Azerbaijan, the nation and former Soviet republic, is bounded by the Caspian Sea and Caucasus Mountains, which span Asia and Europe. Its capital, Baku, is famed for its medieval walled Inner City.
Less than 300 miles across, the small country of Azerbaijan has a surprising variety of habitats, from temperate forests, steppe, and semi-desert, to alpine tundra and wetlands. All this is home to an equally surprising variety of bird life, including many species coming from Russia as passage migrants or winterers.
Azerbaijan also holds three alpine specialties: Caucasian Snowcock, Güldenstädt’s Redstart, and Great Rosefinch.
Fall through spring are the best seasons for birding Azerbaijan. Birders with just a few days will do best by taking day trips from Baku, the country’s capital and largest city, on the shore of the Caspian Sea. Within an hour’s drive are marshes along the Caspian, inland wetlands, semi-desert, and dry mountains.
Great Rosefinch, copyright Stephen Rooke