Republic of Uzbekistan

Saxaul Sparrow Passer ammodendri ©Machiel Valkenburg Website
Birding 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: 368

    (As at December 2018)

    National Bird - Huma Bird - This is a mythical creature that in Uzbek mythology, the symbol of happiness and freedom.

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 ISBN: Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • 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 NHBS.com
  • Birds of Uzbekistan: Photoalbum

    By Boris Nedosekov & Roman Kashkarov | Silk Road Media | 2012 | Hardback | 100 pages, 200 colour photos | Text English & Russian | ISBN: 9780955754913 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Important Bird Areas in Uzbekistan

    (Priority Sites for Conservation) | By RD Kashkarov, GR Welch & M Brombacher | RSPB | 2008 | Paperback | 188 pages, Maps, tables, figures ISBN: #179081 Buy this book from NHBS.com
Museums & Universities
  • Institute of Zoology of Uzbek Academy of Sciences

    Webpage
    Currently, the ornithological collection of the Institute of Zoology of Uzbek Academy of Sciences contains 5514 specimens of 328 bird species.
Organisations
  • Uzbekistan Society for the Protection of Birds

    Website
    The goals of the UzSPB are the following: conservation and rehabilitation of the gene pool of birds permanently and temporarily inhabiting the territory of Uzbekistan; meeting cultural, education, spiritual and other non-material demands related to aesthetic, cultural and cognitive value of birds.
Reserves

Abbreviations Key

  • NP Zaamin

    Observatory WebsiteSatellite View
  • NR Amu Darya

    Observatory WebsiteSatellite View
    Just over the border in Turkmenistan
  • Protected Areas of Uzbekistan

    InformationSatellite View
    Interactive links to National Parks (2), RAMSAR sites (2) and Nature Reserves (9)
  • WII IBA Dengizkul Lake

    InformationSatellite View
    Dengizkul lake is situated 75 km south-south west from Buhara town near the border with Turkmenistan. It is surrounded by mainly sandy desert with large sand dunes and bushes of saxaul and acacia – the northern part of the Sundukli sands. Hilly sands are most typical for the boundary region with Turkmenistan. The lake is situated in a natural low-lying landscape. The water is strongly salty and supplied by a collector-drainage channel. In former times it was the final reservoir of the Zarafshan river. The IBA consists of the open water area and coastal strip 500 metres wide. Important wintering species are Pelecanus crispus, Marmaronetta angustirostris, Aythya nyroca and Oxyura leucocephala.
Guides & Tour Operators


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

  • Asia Adventures

    Tour Operator
    The nature of Uzbekistan is rich and various. About 379 kinds of birds live here: you can observe birds in sunny deserts and attractive oasis, valleys of the fast mountainous rivers and of the banks of pure lakes, steppes and magnificent mountains. This journey is ideal for birdwatching and exploring of historical sites of the most ancient cities in Central Asia - Samarcand, Bukhara.
  • Olympic Tour Service

    Tour Operator
    Our agency offers you our special Birdwatching Tour. It’s the opportunity to be alone with nature, and observe its important part – the birds.
Trip Reports


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  • 2009 [05 May] - Mark Van Beirs

    PDF Report
    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] - Mark Van Beirs - Kazakhstan, Turkestan & Uzbekistan

    PDF Report
    …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…
  • 2015 [05 May] - David Alan Showler - Chimgan and Beldersay area, Tashkent Province

    Report
    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


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  • Uzbekistan Hotels

    Accommodation
    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.
Other Links
  • Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan: Birding the Silk Road

    Information
    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.

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