Western Siberia

Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus ©Machiel Valkenburg Website
Birding Western Siberia

Western Siberia consists of the ‘Oblasts’ of Yamalia, Khantia-Mansia, Tyumen, Omsk, Novosibirsk, Kemerovo and Tomsk.

Western Siberia is the largest plain in the world that slopes to the north. It has a lot of slow-flowing rivers with meandering river-channels. Most of West Siberian is low lying wetland. The Central and northern part of the plain is about 100m above sea level. Taiga forests occupied the sides of river valleys. They consist of mostly pine in the western part of the region and cedar-pine together with larch dominates in the eastern part. The largest rivers, such as Ob, Irtysh, Tobol, hardly flood in spring. This combination of river valleys, bogs and other wetlands give shelter to many breeding and migrating birds, especially a lot of Duck’s, Sandpiper species, and also Swans ad Eagles can be found in the region. In the south of Western Siberia there is a forest-steppe zone. Large feather-grass plains and other grasslands, together with small birch-aspen forests and big lakes determine the unique look of the territory. Here it is possible to find such interesting birds as Black Stork, Corncrake and many others.

Top Sites
  • Kondinskie Lakes

    This site is a complex of lakes, which are situated along the left bank of the Konda River. The largest lakes are Aranthur and Range-Thur. Sand banks of Aranthur are mostly by pine forests. There are also a lot of wetlands around Range Thur. More than 170 species have been found here, many of them are waterfowl and water loving birds. Such species as Bean Goose, Black-throated Diver, Red-throated Diver, Whooper Swan and many others breed near the lakes. It’s also possible to find Eagle Owl, Honey Buzzard, Hen-harrier, Osprey, Golden Eagle and Peregrine. The banks of the lakes will give you a comfortable observation point.
  • Middle Chulym River Valley

    Satellite View
    This site includes part of a river channel and surrounding floodplain. There are meadows, small plots of trees and bushes, lakes, and former river-beds. It’s possible to find here nesting of Black Stork, White-tailed Eagle, Golden Eagle and Osprey. A lot of waders also live here. It is also an important migration stopover for many Ducks and Geese. Moreover, the floodplain landscapes, as usual, are full of small birds, such as Wagtails, Buntings, Thrushes, and Warblers. The best time here is May.
  • Yugansky Reserve

    InformationSatellite View
    This site represents typical West Siberian taiga. You can find spruce, cedar & pine woods, including different age forests recovering from fires, pine-forests and bogs. The avifauna of this territory is rich and is home to all of the characteristic species of the region. These are Galliformes, such as Hazel Hen, Black Grouse, Capercaille & Willow Grouse and waterfowl, including Bean Goose, Whooper Swan, Smew, Tufted Duck and Common Pochard. During migration season these species are supplemented with Scaup, Long-tailed Duck, Velvet Scoter, Common Scoter, Goosander, Red-breasted Merganser, White-fronted Goose, and also Lesser White-fronted Goose & Red-breasted Goose. A lot of waders, such as Common Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit, Wood Sandpiper, Ruff, Whimbrel that breed on the territory of the eserve. Birds of prey are also numerous here, and you can easily find White-tailed Eagle, Osprey, Honey Buzzard, Eagle Owl, Ural Owl, Great Gray Owl, Tengmalm’s Owl & Hawk Owl. More than 90 passerine species have been recorded in the territory, among them such sought-after birds as Siberian Ruby-throat & Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler.
Useful Reading

  • A Field Guide to Birds of Russia and Adjacent Territories (former USSR)

    By VE Flint, RL Boehme, YV Kostin & AA Kuznetsov | Princeton University Press | 1989 | Paperback| 353 pages, 48 colour plates, 71 line drawings, 303 maps | ISBN: 0691024308 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Birds of Siberia

    (Two-volumes) | By Vadim Konstantinovich Ryabitsev | Armchair Scientist | 2014 | Hardback | 890 pages, colour & b/w illustrations, colour distribution maps | Text: Russian with English abstract & English, Russian & scientific names | ISBN: 9785752529931 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • The Birds of Siberia

    (A Record of a Naturalist's Visits to the Valleys of the Petchora and Yenesei) | By Henry Seebohm | Cambridge University Press | 2011 | Paperback | 512 pages, 113 b/w illustrations, 2 b/w maps | ISBN: 9781108037952 Buy this book from NHBS.com
  • Where to Watch Birds in Europe & Russia

    By Nigel Wheatly | Christopher Helm | 2000 | Paperback | 416 pages, 50 illustrations, 100 maps | ISBN: 0713648708 Buy this book from NHBS.com

