• Duration

    9 day trip

  • Start

    Tehran, Iran

  • Finish

    Tehran, Iran

  • Ages

    Min 15

  • Included meals

    Full board

  • Transport

    AC vehicles

  • Physical rating

    ■■□□□

  • Trip notes

    Printable trip note (Coming soon)

Iran Birding Tour

From Hyrcanian Forests To The Central Deserts Of Iran

Price per pax

Contact Us

Enquire about this tour

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

Birdwatching tour in Iran plans to let you explore the birds in their Iran's natural habitats. Iran is a vast country, full of natural beauty, and rich in history. Birdwatching Breaks is therefore pleased to offer you a comprehensive birding tour of this fascinating country for birds and culture. We should encounter the country's two endemics, Pleske's Ground-Jay and Caspian Tit, while other regional specialities we are likely to see include Coot, purple swamphen, smew, flamingo, white-headed duck, red-breasted goose, and whooper swan.

TRAVEL ITINERARY

DAY 1: TEHRAN

After arriving in Tehran from Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKA) our tour guide will meet and greet you then you
will be transferred to hotel for rest. Tonight’s dinner in a local restaurant offers a chance to experience daily Iranian life in
Tehran.


Overnight: Tehran

DAY 2: TEHRAN - CHALUS 3 h 53 min (200 km)

Today we will drive up the dry and barren south-facing slopes of the Alborz almost to the snow-line and then down through the luxuriant forests on the northern slopes to the densely populated, rice-growing areas along the shores of the Caspian (which has a surface 26m below sea-level!).

En route we should encounter some of the commoner birds of northern Iran, such as Common Kestrel, Common Swift, European Bee-eater, European Roller, Eurasian Hoopoe, White Wagtail, Cetti’s Warbler, Eurasian Magpie, Rook and Carrion Crow.

As we descend into the lowlands, we will begin our exploration of the Caspian forest. Eventually we will arrive at Chalus, a popular resort town on the shores of the Caspian, where we will spend three nights.


Overnight: Chalus

DAY 3: CHALUS

Days 9-10 During our first full day at the Caspian we will visit Chlus Area, a large reserve on the north slope of the Alborz encompassing patches of forest and scrubby secondary growth, as well as areas of farmland with small fields and hedgerows, somewhat reminiscent of the English countryside.

Birds of this area we may find in this area such species as Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Common Buzzard, Common Pheasant (here in its native home), Common Cuckoo, European Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Wood Lark, European Robin, Common Stonechat, Common Redstart, Common Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Spotted Flycatcher, Longtailed, Coal and Blue Tits, Eurasian Nuthatch, Eurasian Jay, Common Chaffinch, European Goldfinch and Common Linnet.

Other common European birds that we may find in this area include European Honey Buzzard, Eurasian Hobby, Common Quail, European Scops Owl, Red-backed Shrike, Common Rosefinch, Black-headed and Corn Buntings.

The star attraction here is the uncommon Caspian (or Hyrcanian) Tit, a recent split from Sombre Tit that is restricted to the Caspian forest zone stretching from eastern Azerbaijan to northeast Iran. It is by no means common, and we may have to spend some time searching through the mixed feeding flocks in the forest.

Overnight: Chalus

DAY 4: CHALUS - GORGAN 4 h 30 min (308 km)

Today we will drive east through the Caspian lowlands to Gorgan for an overnight stay. On the way, we will make a short detour to visit Miankaleh Wildlife Refuge at the southeast corner of the Caspian Sea. Here we will visit a reed fringed lake where Black Headed Penduline Tits can sometimes be found, along with Western Marsh Harrier, Common Kingfisher, and Moustached, European Reed and Great Reed Warblers.

We will also explore a part of the Miankaleh Peninsula, a 60km long peninsula of sand dunes and pomegranate scrub separating the Caspian Sea from Gorgan Bay. This reserve is famous for the huge concentrations of waterbirds that occur during the winter months, and there should still be many of these around, including Black-necked Grebe, Great Cormorant, Squacco Heron, Grey Heron, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall, Eurasian Teal, Mallard, Northern Shoveler, Eurasian Coot, Black-winged Stilt and Pied Avocet. Migrant waders should be present in good numbers, along with Whiskered and White-winged Terns. If we are lucky, we will find a lingering White-tailed Eagle or Pallas’s (or Great Black-headed) Gull.

DAY 5: GORGAN - TURKMEN SAHRA

In the morning, we will drive north onto the Turkoman Steppes – the vast rolling plains to the east of the Caspian Sea – and visit a group of small lakes where Black-headed Penduline Tits are known to have bred.

Other possibilities in this area include Little and Great Crested Grebes, Little Bittern, Lesser Kestrel, Common Moorhen, Calandra and Lesser Short-toed Larks, Isabelline Wheatear, Rosy Starling (sometimes in large swirling flocks), Eurasian Tree Sparrow and Red-headed Bunting (here at the western extremity of its range). Later we will drive south over the eastern Alborz Mountains and into Iran’s arid interior for an overnight stay at Shahrud.

We will break our journey near the top of the divide to investigate an area of montane steppe, where we may find Long-legged Buzzard, Bimaculated and Greater Short-toed Larks, Tawny Pipit, Pied and Finsch’s Wheatear, and Ortolan Bunting. As we continue onto the northern rim of the Central Plateau, the landscape becomes increasingly arid.


Overnight: Local House

DAY 6: TOURAN WILDLIFE REFUGE

Iran’s largest reserve, Touran Wildlife Refuge and Biosphere Reserve, lies at the northeastern edge of the great Dasht-e-Kavir desert, about 150km southeast of Shahrud.

