IUCN because of their widespread distribution and adaption to living in Iran’s desert. However, habitat degradation is being caused by deforestation, overgrazing, and inefficient but widespread agriculture methods, and these birds may soon be vulnerable. However, these birds have maintained steady populations so far, and the Iranian deserts provide the optimum circumstances for their survival. Click to read more about Iran deserts and tours available for them.

Bird Species in Iran Birding Tours

Not surprisingly, the avifauna is diversified as well. Iran is home to about 500 different bird species, with over 300 of them breeding. Although much of this richness can be attributed to Iran’s diverse habitats, it also stems from the country’s strategic location in Asia.

The Elburz and Zagros Mountains are home to roughly 80 species of avifauna that are strictly Western Palearctic in distribution. You can spot these birds easily with one of our birding tours. Some of the bird species you will see during your birding in Iran tour include:

  1. Crab-plover
  2. Grey Hypocolius
  3. Streaked Scrub Warbler
  4. Caspian Snowcock
  5. See-see Partridge
  6. Macqueen’s Bustard
  7. White-cheeked Tern
  8. Pallid Scops Owl
  9. Egyptian Nightjar
  10. Radde’s Accentor
  11. Hume’s
  12. Red-tailed (or Persian)
  13. Finsch’s
  14. Variable Wheatears
  15. White-throated Robin
  16. Upcher’s, Sykes’s
  17. Asian Desert
  18. Green and Plain Leaf Warblers
  19. Hume’s Whitethroat
  20. Semi-collared Flycatcher
  21. Eastern Rock Nuthatch
  22. Dead Sea Sparrow
  23. Pale Rockfinch
  24. Asian Crimson-winged
  25. Desert Finches
  26. Grey-necked Bunting.

Waterfowl can breed and winter in the south Caspian Sea, which has 700 kilometres of sandy shoreline, as well as the freshwater lakes, marshes, and brackish lagoons in central Gilan, the Gorgan Bay area, and the Turkoman steppes.

The mid-winter population of ducks, geese, swans, and coots is estimated to be well over a million birds, with maybe as many birds passing through in the spring and autumn. Pelecanus Crispus, Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus rubber, grebe herons and egrets, shorebirds, and gulls all have considerable wintering numbers too.

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Birding in Iran: Top Spots

Touran Wildlife Refuge

The Touran Wildlife Refuge, also known as Khar Turan National Park, is Iran’s second-largest biosphere reserve. In Iran, it’s also known as “Little Africa.” It’s a massive reserve on the northern outskirts of Iran’s vast central desert basin. 

And so do many other desert animal species like Macqueen’s Bustard, Plesk’s Ground Jays, Crowned and Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Pallid Scops Owl, Asian Desert Warbler, Red-tailed Wheatear, Pale Rockfinch, Desert Finch, and Grey-necked Bunting. Visit Turan with Artin’s national park and wildlife tour to also see the habitat of the highly endangered Asiatic cheetah.

Touran wildlife Persian cheetah Iran tour
kish island Iran birding tour

Kish Island

Kish is the third most visited holiday destination in West Asia. This island has a 3,000-year history and also has a place among the world’s 10 most beautiful islands. Similar to the other Persian Gulf islands in the Strait of Hormuz, Kish is situated on a narrow slice of tropical vegetation.

That’s why Kish island has unique geographic and climatic characteristics. So far, 193 distinct bird species have been identified on the island by environmentalists. She remarked that numerous species, notably the cinereous bunting and the Jacobin cuckoo, have been seen on Kish Island after many years.

Green-backed herons and raptors such as the crested honey buzzard, osprey, Eurasian hobby, and lesser kestrel, which spend on Kish Island, are rare in the neighborhood and even the world.

Khuzestan: The Perfect Location for Birding in Iran

Khuzestan is home to 379 bird species, including breeding and migratory waterfowl and seabirds. Every year, as the cold season approaches, groups of migrating birds from Central Asia arrive in the province to spend the winter.

Six species of rare Iranian birds that reside on the edges of wetlands and rivers have been recorded in Khuzestan province. This is thanks to the presence of numerous rivers, wetlands, and special bird habitats. Two of the species of Khuzestan have only been spotted in this area, and nowhere else.

Protected areas of Khuzestan are also home to goitered gazelles (aka Persian gazelles). The International Union for Conservation of Nature has categorized these animals as vulnerable. However, you can still see them with one of ARTIN’S Iran tour packages.

khuzestan bird species in Iran birding tour

Birding in Iran: FAQ

What rare birds are there in Iran?

Rare birds like rock bunting, masked booby, Red-billed Tropicbird, African Darter, Goliath heron, Socotra Cormorant, Bean Goose, and sacred Ibis can be spotted in Iran.

How can I book a birding tour in Iran?

You only need to choose your favorite tour from among our Iran birding tours, or customize your own tour. We’ll do the rest for you! Please see Artin Travel’s Iran tour packages for more information.

What are the best birding locations in Iran?

The best places to go birding in Iran are Iran deserts, Touran wildlife refuge, Khuzestan, and Kish and Qeshm islands.

When is the best time to book a birding tour in Iran?

The best time to go birding is usually between sunrise and 11 a.m., when the birds are most active. This is especially true in the spring and early summer, but fall is also a popular birding season in Iran.

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