Abbreviations Key

  • NP Pripyshminskiye Bory

    InformationSatellite View
    Pripyshminskiye Bory National Park is divided into two sections. The Talisky section, which is on the right bank of the Pyshma River, is just south and east of the town of Talitsa. It a relatively flat forest of pine, spruce and larch. The second section, Tugulymskaya, is located 20 miles to the northeast, in Tugulymsky District. It has more extensive swamps and wetlands on the floodplains of the Pyshma River, with forest of larch, fir and cedar. Much of this section is swamp, with some higher sandy ground supporting pine forest.
  • NR Central Siberia Strict Nature Reserve

    InformationSatellite View
    The reserve is known for large concentrations of elk along the Yenisei during winter. Overall, the terrestrial animal life of the reserve is that of the north central boreal forest: sable, reindeer, etc. The Yenisei is a flyway for migratory birds, and the reserve supports bird-watching excursions.
  • NR Gydansky

    InformationSatellite View
    Gydansky Reserve is located on adjacent for Central Siberia territory. Is located in Tazovsky district Yamalo-Nenetsky autonomous okrug, on Yavay, Mamonta, Oleny peninsulas and islands Karskoe Sea - Oleny, Shokalsky, Proklyatye, Pestsovye, Rovny. Is created in 1996. The area is 878,200 hectares. Species include Red-breasted Goose, Bewick`s Swan, White-billed Diver, Gyrfalcon, Peregrine. Gyda village, Yamalo-Nenetsky AO, Russia.
  • NR IBA Denezhkin Kamen Strict Ecological Reserve

    InformationSatellite View
    Scientists on the reserve have recorded 37 species of mammals. The area is a site of international importance for birds; 140 species have been recorded, with 111 nesting. 10 species of bird in the Red Book of Russia are found, including the vulnerable Lesser white-fronted goose and the Red-footed Falcon.
  • NR IBA Kuznetsky Alatau

    InformationSatellite View
    The animal life of the reserve is mostly that of the boreal taiga, with some mountain and steppe communities. The most common mammals are rodents. The beaver has been reintroduced and now inhabits most river valleys; the number of individuals was about 200-250 individuals in 2016. Kuznetsk is an Important Bird Area as designated by Birdlife International.
  • NR Ilmen

    InformationSatellite View
    The dark taiga is to the west, on the mountain ridges; Ilmen is more in a pine and birch forest subzone. Forests cover 85% of the Reserve - of which 55% is pine (Pinus sylvestris), and about 40% birch. The remaining 5% is mostly meadow, and steppe. Because 9% of the reserve is lake and river, the surrounding floodplains and dead birch trees provide a good habitat for mushrooms which are an object of study at the site. Throughout the reserves history, the mammals and birds of the region have been the subject of frequent scientific publication.
  • NR Little Sosva

    InformationSatellite View
    Scientists on the reserve have recorded 38 species of mammals, 209 of birds, 1 species of reptile, 2 species of amphibians (The Siberian salamander and Rana frog), 16 species of fish (common species are pike, carp, perch) and many invertebrates. They are mostly typical of the middle taiga of the Western Siberian Plain: Siberian Chipmunk, brown bear, sable, ermine, elk, and grouse.
  • NR Verkhne-Tazovsky (Upper Taz)

    InformationSatellite View
    The reserve is about 75% forest, 15% swamp. The forests are light, with pine trees on the sandy terraces making up 60% of the trees, cedar 17%, larch 12%, birch 7%, spruce 3% and aspen 1%. The understory is relatively clear, mostly pine. To the extent a shrub layer exists, it is found in sparse clumps of juniper and rosehip. Scientists on the reserve have recorded 68 species of vertebrates, and 98 species of birds. Most of the bird biodiversity is in the floodplains. The upper reaches of the Taz are important spawning and wintering grounds for salmon and whitefish.
  • NR Yugansky

    InformationSatellite View
    The reserve is in the central part of the West Siberia plain, in the southern part of the Middle Ob lowlands. It is situated in the Surgutsky District of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, about 500 km due north of the city of Omsk. The reserve was created in 1982, and covers an area of 648,636 ha (2,504.40 square miles). The terrain of Yugansky is primarily floodplains, covered by spruce forests with cedar and fir. The reserve is home to 40 species of mammals, more than half of which species are rodents. The large mammals are represented by bear, lynx, and wolverine. Herbivores include elk and reindeer forest.
Guides & Tour Operators
  • Ecological Travel Centre

    Tour Operator
    Birds of southern Siberia and Baikal Lake
Other Links
  • Birds of Central Siberia

    Generally, about 400 species of birds stay here in different times. Some of them already are not to be found any more or are extremely rare. Others appeared here as distant visitors. We have compiled here the most complete list of bird species of this territory. It is made on the base of the literature analysis. Moreover you can find here other information, concerned birds, which can be interesting and useful.
  • Birds of Tyumen Oblast

    A website about the birds of Tyumen Oblast, Russian Federation...

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