Republic of Uzbekistan
Uzbekiston Respublikasi (the Republic of Uzbekistan) is located between two big rivers of Central Asia: Amu-Darya and Syr-Darya rivers. It is the largest of the Central Asian republics in population and the third in area. The following countries of Central Asia surround Uzbekistan: Kazakhstan to the north, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan to the south, and Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east. The climate is of the mid-latitude desert and semiarid grassland in the east, is of long, hot summers, mild winters.
Human habitation of Uzbekistan stretches so far back in time that no certain starting date can be fixed. Remains of Neanderthal encampments have been found, and the first mention of cities in the area date to 3rd or 4th century BC, when travellers wrote of the wonders of the isolated region. Ethnic Uzbeks make up two-thirds of the population of 25 million - Tatar, Russians, Kazakhs and Tajik make up the remainder. The mixed population is mostly Muslim [88% (mostly Sunnis)] and Eastern Orthodox Christians [9%], who speak Uzbek [74.3%], Russian [14.2%], and Tajik [4.4%] with a few other smaller ethnic and language groups.
Desert and high plateaus dominate Uzbekistan's 447,400 square km. In fact, 60% of the country is arid, although irrigation provides the means for a massive fruit and cotton economy in the north-eastern part of the country. The biggest body of water in the land-locked region, the Aral Sea, is shrinking rapidly as a result of the unchecked irrigation; about half the area of the Aral Sea has dried up and turned into desert.
For many centuries the territory of modern Uzbekistan was at the center of the rich cultural and commercial developments that occurred in Central Asia. The Great Silk Road passed through Uzbekistan's cities as Fergana, the capital Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva. Uzbekistan is not only rich in cotton, vegetables, and grain; its economy is blessed with gold, valuable minerals, and substantial reserves of energy resources, especially oil and natural gas. And cotton still is the most valuable crop, and our country is the fourth-largest cotton producer in the world.
Number of Species
Number of bird species: 329
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* Field Guides & Bird Song
For a comprehensive list of recommended titles covering Asia as a whole - please see the Asia page of Fatbirder
A Field Guide to the Birds of South-East Asia
Craig Robson Hardcover - 504 pages (2000) New Holland Publishers (UK)
ISBN: 1843307464Buy this book from NHBS.com
Birds of Central Asia
Birds of Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan
By Raffael Ayé, Manuel Schweizer & Tobias Roth with contributions from Arend Wassink, illustrated by Dave Nurney , Per Alström, Adam Bowley, Carl D'Silva, Kim Franklin, John Gale, Alan Harris, Ren Hathway, Christopher Schmidt, Brian Small, Jan Wilczur, Tim Worfolk & MartWoodcock | Christopher Helm | Paperback | Oct 2012 | 336 pages | 141 plates with colour illustrations | 14 colour photos | 5 black & white illustrations | 3 colour maps | colour distribution maps
See Fatbirder Review
ISBN: 9780713670387Buy this book from NHBS.com
Guides & Tour Operators
Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…
Sairam Tourism Co. - Birdwatching Tour
…rare ‘exotic’ species: Pander’s Ground Jay (Podoces panderi), Saxaul sparrow (Passer ammoden-dri), Paradise Flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradise) who can be observed only in Central Asia and who build rather peculiar nests. The diversity and abundance of birdlife amazes even the most sophisticated ornithologist…
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.
2006 [05 May] - Steve Rooke
…Three perfect days in the mountains were a perfect end to the tour. The weather could not have been better and in the glorious sunshine, the birds performed beautifully. A stunning male Servertov’s Tit Warbler danced around the bush tops just feet from us, as did a fine Sulphur-bellied Warbler, while an equally obliging male Eversmann’s Redstart was seen on all three days…
2007 [05 May] - Bjorn Anderson
…The main purpose of this very short trip to Uzbekistan was to find Pander’s Ground-Jay in the Kyzul Kum Desert in western Uzbekistan…
2007 [05 May] - Dave Farrow
Once more this tour excelled at providing a thrilling Palearctic spring birding experience, with a mouth-watering list of exciting birds that typify this Birdquest tour. We travelled from the hills and deserts of Uzbekistan,,,
2009 [05 May] - Mark Van Beirs
The bird of the trip on this Palearctic extravaganza was the exquisite, little Severtzov’s Tit-Warbler that showed so extremely well in its attractive juniper habitat high in the Tien Shan. Birding the deserts, marshes, steppes, lakes, stony hills and alpine forests, meadows and rocky crags of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan at the best time of year produced a mouth-watering list of exciting birds…
2013 [06 June] - Dion Hobcroft - Kazakhstan & Uzbekistan
…We birded in howling gales, powerful sunshine, idyllic conditions, and occasional showers. Amongst the more than 200 bird species recorded was a roll call of special birds: White-headed Duck; Himalayan Snowcock; Dalmatian Pelican; Little Bittern; Cinereous Vulture; Macqueen’s Bustard; Demoiselle Crane; Sociable Lapwing; Greater Sand-Plover; Ibisbill; Black-winged Pratincole; Pallas’s and Black-bellied sandgrouse; White-winged Woodpecker; Lesser Kestrel; Red-footed and Saker falcons; Bearded Reedling; Black and White-winged larks; White-tailed Rubythroat; Eversmann’s, Blue-capped, and White-winged redstarts; Azure and Turkestan tits; Black-headed and White-crowned penduline-tits; Black-throated and Brown accentors; Gray-necked Bunting; Crimson-winged and Mongolian finches; Red-mantled Rosefinch; Fire-fronted Serin; and Saxaul Sparrow to mention some…
2013 [06 June] - Mark Van Beirs - Kazakhstan, Turkestan & Uzbekistan
…That magnificent Himalayan Snowcock walking amongst patches of snow, those multiple, extremely attractive male White-tailed Rubythroats singing their hearts out from the top of juniper bushes, those five playful, so endearing, young Marbled Polecats exploring the Taukum desert, those immaculate, fluffy Azure Tits foraging only metres away in a seeding willow, that unique Ibisbill feeding in its mountain stream, those superbly elegant Demoiselle Cranes and that rare Sociable Lapwing in the rippling feather steppes and the incredible sight of 60,000 Red-necked Phalaropes in breeding plumage dotted like midges over a huge lake were the unforgettable highlights of our Central Asian adventure…
2014 [06 June] - Dion Hobcroft - Kazakhstan & Uzbekistan
VENT’s fourth comprehensive tour of Central Asia was our most successful yet, sighting 265 species of birds, 16 mammals, and a variety of interesting reptiles. Many of the birds were in dazzling breeding plumage and full song. Native plants were flowering extensively.
2015 [05 May] - David Alan Showler - Chimgan and Beldersay area, Tashkent Province
At the beginning of May 2015, after six weeks working on a conservation project in the Kyzylkym Desert of central Uzbekistan, we had the opportunity to make a two day visit to the area. This trip report summarises what we saw with an annotated bird species checklist presented at the end. It does not detail getting to Uzbekistan, visa requirements, health issues etc. but we give some important tips on money and accommodation issues that are useful to highlight for independent birders wanting to visit.
Places to Stay
Accommodations in Uzbekistan can be divided into four categories. At the top of the heap are new hotels, typically built with foreign capital from places like India and Malaysia.
Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan: Birding the Silk Road
In the heart of the northern Greater Himalayas, Kazakhstan is a mountainous country interspersed with vast steppe located within Turkestan or Central Asia, so many of the special birds here are surrounded by breathtaking scenery.