Afghanistan  – Armenia  – Azerbaijan  – Bahrain  – Cyprus  – Egypt  – Georgia  – Iran  – Iraq  – Israel  – Jordan  – Kazakhstan  – Kuwait  – Kyrgyzstan  – Lebanon  – Oman  – Qatar  – Saudi Arabia  – South West Russia  – Syria  – Tajikistan  – Türkiye  – Turkmenistan  – United Arab Emirates  – Uzbekistan  – Yemen 

Basra Reed Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis. © Mudhafar Salim

Capital: Baghdad

Area: 438,317 km2

BirdLife International partner: Nature Iraq

Total number of bird species: 408

Globally threatened bird species: 19

Country endemics: 0

Important bird and biodiversity areas: 74 IBAs with a total area of 30,400 km2

Rare birds committee: There is currently no rare birds committee in Iraq.


Marbled Duck, Black Francolin, Pallid Scops Owl, Masked Shrike, Hypocolius, Sombre Tit, White-eared Bulbul, Basra Reed Warbler, Upcher’s Warbler, Iraq Babbler, Eastern Rock Nuthatch, White-throated Robin

Ornithological interest:

Iraq sits between the three continents of Africa, Europe and Asia, and this makes the country especially important for the many migratory species that pass through. In addition, there is a wide variety of habitat types (including ten ecoregions), and this results in a rich avifauna. At least 408 species have been recorded, and Iraq has populations of at least 19 globally-threatened birds.  Iraq is an excellent country to see a number of regional specialists, and there is always the potential for birders to make new discoveries. The Iraqi Marshlands in the south are one of the most important wetland areas along the migratory flyway and are virtually the only area in the world where Basra Reed Warblers breed. The northern deciduous oak forests in the Kurdistan region hold breeding Eastern Rock Nuthatch, Upcher’s Warbler, Masked Shrike and White-throated Robin.

Best times to visit:

The migration periods between late February and early May, and mid-September through until November, can be especially rewarding. Mid-November until the end of January is a good time for wildfowl and waders. The weather is exceptionally hot during the summer months.

Essential reading

Porter R & Aspinall S (2010) Birds of the Middle East, Christopher Helm.

.دليل الطيور في الشرق الأوسط (Nature Guides Ltd). تطبيق على نظام أندرويد وآبل

بورتر، ر.، أسبينال، س.، 2016. طيور الشرق الأوسط. ترجمة عبد الرحمن السرحان وتدقيق لغوي وعلمي: نابغ غزال أسود. اصدار البيردلايف انترناشيونال وجمعية علم الطيور بالشرق الأوسط والقوقاز. عمان، الأردن

The above two references in Arabic are the Arabic smartphone app version of Birds of the Middle East (Porter & Aspinall) and the Arabic book version of Birds of the Middle East (Porter & Aspinall).

Salim M A, Porter R, Schiermacker-Hansen P, Christensen S & Al-Jbour S (2006) Field Guide to the Birds of Iraq (in Arabic), Nature Iraq/BirdLife International, Baghdad.

Salim M A, Al-Sheikhly of Majeed K A, Porter R (2012) ‘An annotated checklist of the birds of Iraq’, Sandgrouse 34: 4-43.

Nature Iraq (2017) Key Biodiversity Areas of Iraq, Tablet House Publishing.


Korsh Ararat, Laith Ali Al-Obeidi, Mudhafar A Salim & Salwan A Abed