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The phasianus colchicus bianchii, a pheasant found only in Turkestan
© Eduard Jelen


The wide variety of wildlife makes the reserve a perfect place to see some of the region's best bird species.

Tigrovaya Balka Nature Reserve is a bird's paradise which, in turn, makes it a birdwatcher's paradise as well. Throughout the park, there's an incredible biodiversity of birds, with dozens of notable species that can be spotted in the various landscapes from the water's edge and across the floodplains.

Of the rare and endangered species here, some of the most important to look out for are the white stork, stone curlew, black-bellied sandgrouse, vulture, and griffon vulture. But you should also be able to see plenty of other species, including the common quail, common pheasant, little grebe, great crested grebe, grey heron, black stork, and lesser kestrel.

The houbara bustard – © R.Sh. Muratov
The houbara bustard – © R.Sh. Muratov

Aside from the main rivers, there are more than ten significant bodies of water across the park, with these lakes and ponds offering excellent positions for birdwatching. A good option is the lakeside Kirpichniy observation point. But you'll also find an even larger range if you are able to travel between the different ecosystems.

Moving through the reserve, you can head to the reedy areas to try to spot the reed warbler, blue throat, and other passerines. The tugay forests with their poplar trees attract birds like the white-winged woodpeckers, rollers, and eastern stock doves to its hollows, while the penduline tit nests in the thin branches of the dzhida, and the rufous bush robins live in the tamarix. Even in the sandy semi-desert areas, there are interesting species, including the houbara bastard and streaked scrub warbler.

A pallid scops owl peeks out from behind a plant – © F. Rakhimov
A pallid scops owl peeks out from behind a plant – © F. Rakhimov

About 50 species of migratory birds come to the Tigrovaya Balka Nature Reserve during the winter, so there are many more opportunities to see animals in the colder months. In the summer months, there are only about 60 nesting bird species. In total, about 240 types of birds live here, spend winter in the park, or pass through on migrations at some point. About 55 of these species are rare or endangered, so spending some time looking for them is an excellent way to make the most of your time in the reserve.