Northern Azerbaijan  >  Azerbaijan

Unique area near the Russian border in far north-eastern Azerbaijan where the humid subtropical climate allows forest to grow right up to the Caspian Sea.

Added* by Aytan Isayeva
Most recent update 22 April 2022
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This area encompasses the Caspian Sea coastline north of Baku and the eastern part of the Greater Caucasus Mountains and boasts a great variety of avifauna. The slopes and high-mountain areas around the stunningly set villages of Khinalig and Laza in the Greater Caucasus Mountains are great places to see regionally special and endemic species. The ”Caucasus Big Five”, an exclusive set of species high on the wish list for visiting birdwatchers, can all be seen here: Caucasian Grouse, Caucasian Snowcock, Great Rosefinch, White-winged Redstart and Mountain Chiffchaff (Caucasian). Khinalig and Laza are described in separate entry on Birdingplaces. Meanwhile, further south, along the Caspian coastline, the birding site at Besh Barmag is traversed by a wealth of migratory species each spring and autumn. Among the other birds you can encounter are Black Stork, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Golden Oriole, Middle Spotted Woodpecker, Red-breasted Flycatcher, White-tailed Eagle, Osprey, Long-eared Owl, Black Woodpecker and Eurasian Treecreeper.



The forest is mostly protected by the Samur Yalama National Park and in summer this strip of coastline is a hotspot for family vacationers. But before the crowds arrive, there are plenty of birds here in spring to delight ornithologists, although it’s worth bearing in mind that most of them can also be seen in Eastern Europe and the Balkans. When to visit: April-June.

Terrain and Habitat

Forest , Wetland , Grassland , Scattered trees and bushes , Lake , City/village , Agriculture


Open landscape , High water possible

Circular trail


Is a telescope useful?

Can be useful

Good birding season

Spring , Summer

Best time to visit

Summer , Spring


Paved road

Difficulty walking trail

Average walk

Accessible by

Foot , Car

Birdwatching hide / platform


Extra info

Sleeping: The mountain villages of Khinalig and Laza have numerous homestays and guest houses. More luxurious options can be found in Guba and at the Shahdag Mountain Resort. Near the Besh Barmag site Zarat Hotel is a comfortable option, while further north is the upmarket Qalaalti Hotel & Spa. The Nabran coastline hosts a wide variety of seaside hotels and guest houses.

Eating: Meals can be arranged at homestays and guest houses in Khinalig and Laza. There are good restaurants serving local cuisine throughout the Guba and Gusar regions, as well as in Nabran. In Gusar you can try dishes of the Lezgi people (tskan, afar and shakuka for example). European-style cuisine is offered in some city restaurants and larger hotels.


View other birding spots in the area that are published on Birdingplaces


Top 5 birds

Other birds you can see here

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