This article would cover all birds found in different areas and provinces of Pakistan except those kept in Zoos and Captivity.
PROVINCE OF SIND
Location: On the outskirts of Karachi city along the western seaboard. Buleji is about
39 km from the city centre and Cape Monze about 45 km.
Habitat: Rocky coastline with intervening sandy beaches, and some degraded mangrove at the southern end.
Birds: Pallas’s, Sooty, Brown-headed and Slender-billed gulls, and Caspian, Gull-billed, Great Crested, Lesser Crested and Saunders’s terns occur throughout the year. During the monsoon, White-cheeked Tern and Wilson’s Storm-petrel can be seen offshore.
Location: On the southern outskirts of Karachi, about 12 km from the city centre.
Habitat: Tidal creek with mudflats and limited salt marsh, surrounded by sand dunes.
Birds: In winter, Curlew and Broad-billed sandpipers, Dunlin, Pacific Golden Plover,
Pied Avocet, Greater and Lesser sand plovers, Western Reef Egret, Saunders’s Tern and Long-legged Buzzard occur.
I Ialeji and Hadiero
Location: Haleji Reservoir is about 60 km west of Karachi on the old highway to
Hyderabad city. Hadiero is further north on a branch road to Jamshoro and about 73 km from Karachi.
Habitat: Haleji has a tree-lined embankment (suitable to drive on), with seepage pools and wetlands along its fringes, dense patches of Typha and lotus lilies, and a steep rocky island towards the north end.
Birds: A large population of Purple Swamphen is resident. At least 13 species of duck, as well as Dalmatian and Great White pelicans, can be seen in winter, as can a variety of raptors, including Osprey, Greater Spotted and Imperial eagles, and Eurasian Marsh Harrier. Breeding raptors include Brahminy Kite, Pallas’s Fish Eagle and Red-necked Falcon. In summer, 13 species of herons and bitterns can be seen, and in the seepage pools in winter, there are nesting Cotton Pygmy-goose, Purple Heron, Glossy Ibis, Eurasian Spoonbill and Streaked Weaver. Hadiero, being a larger water body, is a good place in winter for raptors: Osprey, White-tailed Eagle, Cinereous Vulture, Eurasian Griffon, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Eurasian Marsh Harrier and Greater Spotted Eagle. In the
adjoining thorn scrub, Orphean and Desert warblers occur in winter, and Graceful Prinia, Desert Lark, and Ashy-crowned and Black-crowned sparrow larks occur year-round.
Nab Dam and Valley
Location: 30 km north of Karachi city.
Habitat: The reservoir is flanked by desert scrub, with some flash-flood gullies and higher rocky hills on its western side.
Birds: A good place to see Hume’s Wheatear, Pale Crag Martin, White-eared Bulbul, Grey Hypocolius and House Bunting, as well as Painted and Chestnut-bellied sand-grouse and Cream-coloured Courser. On the reservoir in winter, there are Black-necked Grebe, Common Merganser and diving ducks.
Kandkhot and Ghauspur
Location: 109 km northeast of Sukkur.
Habitat: A series of flood-protection embankments and seepage swamps or temporary pools, plus the permanent Ghauspur Lake. There is a rest house at Kandkhot.
Birds: A good place to see breeding Pallas’s Fish and Tawny eagles, and Sykes’s Nightjar. In winter, Yellow-eyed Pigeon, White-tailed Eagle, Black-bellied Tern and many waders, especially Black-tailed Godwit, occur. Fifteen species of raptor, six species of terns and seven species of herons/bitterns have been recorded.
Hingol National Park
Location: Though it is in Baluchistan at the mouth of the Hingol river, the park is best
reached from Karachi. It lies approximately 252 km west of Karachi on the Arabian Sea coast.
Habitat: Arid rocky hills down to the sea, with the Hingol river providing some scattered Oleander and deciduous tamarisk. On the surrounding hills grow Artemisia and the dwarf Mazri Palm.
Birds: Pallid Swift, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Sooty Falcon, Brown-necked Raven, Hooded Wheatear and Chestnut-shouldered Petronia, and, in winter, Dalmatian and Great White pelicans, many waders, Laggar Falcon, Eurasian Hobby and Finsch’s Wheatear.