Established in 1973 and covering 18,000 square kilometres, this vast reserve protects a wide range of semi-desert and desert habitats from Artemisia steppe in the arid foothills of the Alborz in the north through bushy Zygophyllum steppe, sparsely vegetated sand dunes and bare stony plains to the immense salt wastes of the Dasht-e-Kavir proper in the south.

We will have the best part of two full days to explore this wonderful area, spending one night in the simple reserve headquarters at Delbar near the northwestern edge of the reserve and one night back at Shahrud.

Our primary target will be the highly localized Pleske’s Ground Jay, not only a member of a uniquely Central Asian group of aberrant corvids, but also a species endemic to the eastern deserts of Iran. The predominant vegetation in its favoured habitat is Zygophyllum, a desert shrub which can grow to two metres in height, and we will wait for a ground jay to pop up on top of a bush to give its ringing call, or try to keep up with this swift runner as it dashes between the bushes.


Overnight: Local House

DAY 7: TOURAN WILDLIFE REFUGE

Today we will be looking out for a number of other birds characteristic of much of Iran’s central plateau including Egyptian Vulture, Cream-coloured Courser, Black-bellied Sandgrouse, Bar-tailed Lark, Desert and Variable Wheatears, Asian Desert Warbler, the enigmatic Pale Rockfinch (or Pale Rock Sparrow), and Desert and Trumpeter Finches.

With a little luck we will also find the stately Macqueen’s Bustard (split from Houbara), which is still a fairly common breeding species in this area. Vast numbers of migrants pass over the deserts of Iran in both spring and autumn, and while the great majority doubtless make the desert crossing in a single hop, the luxuriant vegetation around the many small springs always seems to attract stragglers, such as Eurasian Golden Oriole, Red-throated and Tree Pipits, Citrine and Yellow Wagtails (of an interesting variety of forms), Green and Willow Warblers, and Red-breasted Flycatcher, whatever the weather. Larger migrants such as Pallid Harrier and Steppe Eagle also make a pause in the reserve. Touran is one of the last strongholds of the Asiatic Wild Ass, or Onager, in Iran and, although numbers have been much depleted in recent years, we have a good chance of seeing this endangered species.


Overnight: Local House

DAY 8: DASHT-E-KAVIR TO TEHRAN

Today we will drive westwards along the northern edge of the Dasht-e-Kavir to Tehran for an overnight stay, stopping at likely looking spots along the way to check for migrants.


Overnight: Tehran

DAY 9: TEHRAN - DEPARTURE

Our tour guide will transfer you to Imam Khomeini International Airport according to your' flight time.


WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • All nights accommodation in standard grade hotels and local houses.
  • Land travel by A.C vehicles.
  • Services of an Iranian tour lecturer throughout the tour.

WHAT’S EXCLUDED

  • International air fares, taxes and surcharges
  • Travel insurance
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry or phone calls
  • Visa process fee
  • Visa costs
  • Tips to local guides and drivers

SPEAK TO OUR EXPERTS

Sarah AzadmehrSARAH AZADMEHR
s.azadmehr@surfiran.com
+98 910 928 3853

ELHAM BABAEE
elham@surfiran.com
+98 921 218 6082

TAILOR-MADE TOUR

This tour is also available for booking privately for travel anytime through the year, and we can also customise the itinerary to fit your personal requirements. Please contact us for details and prices.

IMPORTANT NOTES

  1. An arrival transfer is not included on this trip. You re welcome to send request for transfer services
  2. This trip starts on day 1

Booking & Payment

If you would like to book a place on Lut desert tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website. We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by making a bank transfer. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.

Passports and Visas

Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller. For more information about how to get an Iranian visa please visit this page.

ENQUIRE ABOUT THIS TOUR

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

CALL US

Prefer speaking to us over the phone? Our specialists would love to help you out!

+98 (21) 8884 3831

Or simply drop us an email at contact@surfiran.com

Opening Hours:
8:30am – 5.00pm Sunday to Thursday

  • WhatsApp 24/7

    +98 921 218 6082

Reviews

Just came back from Iran and I can say that I'm really enthusiast from people and visited places. A very big thank to SURFIRAN because of their help, organization and professional way to manage everything that we need. I do suggest to visit Iran and contact SURFIRAN. they can really help you and make your life easier!

Jacopo and Roberto
Jacopo and RobertoVisited February 2017Read more

Everything was arranged very efficiently. Nothing went wrong. Our guide, Mostafa Farhadi, was remarkable. Not only was he a brilliant driver, but his knowledge of the culture, history and contemporary life of Iran was amazing. He also had superb contacts in all the places we visited.

Stephen
StephenVisited November 2016Read more

We organized a 3 weeks tour in Iran through SURFIRAN. SURFIRAN is a very Professional travel agency who understands their customers needs and expectations. Our stay in Iran was just fabulous, the program built by SURFIRAN was great, we have seen many and many very interesting sites and locations.

Christiane Robichon
Christiane RobichonVisited May 2016TripAdvisor

Most we enjoyed the landscape and wildlife we saw, it was just amazing and not comparable with nature we found in Germany and Europe, one of my greatest experiences! Second we enjoyed the kindness of you guys (Mehdi, Negin and her family, and the two houses we stayed) it was like meeting family and friends :)

Christian, Robin and Tim
Christian, Robin and TimVisited October 2016TripAdvisor

We visited Iran on October 2016 with SURFIRAN travel and tours company. Organization of round trip, hotel accommodation and flights were perfect. Our guide Mostafa was absolutely excellent, helpful, friendly and his information about Iran were very informative. Thanks a lot ! Will come back soon.

Johannes
Johannes Visited October 2016TripAdvisor

OTHER TOURS YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN

TRAVEL TO IRAN – TIPS AND INSPIRATION