birdwatching inShirvan National Park
Easily accessible along the Baku-Astara highway 90 km south of Baku, Shirvan National Park is one of Azerbaijan’s top all-round nature sites and is best known as the home of the iconic goitered gazelle. The gazelle is an absolute Azerbaijan success story, since their numbers had dropped to just a few hundred animals in the 1960s but now count between 7,000 and 8,000 alone in Shirvan, and you’re guaranteed to see them during a visit here. But this huge area (54,000 hectares) is also a paradise for birdwatchers where over 270 different species have been recorded. The reason for such an abundance is its location on the Caspian coastline bird migration path, as well as its importance as a breeding, resting and wintering spot for a huge variety of species, including Greater Sandplover, White-tailed Lapwing, Greater Flamingo, Pygmy Cormorants, Lesser Kestrel, Steppe Buzzards, Imperial Eagle, both species of bee-eaters, Rollers, and Black Francolins.
Black Francolin (Francolinus francolinus)
Little Bustard (Tetrax tetrax)
Menetries’s Warbler (Sylvia mystacea)
Lesser Short-toed Lark (Calandrella rufescens)
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (Merops persicus)
Marbled Duck (Marmaronetta angustirostris)
Rufous Bush Chat (Cercotrichas galactotes)
When to visit:
Winter, spring and autumn.
Where to stay:
Kur Hotel (+994514130011) is a comfortable and affordable option in the nearby town of Salyan.