PROVINCE OF BALOCHISTAN
Hazar Ganji National Park
Location: 20 km southwest of Quetta.
Habitat: The Chiltan range of hills, with the highest peak at 3264 m, falling steeply to stony screes and slopes at the eastern end of the park at 2000 m. Dotted with juniper at higher elevations, and at their foot with scattered pistachio and Mountain Ash (Fraxinus xanthoxyloides), Artemisia and dramatic yellow globes of Ferula oopoda.
Birds: Breeding See-see and Chukar partridges, European Bee-eater, Pallid Scops Owl, Eurasian Nightjar, Red-rumped Swallow, Bay-backed Shrike and Desert Finch. At higher elevations there is a small population of Yellow-billed Chough.
Location: 96 km west of Quetta.
Habitat: This is a high-altitude valley, situated at about 2400 m, with the highest
nearby peak Mount Kaliphat at 3945 m. A climax habitat, exceptionally restricted on
a worldwide basis, it comprises open-canopy tall juniper forest with flowering tulips, Foxtail Lilies and purple tussocks of Onobrychis in summer. There is some deciduous fruit cultivation in the valley.
Birds: Summer breeding Eurasian Scops Owl, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Mistle Thrush, spotted Flycatcher, Black Redstart, Lesser Whitethroat (ssp. althaea), Eastern Rock Nuthatch, Eurasian Crag Martin, Sulphur-bellied and Plain leaf warblers, Fire-fronted Serin, White-winged Grosbeak, Common and Red-mantled rosefinches and White-capped Bunting.
Torghar Wildlife Preserve
Location: 52 km west of the town of Zhob, which is about 334 km northwest of Quetta.
Habitat: Bush-dotted mountainous country with scattered Wild Olive, pistachio and
Mountain Ash (Fraxinus xanthoxyloides), Sophora and Ephedra bushes, and Foxtail Lilies adding colour to the scene in summer.
Birds: Breeding Sind Woodpecker, Eurasian Nightjar, Lammergeier, Cinereous
Vulture, Eurasian Griffon, Booted Eagle, Blue Rock Thrush, Spotted Flycatcher, Black Redstart, Orphean Warbler, Sulphur-bellied and Greenish (ssp. nitidus) warblers, White-cheeked Tit, Common Rosefinch, Fire-fronted Serin and Hawfinch, and, in winter, Dark-throated Thrush, Brambling and Chaffinch.
PROVINCE OF PUNJAB
Lal Sohatira►i Desert Park
Location: 26 km east of Bahawalpur city.
Habitat: A series of tamarisk-fringed lakes where surplus summer canal water is stored, bordered to the south by the Cholistan Desert, with much lopped Prosopis, acacia trees, tamarisk and Calligonum bushes.
Birds: In the wetlands, there are many species of duck, including Smew in winter, grebes (including Horned), Darter, all three species of cormorant, and Black Stork and
Demoiselle Crane on passage, and in winter there are many raptors. Breeding birds include Black-crowned Night Heron and Pallas’s Fish Eagle. In the desert, there are Sykes’s Nightjar, Spotted, Chestnut-bellied and Black-bellied sandgrouse, Macqueen’s Bustard and Greater Hoopoe Lark, and in the adjacent forest plantation is a winter roost of Long-eared Owl.
Kal Chitta Hills—Punjab Salt Range
Location: 75 km west of Islamabad.
Habitat: Low rocky hills with a good ground cover of stunted Wild Olive, acacia, and bushes of Adhatoda (`Baikar’) and Dodonaea (‘Sanatha’).
Birds: In winter, there are Alpine Swift, Common Kestrel, Blue Whistling Thrush,
Rufous-backed and Black redstarts, Lesser Whitethroat (ssp. minula), Orange-flanked
Bush Robin, Variable Wheatear, Great Tit, Hawfinch and Rock Bunting. Resident are
Grey Francolin and See-see Partridge, Sind Woodpecker, Common Wood Pigeon, Short-
toed Snake and Bonelli’s eagles, Small Minivet, Brown Rock-chat and Pale Martin.
