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Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Partridge
Chukar Alectoris chukar ©Aseem Kumar Kothiala Website

Birding Pakistan

Pakistan is a country in South Asia. It is the world’s sixth-most populous country with a population exceeding 212 million people. In area, it is the 33rd-largest country, spanning 881,913 square kilometres (340,509 square miles). Pakistan has a 1,046-kilometre (650-mile) coast line along the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the southwest, and China in the far northeast. It is separated narrowly from Tajikistan by Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor in the northwest, and also shares a maritime border with Oman.

Pakistan is divided into three major geographic areas: the northern highlands, the Indus River plain, and the Balochistan Plateau. The northern highlands contain the Karakoram, Hindu Kush, and Pamir mountain ranges (see mountains of Pakistan), which contain some of the world's highest peaks. The Balochistan Plateau lies in the west and the Thar Desert in the east. The 1,609 km (1,000 mi) Indus River and its tributaries flow through the country from the Kashmir region to the Arabian Sea. There is an expanse of alluvial plains along it in the Punjab and Sindh.

It is a country with a diverse wildlife in its Indus valley plains, fresh water lakes, ice capped mountains, deserts, plateaus, and its 1000 KM coastline. There is a wide variety of bird species in the region.

Pakistan is not well equipped for birding activities in general. There are no regularly planned birding tours. The sites below are recommended for safe birding activities.

The climate varies from tropical to temperate, with arid conditions in the coastal south. There is a monsoon season with frequent flooding due to heavy rainfall, and a dry season with significantly less rainfall or none at all. There are four distinct seasons in Pakistan: a cool, dry winter from December through February; a hot, dry spring from March through May; the summer rainy season, or southwest monsoon period, from June through September; and the retreating monsoon period of October and November.

The ideal bird watching season is winter when a wide variety of birds visit the wetlands and planes of Pakistan from Siberia. However, during summer the high altitude mountain areas (from 5,000m to 8,000m) of Northern Pakistan can be visited for watching unique species of resident birds. Famous areas include: Chitral National Park, Gilgit Valley, Biltistan, Khunjrab National Park, Hunza Valley and Nanga Parbat tracking area. There are ample facilities for bird watching tourists in these areas.

Some other important areas are, among others: Chiltan National Park at Hazar Ganji, Ayubia National Park, Doesai National Park, and Kirthar National Park.

Top Sites

Hadero Lake

Information

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Hadeiro Lake is situated 5 km north of Haleji. It is a small lake famous for pelicans and flamingos.

Haleji Lake

Information

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It is Asia's greatest waterfowl reserve. Haleji lake is situated about 70km from Karachi. During winter thousands of birds fly down to Haleji from Siberian colder areas. It is the largest bird sanctuary of Pakistan.

Kinjhar Lake

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Kinjhar Lake is the largest fresh water lake of Pakistan. It is situated further 50km from Haleji near 2,500 years old civilization of Makli, Thatta and Bhambhore. It houses variety of tourist huts and boating facilities.

Lal Suhanra National Park

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This Park is situated in Choolistan desert about 40km from Bahawalpur. It is a nice place for watching desert species. It houses tourists huts and watch towers.

Mai-Kolachi by-pass

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This by-pass road is situated right in he heart of Karachi near 5-Star hotel complex off M T Khan road. It is a unique spot for watching flamingos in sea lagoons across the road even on a very short trip to Karachi.

Margalla Hills National Park

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Margalla hills form the skyline of Islamabad. There are a variety of resident birds which can be seen there during a normal jogging trip on the hills or on a special birding trip.

Rawal Lake & Shakar Parian National Park

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Visitors to the lush green capital of Pakistan can enjoy birding in and around Rawal Lake area in the heart of Islamabad. It is famous for resident as well as visiting birds.

Ucchali Lake Complex

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Ucchali Lake Complex consists of three small lakes. It is situated in the salt range plateaus in north-central Punjab. This area is famous for the regular winter visitor white-headed duck Oxyura Leucocephala.

