Azerbaijan’s rapid rise to a global birdwatching destination seems very natural when we consider its perfect location at the crossroads of several important migration routes and its impressive range of habitats. Diverse landscapes, ranging from snow-capped peaks to lush wetlands, and almost everything in between, make Azerbaijan home to approximately 400 species of birds, a significant portion of the species found in Europe and Western Asia.
Once ATB recognised this rich avian biodiversity, we began to promote the country as a birdwatching destination through various channels, including the azerbaijan.travel website, social media, international birdwatching magazines and travel fairs, while simultaneously developing sustainable routes that could safeguard and nurture the birds and ecosystems, as well as handle increased visitor volumes and assist local inhabitants.
The next step was to empower local nature tour operators and organisations by helping them arrange birdwatching tours, which raised awareness of the country's birdlife and attracted more birdwatchers to the country. Further collaboration helped, with GNTA (Georgian National Tourism Administration) on cross-border birdwatching cooperation, local and international bird conservation organisations, such as OSME, on promoting avian habitat conservation, and with local and international birdwatching experts on an ongoing basis to create birdwatching trails and identify new spots, highlighting the best locations and the species that can be sighted there. The efforts also extend to training birdwatching guides and developing the appropriate infrastructure for tourists.
The result is that almost the entire area of Azerbaijan can be incorporated into a dizzying birdwatching adventure, where tourists are able to immerse themselves into regions of almost untouched nature, while enjoying some of the best birdwatching sites in the world, with the logistics and infrastructure to match it. Some of our best sites coincide with Azerbaijan’s national parks, such as Shirvan and Aghgol. Mount Beshbarmag, conveniently near Baku, is a particularly treasured site for birds along the Caspian Sea coastline, serving as an important stopover point for migratory species, including the imperial eagle and peregrine. Elsewhere, Azerbaijan is also home to many resident species, with the stunning villages of Khinalig and Laza in the Greater Caucasus Mountains perfect places to see endemics like the ‘Caucasus Big Five’, which includes the Caucasian black grouse and great rose finch. A trip to Nakhchivan offers the perfect conclusion to a comprehensive tour of Azerbaijan, where tourists can see a dozen bird species not found in mainland Azerbaijan, like Mongolian finch and See-see partridge.