Uchchali and Khabbaki Complex (Salt Range Lakes)
Location: From Sargodha town on the plains, approximately 99 km to Khabbaki Lake and 130 km further west to Uchchali Lake.
Habitat: Brackish lakes, surrounded by scrub-covered hills.
Birds: The best place to see wintering White-headed Duck. Also here are wintering diving duck, Great Crested, Black-necked and Little grebes, and, on Uchchali, Greater Flamingos. In the surrounding area are Buff-bellied and Long-billed pipits, and Grey-necked Bunting.
Location: Irrigation barrage on the Ravi river, 69 km southwest of Lahore.
Habitat: Seepage swamps alongside flood-protection embankments.
Birds: Great Bittern, Spotted and Baillon’s crakes, White-tailed Stonechat and Striated
Grassbird. In spring, four subspecies of Yellow Wagtail occur in full breeding plumage. Savanna Nightjar and Watercock are present in summer.
Changa Manga Forest Plantation
Location: 86 km southwest of Lahore.
Habitat: Reputedly the oldest irrigated forest plantation on the subcontinent, planted in the late 19th century to provide timber for railway sleepers. Planted today with Dalbergia (‘Shisham’) and white mulberry for manufacturing sports goods.
Birds: Indian Grey Hornbill, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon, White-browed Fantail,
Oriental Magpie Robin, Ashy Prinia, Asian Pied Starling and, in summer, Pied and
Common Hawk cuckoos and Eurasian Golden Oriole. In winter, Bluethroat, Red –
throated Flycatcher and Black Redstart are seen. In spring, there is a major passage of
Rosy Starling and Common Rosefinch.
Location: East of the city outskirts and adjacent to the old Murree road, about 0.8 km from the city centre.
Habitat: Western edges of the lake are reed-fringed with Typha and Phragmites and surrounded by scattered trees, mostly acacia (‘Babul’ or ‘Kikar’), mango and Bauhinia. The exotic paper mulberry (Broussetia) is rampant everywhere.
Birds: The lake attracts many spring and autumn migrants, including Smew, Common Merganser, storks and waders. In spring, Great Crested Grebes have been seen giving full courtship display, and this is a good place to see ‘White-headed’ Yellow Wagtail M . flava leucocephala. Crested Kingfisher occurs on some of the west-bank feeder streams.
Location: A national park, lying on a north—south axis along the western boundary of the city, accessible on foot from the northwestern urban area.
Habitat: Rising from about 500 m at the base to 1600 m on the highest summit ridges, these hills are arguably the most diverse area in Pakistan. They have a good mixture of Indo-Malayan plants, mostly rather stunted, but with thick undergrowth of Carissa (Garunda’), Adhatoda (`Baikar’) and Zizyphus (‘Ber’). Taller trees include indigenous Silk Cotton, Ficus spp., Indian Laburnum, and various acacias.
Birds: In winter, there is a chance to see many Himalayan altitudinal migrants, including Rusty-cheeked Scimitar Babbler, Black-chinned Babbler and Red-billed Leiothrix, as well as Grey Treepie and White-throated Fantail. The Asian Study Group, a society strongly supported by ex-patriot diplomats, listed 356 species in the 1990s from this area, and two more have since been recorded around Rawal Lake.
Outer Murree Foothills
Location: Lying to the north of Islamabad, varying from 20 km to 32 km in such directions as Tret Valley, Kahuta and Lehtrar.
Habitat: Lying mainly between 900 m and 1500 m. Predominantly subtropical long-
Ieaved pine (‘Chir’), with a good mix of deciduous trees in sheltered ravines, including pistachio, Silver Oak (‘Ban’) and an understorey of barberry, wild pomegranate and zizyphus.
Birds: A good place to see Brown-fronted and Grey-capped Pygmy woodpeckers, Rosy Minivet, Chestnut-bellied Nuthatch, Thick-billed Flowerpecker and nesting Plumhead Parakeet.
