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Shelduck Tadorna tadorna ©Emil Enchev Website

The Baikal area consists of the Republic of Buryatia and the 'Oblast' of Chita.

The most famous place in the region is, of course, Lake Baikal; the deepest freshwater lake in the world. Large expanses of open water and wonderful banks and shoreline, where rocks make way to forests, are always attractive for travelers. On the lake you can find a great diversity of waterfowl, which can be a great spectacle even for experienced birdwatchers. This variety has a peak at the delta of big rivers, such as Selenga and Barguzin. Rocky banks are inhabited by special group of birds including several different Swifts, Hoopoe & genuine Rock Doves. The banks are interesting too. This is a kingdom of mountain taiga forests; Cedar-pine, spruce and pine form largely unbroken cover. There are a lot of mosses, lichens, ferns and fungi here too.

The avifauna consists of typical taiga species. You can find here different Owls, Falcons, Thrushes, Nightingales and also Booted Eagle & Daurian Jackdaw. In the high mountain forests and on the alpine meadows it’s possible to observe Redstarts & Accentors. On the south of the region there is steppe zone. Large feather-grass and bush grasslands is the commonost flora here. These exceptional habitats consist of steppe lakes which are the breeding sites & migration stops of great number of waterfowl and other birds including such rare ones as Swan Goose, Relict Gull and White-naped Crane.

Top Sites

Baikalo-Lensky Reserve


Satellite View

This site includes part of Lake Baikal shoreline, mountain landscapes and the Lena River source. Different natural conditions define the great number of birds. More than 230 species of birds have been recorded in the reserve territory, including 146 breeding ones. On the Baikal-lake common species are White-winged Scoter, Shoveler, Gadwall, Falcated Duck and Ruddy Shelduck. In the different kinds of waterside habitats breed waders, such as Common Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Pin-tailed Snipe & Common Snipe. The forests are full of owls, for example, Long-eared Owl, Marsh Owl & Tengmalm’s Owl. On the rocky banks you can find Rock Dove, three Swift species: Siberian, Black & Needle-tailed; and Hoopoe. Areas of scrub are bird rich with species such as Yellow-breasted Bunting and Chestnut Bunting. Lower mountain slopes hold a great number of Thrushes, Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler, Siberian Ruby-throat, Siberian Blue Robin & Daurian Jackdaw. The avifauna of the high mountains is more special: it is the only place to find Red-bellied Redstart, Polar Bunting, Water Pipit & Brown Accentor. Such interesting birds as Isabelline Wheatear, Pied Wheatear, Rock Thrush and Meadow Bunting live on the steppe areas on the lake banks.

Selenga River Delta


Satellite View

This site is a great place for both breeding and migration concentrations of waterfowl. About 300 species of birds have been recorded in this territory. Great foraging conditions, and safe cover are created by a lot of shallow water, former river-beds and streams. You can easily find here such interesting breeding birds as White-tailed Eagle, Red-breasted Snipe, Caspian Tern, Bittern, Whooper Swan and Black Mallard. But the most interesting time here is spring and autumn. At migration birds are concentrated in great numbers. The most common of them are Pintail, Shoveler, Bean Goose, Marsh Sandpiper, Ruff, Wood Sandpiper & Black-tailed Godwit. Also, if you are lucky you may see Siberian Crane, Bewick’s Swan, Swan Goose, Falcated Duck and Little Crake.

Toreyskie Lakes

This site is in the south-east part of the region. It consists of a group of steppe lakes, the largest of them are Barun-Torey and Zun-Torey. The lakes are surrounded by meadows and grasslands. More than 150 breeding and about 120 migrating and wintering species of birds have been recorded in the site. The steppes are useful for different kinds of Larks and Pipits, and it’s also possible to see such large birds as Great Bustard, Demoiselle Crane, Saker Falcon & Steppe Eagle. On the lakes and small rivers and around them you can find Swan Goose, Great Crested Grebe, Baer’s Pochard, Red-breasted Snipe, White-winged Black Tern and Great Reed Warbler. Toreyskie Lakes is one of four places in the world which has breeding colony of Relict Gull. On the lake islands breed Demoiselle Cranes, European Cormorants & Caspian Terns. This site is excellent for watching migrating birds, such as White Crane, Bean Goose, Ruddy Shelduck, Baikal Teal, Mandarin Duck, Shelduck, Gadwall, Pintail, Shoveler, Golden-eye, White-winged Scoter, Bald Coot, American Golden Plover, Curlew Sandpiper and many others.


Olga Batova


Ecological Travel Center - Moscow



Useful Reading

A Field Guide to Birds of Russia and Adjacent Territories

V. Flint, R. Boehme, Y. Kostin, A. Kuznetsov Paperback - 440 pages (December 1983) Princeton University Press

ISBN: 0691024308

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Where to Watch Birds in Europe & Russia

Nigel Wheatly Paperback - 416 pages (28 April, 2000) Christopher Helm

ISBN: 0713648708

Buy this book from NHBS.com


Abbreviations Key

Tungussky Reserve


Satellite View

Tungussky Reserve is located in Tungussko-Chunsky district of Evenkiysky autonomous okrug. Reserve was organized in 1995 with the purpose of studying the effects of a meteorite`s impact on a natural system. The area - 296,600 hectares. The species structure of the birds is investigated unsufficiently. While is registered 145 species of the birds. From rare and endagered birds - Bean Goose, Whooper Swan, Osprey, White-tailed Eagle, Golden Eagle, Peregrine.
Moskovskaya 2-2, Vanavara village, Tungussko-Chunsky district, Evenkiysky AO, Russia, 663490

Tunkinsky National Park


Satellite View

Rare, protected species in the Park include Snow Leopard Uncia uncia, Siberian Ibex Capra sibirica, Black Stork Ciconia nigra, Bean Goose Anser fabalis, Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos, White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla and other rare fauna…

Guides & Tour Operators

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Ecological Travel Center

Tour Operator

Birds of southern Siberia and Baikal Lake…

Trip Reports

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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.

2008 [August] - Scott Bowers


I flew from San Francisco to Irkutsk via New York and Moscow with the primary goal to view the total solar eclipse of August 1, 2008. I visited a few areas in the region including Lake Baikal at Listvyanka, Tuva, the Altai mountains region, and Krasnoyarsk…

Other Links

Baikal Watch


Since its inception, Baikal Watch has helped draw the attention of the world to the problems of Lake Baikal and Siberia. With the publishing support of Sierra Club Books, and with the artistic contributions of Peter Matthiessen and Boyd Norton, it has produced its own acclaimed book on Baikal, a photo-album-journal which has sold over 60,000 copies in 15 different languages. At the same time, Baikal Watch has assisted with the production of numerous films for television on Baikal (which have appeared on American, English, Korean, and Russian TV); as well as dozens of newspaper and magazine articles on the lake and its environment…