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Black-throated Thrush Turdus ruficollis atrogularis ©Charlie Moores

The Urals area of Russia consists of the Republics of Komi, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Chuvashia, Mari El and Udmurtia and the 'oblasts' of Kirov, Perm, Novgorod, Ul'yanovsk, Sanara, Saratov, Orenburg, Chelyabinsk, Kurgan and Yekaterinburg.

The region is interesting because of its location: the Ural mountings represent a natural border between Europe and Asia. In such a way, the flora and fauna of the region is very rich and can have radical differences from one place to another. On the south of the Urals lays the steppe zone where it’s possible to see such birds as Steppe Eagle, Imperial Eagle, Demoiselle Crane and Little Bustard.

Along the Belaya-river remain large plots of old forests, and numerous populations of predatory birds, for example, Eagle Owl, breed here. Closer to the north, the steppe changes to mountain taiga. Fast-flowing rivers with stone bottoms, taiga forests, elfin woodlands and mountain tundra will meet you here. The highest site is 1894m up, and usual height at the Middle Ural is close to 800-1000m above sea level.

Dark coniferous forests dominate on the west mountain sides, and on the east side pine and cedar-pine are more common. More than 150 species of birds have been recorded here, and among them there are a lot of Siberian species, such as Red-flanked Bluetail, Black-throated Thrush and Pine Bunting. Up in the taiga forests and the tundra are Willow Grouse, Tundra Grouse, Common Dotterel and many others.

Top Sites


The environs of the Belaya-River is one of the most interesting and ornithologically rich sites in the region. A landscape of river banks with the scenerey often changing from one bank to another. You can find here coniferous taiga forests, alder and birch river-valley forests, meadows, willow bushes and small bogs. This variety determines a rich avifauna. More than 130 species of birds have been recorded here. The most important peculiarity is a very high density of predatory birds. Especially Peregrines, Eagle Owls, Golden Eagle, Imperial Eagle, Short-toed Eagle and Osprey. Moreover, rhe river channels have a lot of waterfowl.

Katay Lake

The banks of the lake attracts the great attention of birdwatchers and ornithologists. Lots of water loving boirds and waterfowl can be found here in a very short time. Close to you settle Swans, Bald-coots, Common Pochards and other ducks. Groups of Turnstones, Dunlins, Black-winged Stilts, Sandpipers, and Black-tailed Godwits forage on the shore and are easily observed. All these birds use the Katay Lake as a breeding site, and in the middle summer you can be lucky to see their nests and nestlings.

Pechoro-Ilytchsky Reserve


Satellite View

This part of the northern Urals near Pechora-river is original and unsurpassed. The mountain taiga forests are inhabited by special avifauna, including such rare species as Golden Eagle, Eagle Owl, Great Grey Owl, Hawk Owl and Marsh Owl. There are a lot of Galliformes birds, and in spring it’s possible to see large leks of Capercailyes and Black Grouses. Big flocks of Red-breasted Geese, Scoters and Pintails on their spring migration have a rest on the river channel. On the highest mountain levels live Tundra Grouse, Common Dotterels, Snow Buntings and Shore Larks.

Tchekinskaya Steppe

This site represents an area of untouched feather-grass steppe. Landscape diversity bordered by different sized rivers and mixed forests with well-developed under storey. A lot of rare bird species can be found here including Steppe Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard, Serpent Eagle, Saker Falcon, Peregrine, Demoiselle Crane, Halcyon, Golden Plover and Little Bustard breeding here.


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

Guides & Tour Operators

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Ecological Travel Center - Migrating birds of Volga delta

Tour Operator

The Volga delta is the largest in Europe and it occupies a triangle of 100 (length) x 200 (wide) km. A lot of different landscapes can be found when on the way from Astrakhan through the delta to the Caspian Sea. Extensive pastures are crisscrossed by broad waterways and fast running streams, which turn into well developed floodplain forests with huge amounts of willows, poplars and alders. Typical birds of the area are: Great Black-headed Gull, White-tailed Eagle, Caspian Tern, Dalmatian Pelican, Penduline Tit, Night Heron and Cetti's Warbler…

Ural Expeditions & Tours

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Siberian lakes and Ural's rivers - Birdwatching in the Middle Urals (combined tour)…

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.

2015 [06 June] - Hanna & Janne Aallon


...The meadow was full of nice birds: Booted Warblers were everywhere and also Blyth’s Reed Warbler was very common. Some couples of Siberian Stonechats were active and soon we heard a singing Siberian Chiffchaff. We followed a path on the western side of the river but after some 45 minutes walking the river turned in front of us and it was impossible to continue towards the bushy area that we wanted to go. Anyway we saw more and more birds like Yellow and Citrine Wagtails, Penduline Tits, Bluethroats, Common Rosefinches and so on. Some Steppe Gulls flew over us and a couple of Black Kites were soaring on the sky, a Corn Crake was calling and Grasshopper and River Warbler singing.

2016 [07 July] - Janne Aalto


...We we driving along a track that left south-east from Inta. We passed some coal mines and gas factories and reached the forests soon. There we started to make stops. We were sitting on the back where we had a button that told driver if we wanted to get out. On the first stop we heard some Arctic Warblers, a Siberian Chiffchaff and also saw briefly one Olive-backed Pipit that was singing only very shortly....

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Birds of Chuvashia


Photosite "Birds of Chuvashia" created for unification of all bird lovers, bird watchers, photographers, biologists, Chuvash Republic. Forms the basis of site photos of birds and Chuvashia, in which several thousand photos of more than 200 species…