Murree Hills and Galls
Location: Nathia Gali, 42 km north of Murree town, and at 2400 m elevation, has many tourist hotels and is the best place to survey the area.
Habitat: On warmer south-facing slopes, Blue Pine and Deodar forest, and on northern slopes, Silver Fir, and a mix of deciduous trees such as Himalayan Horse Chestnut, elm and Bird Cherry. The understorey includes Viburnum, Bush Honeysuckle and attractive climbers such as the White Rose and Mountain Clematis.
Birds: Koklass Pheasant, Common and Indian cuckoos, Mountain Scops Owl and
Collared Owlet, Grey Nightjar, Yellow-billed Blue Magpie, Eurasian Jay, Chestnut-
bellied and Blue-capped rock thrushes, Grey-winged Blackbird, Chestnut Thrush,
Rufous-bellied Niltava, Verditer Flycatcher, Ultramarine and Dark-sided flycatchers,
Indian Blue Robin, Orange-flanked Bush Robin, and Lemon-rumped, Hume’s and
Western Crowned warblers.
Running due north from the town of Balakot, this is actually the Kunhar river. It is a scenic and popular tourist area. Four localities along the valley offer interesting birdlife.
Location: At about 900 m elevation, where the valley starts to close in.
Habitat: The surrounding hills are mostly terraced for cultivation, with some scattered long-needle pine (Chir’) and Silver Oak (‘Ban’) in side ravines. The terraced embank- ments are clothed with Indigofera and Reinwardtia (‘Basant’). Birds: Eurasian Jackdaw nests in colonies in earth cliffs or old trees, Crested and White- capped buntings on the open slopes, and Asian Paradise-flycatcher in the shaded ravines.
Shogran and Shahran Location: Shogran lies on the east bank of the river, 54 km from Balakot, and Shahran on the west bank, 62 km from Balakot. Both are accessible via a 4WD track from Paras. Habitat: Located at approximately 2700 m in open valleys with Silver Fir and Deodar forest, and some deciduous trees such as Hill Oak (Moru’), Bird Cherry, Horse Chestnut
and walnut. Good trails lead to alpine meadows above 3200 m.
Birds: Koklass Pheasant, Himalayan Monal, Eurasian Woodcock, Common Kestrel, Scaly Thrush, White-bellied Redstart, Grey-sided Bush Warbler, Goldcrest, White- throated Tit, Rosy Pipit and Orange Bullfinch. There is an excellent variety of breeding phylloscopus warblers, including Large-billed, Tytler’s, Western Crowned, Lemon-rumped, Tickell’s, Brooks’s Leaf and Hume’s.
Location: This is a popular resort with limited hotel accommodation, 98 km north of Balakot, with a side valley leading to an alpine lake, Saif-ul-Maluk.
Habitat: Varying, from the main river with lopped mulberry, stands of Silver Fir, Deodar and Blue Pine, with thickets of barberry and dwarf elder, and ascending to birch scrub with dwarf juniper and stony screen.
Birds: Stream-side birds include White-capped Water Redstart, Brown Dipper and
Citrine Wagtail. At higher elevations, Himalayan Snowcock, Snow Pigeon, Lammer-geier, Eurasian Blackbird, Blue-fronted Redstart and White-tailed Rubythroat occur.
Location: Approximately 122 km north of Balakot.
Habitat: At the upper limit of the tree-line, with slopes covered by dwarf elder, creeping juniper, and open meadows.
Birds: Himalayan Snowcock, Snow Pigeon, Lammergeier, Himalayan Griffon, Golden
Eagle, Common Kestrel, Eurasian Blackbird, White-throated Dipper, Yellow-billed chough, Wallcreeper, Pale Martin, Oriental Skylark, Rosy Pipit, Rufous-breasted Accentor, Plain Mountain Finch, Spectacled Finch and Eurasian Goldfinch.
Bounded to the north by Gilgit and to the east by the Indus river, Swat lies north of
Nowshera District in North West Frontier Province. The capital, Saidu Sharif, lies in a
broad valley at about 1500 m, with rice cultivation in summer, and roads planted with Persian Lilac and Oriental Plane trees.