Contributor

T R Aashi

Secretary Pakistan Birdwatchers Association

traashi@yahoo.co.in

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 786

(As at January 2019)

National Bird: Chukar Partridge Alectoris chukar

Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web

Useful Reading

* Field Guides & Bird Song

For a comprehensive list of recommended titles covering Asia as a whole - please see the Asia page of Fatbirder - for guides etc. covering the Indian sub-continent please see the India page

A Field Guide to Birds of the Indian Subcontinent

By Krys Kazmierczak & Ber van Perlo | Christopher Helm | 2008 | Paperback | 352 pages, 96 colour plates, b/w illustrations, distribution maps |

ISBN: 9781408109786

Buy this book from NHBS.com

A Photographic Field Guide to the Birds of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh

By Bikram Grewal & Sumit Sen | Princeton University Press | 2017 | Paperback | 792 pages, 4000+ colour photos, 1300+ colour distribution maps |

ISBN: 9780691176499

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of Pakistan

by Richard Grimmett, Tom Roberts & Tim Inskipp | Christopher Helm | 2009 | Paperback | 256 pages, colour plates throughout |

ISBN: 9780713688009

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Organisations

Birdwatchers Club of Pakistan

Website

The Birdwatcher's Club of Pakistan (BCP) was founded in summer 2005 by a group of dedicated birdwatchers in Pakistan to conserve the diverse and beautiful avifauna of Pakistan. Our aim is to help promote and encourage bird watching among fellow birders who are interested in the birds of Pakistan and the neighboring countries…

Ornithological Society of Pakistan

Block D Near Farawa Chowk, PO Box 73, Dera Ohazi Khan, 32200. + 92 641 62339osp@mul.paknet.com.pk

Reserves

Abbreviations Key

NP Ayubia

Information

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Ayubia National Park is a protected area of 3,312 hectares (33 km2)[1] located in Abbotabad District, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan. The park harbors up to 203 species of birds. Many species of birds, including the golden eagle, the vulture, Eurasian sparrowhawk and the hill pigeon among others can be found here. It is also home to some of the rarer Himalayan pheasant species like the kalij and koklass pheasants. Ayubia National Park supports 31 species of mammals such as the Asiatic leopard, hill fox and flying squirrel.

NP Central Karakoram

Information

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it covers an area of about 10,000 sq. km and contains the greatest concentration of high mountains on earth. The number of bird species present is low. The robin accentor (Prunella rubeuloides) and black-throated thrush (Turdus ruficollis) overwinter here, and vultures, birds of prey, rosefinches (Carpodacus spp.), Himalayan monals (Lophophorus impejanus) and Güldenstädt's redstarts (Phoenicurus erythrogaster) remain throughout the year, though they may move to somewhat lower elevations in winter.

NP Hazarganji-Chiltan

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Hazarganji Chiltan National Park is a national park in the Mastung District of western Balochistan Province of Pakistan. It lies between Chiltan on its west and Hazarganji on the east. The park was established in 1980 to provide the habitat to rare Chiltan ibexes found in the area. 120 species of avifauna (36 resident and 84 migratory) and 30 species of reptiles. Birds includes the very rare Houbara bustard, griffon vulture, Egyptian vulture, crested honey buzzard (winters only), laggar falcon, peregrine falcon, common kestrel, Eurasian sparrowhawk (winters only), Indian scops owl, Indian cuckoo, European bee-eater (breeding only), chukar partridge, European nightjar (breeding/summer only), long-billed pipit, Eastern Orphean warbler, variable wheatear, blue rock thrush, whinchat, white-browed bush chat and Lichtenstein's desert finch.

NP Kirthar

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It tretches over 3,087 square kilometres (1,192 sq mi), making it the second largest national park in Pakistan after Hingol National Park. The fauna comprises Indian leopards, striped hyenas, Indian wolves, ratels, urials, chinkara gazelles and rare Sind wild goats. Blackbuck antelopes are kept in enclosures for a reintroduction project at Kirthar National Park. Most large predators have been killed with the last leopard shot in 1977.

NP Lal Suhanra

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Lal Suhanra is a national park in Pakistan that is situated in the Bahawalpur district of Punjab province. It is one of South Asia’s largest nationals parks, and is a UNESCO declared Biosphere Reserve. More than 160 species of birds are also present, including the houbara bustard, griffon vulture, crested honey buzzard, marsh harrier, hen harrier, laggar falcon, peregrine falcon, kestrel, Eurasian sparrowhawk, Egyptian vulture, lark, shrike, wheatear, and barn owl. Lake Patisar, a large body of water in the center of the park, is ideal for bird watching. In mid-winter, the lake is regularly home to between 10,000 and 30,000 ducks and common coot.

