Visiting Nakhchivan as a birdwatcher is a hugely worthwhile experience. For many birdwatchers, it is the highlight of a trip to Azerbaijan because the landscape, look and feel is very different. The region has a continental climate, producing very cold winters and very hot summers. Much of the central zone is dry highland covered by orange-red steppe or semi-desert. The Araz river snakes along the south and marks the border with Iran, while the Lesser Caucasus Mountains tower across the north of the territory. The region is large but you can visit the key birdwatching sites in two to three days. And the avifauna is markedly different from mainland Azerbaijan, having more in common with eastern Türkiye and north-western Iran. Visit here in May or early June and you can see 10-12 species not found elsewhere in Azerbaijan.
Mongolian Finch (Eremopsaltria mongolica)
Grey-necked Bunting (Emberiza buchanani)
Red-tailed Wheatear (Oenanthe chrysopygia)
White-throated Robin (Irania gutturalis)
Radde’s Accentor (Prunella ocularis)
See-see Partridge (Ammoperdix griseogularis)
Upcher’s Warbler (Hippolais languida)
Pale Rock Sparrow (Carpospiza brachydactyla)
Bimaculated Lark (Melanocorypha bimaculate)
Caspian Snowcock (Tetraogallus caspius)
Eastern Rock Nuthatch (Sitta tephronata)
Lanner Falcon (Falco birmicus)
Black-bellied Sandgrouse (Pterocles orientalis)
Trumpeter Finch (Bucanetes githagineus)
Asian Crimson-winged Finch (Rhodopechys sanguinea)
Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus)
When to visit:
Late spring and early summer is the time to come for most target species. Late autumn and winter is the time for wintering birds along the Araz river and reservoir.
Where to stay:
Nakhchivan city, the region’s capital, is the best place to base yourself and has several good hotels: Tabriz Hotel (+994365447701), Hotel Grand Nakhchivan (+994365445930), Duzdag Hotel (+994365444901), and Saat Meydani Hotel (+994365457755).