Location: This hill resort lies at an elevation of 2400 m, and approximately 80 km north Saidu Sharif. There are several good tourist hotels.
Habitat: Pure stands of Deodar forest with Holly Oak on the fringes and along river
banks. Silver Fir on the higher slopes.
Birch: Oriental Turtle Dove, Tawny and Eurasian stops owls, Black-billed Magpie,
1/(110w-billed Blue Magpie, Blue-capped and Blue rock thrushes, Chestnut, Tickell’s,
M istle and Blue Whistling thrushes, Rusty-tailed Flycatcher, White-capped and
PI umbeous water redstarts, and Brooks’s Leaf, Hume’s, Western Crowned and Lemon -rum ped warblers.
GILGIT BSLTISTAN PROVINCE
Accessible via the spectacular Karakoram Highway, or by daily flights (weather
permitting) from Islamabad.
Location: Gilgit river valley at 1200 m, where it can be hot in summer. Winter temperatures go down to minus 12°C, but its dry atmosphere makes it pleasant by day.
Habitat: Bordering the Gilgit river, with scattered apricot orchards, and cereal cultivation in summer.
Birds: In winter, feeding in stubble fields are Rock Sparrow and Pine and Rock buntings, and by the river are Solitary Snipe, Northern Lapwing, Common Sandpiper and Rufous-backed Redstart. In the town, in winter, are Black-billed Magpie, Winter Wren and Wallcreeper. In summer, European Bee-eater, Alpine Swift and Eurasian Golden Oriole are seen.
Location: At 3300 m elevation, this forested valley is located approximately 58 km from Gilgit town, on the west bank of the Hunza river.
Habitat: Mixed forest of Silver Fir and Blue Pine, and with terraced cultivation, and
scree slopes with Wild Rose, Wild Gooseberry and creeping juniper.
Birds: Eurasian Eagle Owl, Tawny Owl, mixed flocks of Red-billed and Yellow-billed choughs, Spotted Nutcracker, Brown Dipper, Mistle Thrush, Blue-capped Redstart, Little Forktail, Long-billed Bush Warbler, White-browed Tit Warbler, Rufous-breasted Accentor and White-browed Rosefinch. A variety of breeding Phylloscopus warblers, including Sulphur-bellied, Western Crowned, Hume’s, Lemon-rumped, Brooks’s Leaf and Tickell’s, and Mountain Chiffchaff.
Hunza Valley, up to the Khunjerab National Park
The Karakoram Highway leads over the Khunjerab Pass at 4780 m into Chinese Xinjiang.
There are tourist hotels at intervals along this highway, the last one at Sost, the border and customs post.
Location: Sost is 257 km from Gilgit town; the top of the Khunjerab Pass is 83 km
Habitat: Alpine tundra, with many species of Primula and Potentilla. Lower down the
valley, tamarisk and willow grow along the river banks, and there are apricot orchards and poplars in the villages.
Birds: Golden Eagle, Himalayan Griffon, Common Kestrel and, on passage, Lesser
Kestrel. Snow Partridge, Himalayan Snowcock, Chukar, Common Swift, Blue Rock Thrush, Black Redstart, White-winged Redstart, Pied Wheatear, Eurasian Crag Martin, Horned Lark, Hume’s Short-toed Lark, Alpine Accentor, Brandt’s Mountain Finch, Twite, Mongolian Finch, and Red-fronted and Great rosefinches. Northern Wheatear occurs on passage.
Location: Approached from (Chitral via Mastuj village, or from Gilgit up the Yasin river valley, on good 4WD roads. It is about 203 km from Gilgit town.
Habitat: A wide grassy valley with a small lake and scree-covered slopes, at an elevation of 3660 m.
Birds: Himalayan Snowcock, Lammergeier, Himalayan Griffon, Golden Eagle, Red-billed and Yellow-billed choughs, Black Redstart, White-winged Redstart, Pied wheatear, Horned Lark, Oriental Skylark, Rufous-breasted Accentor, Citrine Wagtail, Twite and Great Rosefinch.