Republic of Tajikistan

Brown Accentor Prunella fulvescens ©Machiel Valkenburg Website
Birding Tajikistan

Tajikistan, officially the Republic of Tajikistan, is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and People’s Republic of China to the east. Tajikistan also lies adjacent to Pakistan but is separated by the narrow Wakhan Corridor. Most of Tajikistan’s population belongs to the Tajik ethnic group, who share culture and history with the Iranian peoples and speak the Persian language (officially referred to as Tajiki in Tajikistan). Once part of the Samanid Empire, Tajikistan became a constituent republic of the Soviet Union in the 20th century, known as the Tajik Soviet Socialist Republic (Tajik SSR).After independence, Tajikistan suffered from a devastating civil war (1992-1997). Since the end of the war, newly-established political stability and foreign aid have allowed the country’s economy to grow. Trade in commodities such as cotton and aluminium wire has contributed greatly to this steady improvement, but lack of natural resources (besides hydroelectric power and its strategic location) has hampered its economic recovery.Tajikistan is the smallest nation in Central Asia by area. It is covered by mountains of the Pamir range, and more than fifty percent of the country is over 3,000 meters (approx. 10,000 ft) above sea level. The only major areas of lower land are in the north (part of the Fergana Valley), and in the southern Kofarnihon and Vakhsh river valleys, which form the Amu Darya. Dushanbe is located on the southern slopes above the Kofarnihon valley.The Amu Darya and Panj rivers mark the border with Afghanistan, and the glaciers in Tajikistan’s mountains are the major source of runoff for the Aral Sea. There are over 900 rivers in Tajikistan longer than 10 kilometers. About 1% of the country’s area is covered by lakes.

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 353

    (As at August 2018)
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Useful Reading

  • Birds of Central Asia

    (Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan & Afghanistan) | By Raffael Ayé, Manuel Schweizer & Tobias Roth | Christopher Helm | 2012 | Paperback | 336 pages, 141 plates with colour illustrations; 14 colour photos, 5 b/w illustrations, 3 colour maps, colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9780713670387 Buy this book from

Abbreviations Key

  • NP Pamirt

    InformationSatellite View
    It stretches about 2,6 mill.ha which is 18% of the total size of Tajikistan. It includes parts of the Pamir Mountains .In 2001 its area was increased to 2.6 million hectares by the Order of the Government of the Republic of Tajikistan. Species known to live in the national park include the brown bear, snow leopard, wolves, markhor, Marco Polo sheep, brown-headed gulls and bar-headed geese.
  • NR & IBA Zorkul

    InformationSatellite View
    As well as for bar-headed geese, with up to 125 breeding pairs using the site, the reserve was classified as an IBA because it supports significant numbers of the populations of several other bird species, either as residents, or as overwintering, breeding or passage migrants. These include Tibetan snowcocks, Himalayan snowcocks, ruddy shelducks, saker falcons, Himalayan vultures, lesser sand plovers, brown-headed gulls, yellow-billed choughs, Hume's larks, white-winged redstarts, white-winged snowfinches, rufous-streaked accentors, brown accentors, black-headed mountain-finches, Caucasian great rosefinches and red-fronted rosefinches.
  • NR Tigrovaya Balka

    InformationSatellite View
    Tigrovaya Balka Nature Reserve is in Tajikistan close to the Afghan border where the Vakhsh River and the Panj River join to form the Amu Darya. The reserve stretches over 40 km from the southwest to the northeast. Birds include include red-crested pochard, pygmy cormorants, saker falcons, common coots, common cranes, pale-backed pigeons, pallid scops-owls, Egyptian nightjars, white-winged woodpeckers, brown-necked ravens, great tits, desert larks, streaked scrub-warblers, Sykes's warblers, Asian desert warblers, saxaul sparrows and desert finches.
  • SeNR Ramit

    InformationSatellite View
    It consist of 16139 ha mountains and forests. The snow leopard is found in the reserve. Bukharan markhors (Capra falconeri heptneri), endangered goat-antelopes, are kept in enclosures and released in the wild.
Trip Reports
  • 2015 [09 September] - Florian Klingel - Fann Mountains

    PDF Report
    I was in Northern Tajikistan for work and did a short birding trip to the Fann mountains, which is a beautiful mountain range roughly half way between Khujand and Dushanbe. There is basically zero information available on birding in Tajikistan. I choose the location of the Kuli Kalon lakes in the Fanns because it was possible to arrange a trip there, because it promised to be a beautiful location even without birds, and because Raffael Ayé, one of the authors of the region’s field guide, mentioned this a possibly interesting site.
  • 2018 [06 Jume] - Florian Klingel

    PDF Report
    I have been coming to Tajikistan for work about once per year since 2015, and I usually have added a weekend for birding.In the following I want to document briefly where I went and what I found. The possibilities in Tajikistan are endless, while my total birding time in Tajikistan summed up isnot more than 10 days and I only visited a handful of locations. So,this report is certainly not the definitive birding guide to Tajikistan, but perhaps a helpful start for anyone with aninterest in birds planning to visit the country.
  • 2021 [04 April] - Fabio Olmos

    PDF Report
    It is fair to say Tajikistan is not among the best-known birding destination. This should be corrected, as this small Central Asian republic has much to offer. From the Tien Shan and Pamir mountains to the western deserts, Tajikistan doesn’t lack impressive vistas and interesting habitats worth visiting.
Other Links
  • Tajikistan Birds Watch

    In Russian

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