birdwatching inthe Caucasus Mountains
Khinalig and Laza, located in the Guba and Gusar regions, are must-visit villages for their remote locations, rustic atmosphere and cultural and historical attractions. However, birders should also venture here to see a number of regionally special or endemic bird species. One of Azerbaijan’s most secluded settlements, Khinalig has an incredible hilltop location, hundreds of tightly packed stone houses and residents who speak one of the world’s rarest languages. In the sparsely vegetated terrain nearby you can look for such species as Caucasian Snowcock, Guldenstadt’s Redstart, Alpine Accentor, Rock Thrush and Lammergeier (or Bearded Vulture). Meanwhile, across the mountains in Laza village the stunning green-carpeted slopes surrounding the village are the perfect place to look for key local species like Caucasian Black Grouse, Great Rosefinch, Mountain Chiffchaff and other high alpine species.
What to see:
Caucasian Grouse (Lyrurus mlokosiewiczi)
Caucasian Snowcock (Tetraogallus caucasicus)
Great Rosefinch (Carpodacus rubicilla)
Green Warbler (Phylloscopus nitidus)
Guldenstadt’s Redstart (Phoenicurus erythrogastrus)
Mountain Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus sindianus)
Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus)
Wallcreeper (Tichodroma muraria)
Red-fronted Serin (Serinus pusillus)
When to visit:
Late spring and summer. The very best time is mid to late May.
Where to stay:
There are a number of guesthouses and homestay options in both Khinalig and Laza.