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Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan & Uzbekistan - Birding Tour

Tour Overview:

In the heart of the northern Greater Himalayas, Kazakhstan is a mountainous country interspersed with vast steppe located within Central Asia, so many of the special birds here are surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Kazakhstan is huge – the fifth largest country on Earth, but with only about two-thirds of the population of Texas. There is a great diversity of habitats and a mouth-watering array of birds special to Central Asia that are difficult or impossible to find elsewhere. The country is a bridge between Siberia, Mongolia, the Middle East and Africa. The scale of everything is vast. Massive expanses of flat steppe grasslands merge into sandy and stony deserts. A smattering of saline and freshwater lakes act like magnets to nesting and migrant birds.


In sharp contrast, the massive, towering peaks of the Altai Mountains of  Kyrgyzstan, rise to over 14,000 feet (4500 meters). Here we find ecosystems varying from massive tracts of deciduous and coniferous forest cut by untamed rivers in deep gorges at lower elevations, to snow-capped peaks and flower-rich alpine meadows. There is a pre-tour extension to Uzbekistan. A country steeped in ancient history, that was replete with splendid cities and cultures based along the Great Silk Route to China – a true crossroads between east and west. We will visit fabled historical sites in Tashkent, Samarkand and Bukhara, viewing incredibly beautiful, extravagant ancient architecture. There is also a short-list of extremely special birds to be found. Several species at the western edge of their range in Asia. At the top of the list is the enigmatic and curious Pander’s Ground Jay, readily found in the stony deserts of Kyziyl Kum. Others include Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Rufous-naped Tit and local specialties such as Pygmy Cormorant, White-tailed Lapwing, Ménétriés’s Warbler, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, Hume’ s Lark, the delectable Yellow-breasted form of Azure Tit, Persian Nuthatch, Finsch’s and Variable Wheatears, Eastern Orphean Warbler and Clamorous Reed- Warbler.