NP Margalla Hills

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It is a national park located in Islamabad Capital Territory. It covers approximately 17,386 hectares (67.13 sq mi). Tilla Charouni with a height of 1604m is tallest peak in the park. The park is rich in biodiversity, especially rich in Sino-Himalayan fauna, most notably gray goral, barking deer and the Leopard. It is also home to a large number of birds such as larks, paradise flycatcher, black partridge, shrikes pheasants, spotted doves, Egyptian vultures, falcons, hawks and eagles.

NP Rawal Lake & Shakar Parian

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The reservoir is of considerable importance for wintering waterfowl. It is a good place for birds watching, as the majority of Birds of Islamabad are found here.

Pakistans IBAs

PDF Article

Overview of IBAs

Protected areas of Pakistan

Information

As of present, there are around 157 protected areas in Pakistan that are recognised by IUCN.

Wetlands

Webpage

Pakistan presently has 19 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 1,343,627 hectares…

WII Jiwani Coastal Wetland

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The Jiwani Coastal Wetland is a wetland located in Balochistan, Pakistan, near the town of Jiwani. According to the book Avian Diversity of Jiwani Coastal Wetlands, Pakistan, 112 species of birds were recorded of which 79 species were migratory and 33 were resident. Of the 79 migratory species, 54 migrated during winters, 11 migrated during summers, 10 were year round visitors, and 3 species were vagrant.

WS Haleji Lake

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Haleji Lake is a perennial freshwater lake in Thatta District of Sindh Province, Pakistan. It is 6.58 km2 (2.54 sq mi) in size and is surrounded by marshes and brackish seepage lagoons. Haleji Lake is a wintering site for waterfowl such as cotton teal, spot-billed duck, purple moorhen and pheasant-tailed jacana. It is also a breeding site for egrets and herons.

WS IBA Chashma Barrage

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WS WII IBA Keenjhar Lake

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Keenjhar Lake is in Thatta District, Sindh, Pakistan. It is 122 km from Karachi and 18 km from the town of Thatta. It is the second largest fresh water lake in Pakistan. Keenjhar Lake has been declared a ramsar site and a wildlife sanctuary. It provides a favorable habitat of winter migratory birds like ducks, geese, flamingos, cormorants, waders, herons, egrets, ibises, terns, coots and gulls. It has been observed as a breeding area of the black-crowned night heron, the cotton pygmy goose, purple swamphen, and pheasant-tailed jacana.

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Karakoram Adventure

Tour Operator

From Arabian Sea in South to Khunjerab Pass in North, Pakistan offer unique birds variety which is the Specialties of their particular region. Birds sites near Karachi include Cape Monze (white tailed Lapwing, Sooty Gull, Variable Wheatear), Korangi Greek (shore birds including Great Knot) Birds sites near Islamabad include Rawal Lake to the southeast of the city (Cinnamon Bittern (April to September) on north side, Great Thick-knee and Small Pratincole at the eastern end) and the Maragalla Hill on the northern edge of the city. The vegetated ravines and remnant pine forest here support Kalij Phesant, Blue throated Barbet, Indian Pitta (May to September), Chestnut Thrush (November to March), Golden Bush-Robin, Variegated Laughinthrush, Black-chinned Babbler, Rufous-breasted (November to March), and Black-throated (November to March), Accentors and Chestnut-breasted Bunting.

Trip Reports

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

Blogs

Birding Islamabad

BLOG

I have decided to create a Blog of my birding exploits in and around Islamabad in Pakistan. Probably a little late as I have just recorded my 300th species. Islamabad is a wonderful place to watch birds; situated as it is at the base of the beautiful Margalla Hills and on the migration highways of many species. Each season brings new birds to the areas around the city as others depart. I hope, in some small way, to generate interest in the birds of Islamabad and the surrounding areas…

Derek Kverno - Birding Pakistan

BLOG

Reports, reflections, and resources of an independent birder living in Pakistan. For the last ten years, the author has lived, worked, birded, and blogged in Ecuador, Tanzania, and Brazil, some of the most bird-rich countries in the world.

Other Links

Bird Watching in Pakistan

Website

Two major Zoogeographical zones overlap along the length of Pakistan and even the third faunal zone, which is over Africa, has its influence in extreme southern Pakistan. Bird life is particularly rich because of the latitudinal zones of the mighty Himalayas, Karakoram and Hindukush ranges…

Birds of Pakistan

Website

Some species accounts and pictures…