Recent ornithological observations in Iran

October 1997 and March 2000

We report ornithological observations we made during two travels in Iran in October 1997 and March 2000. Most observations concern the Touran Protected Area and the Barham-e-Goor Reserve, in the north-eastern part and in the central part of the country respectively. We observed 33 species and added five new species for the Touran Protected Area to the previous list of Harrington and his colleagues (Harrington 1977): Streptopelia senegalensis, Streptopelia decaocto, Phoenicurus ochrorus phoenicorides, Sitta neumayer and Lanius excubitor pallidirostris. Teals (Anas crecca) were said abundant during spring migration in 1999 on a river in the eastern border of the Touran protected area. Other observations were made in Tehran and during journeys between protected areas. During our visits, we checked a total of 61 species, four of them being of a national and international concern: Aegypius monachus, Circus macrourus, Aquila clanga, Chlamydotis undulata (BirdLife International 2000).


We had the opportunity to visit Iran from 18 October to 11 November 1997 and from 29 February to 12 March 2000 to conduct surveys on the Onager, Equus hemionus onager. Since Iranian ornithological literature is scarce, we thought to report briefly here some ornithological observations made during our successive journeys, even this was not the aim of our studies. Most observations were made in the Touran Protected Area (Semnan Province) and the Bahram-e-Goor Reserve (Fars Province). However, in 1997, some observations were made on the road between Shiraz and Bahram-e-Goor Reserve (Yazd Province) and between Shiraz and Esfahan. In 2000, we could observe some birds between Tehran and Esfahan in the Zagros mountains. Both years, we did observations on the road on the Alborz mountains southern slopes between Tehran and the Touran Protected Area.

The Touran Protected Area
Located in the province of Semnan and adjacent to the Khorasan province, the Touran area (36°30′-34°45′ N, 55°00′-57°00′ E) was classified as a Protected Area in 1975. One of the underlying objectives of the creation of this Protected Area was the protection of the Onager population and its habitat (Harrington 1977).

Three high mountains arise in the region, the Shotor Kuh (2,281m), the Kuh-e-Molhadu (2,411m) and the Kuh-e-Peighambar (2,265m), and several isolated hills are dispersed in the whole area. The plain is located at an altitude of about 1,000m. The annual rainfall ranges from 100 mm in the low altitudes, to 250 mm in the higher mountains (Freitag 1994). Temperatures vary from about 0-5°C in January to 35°C in July and August. The Kal-e-Shur river runs from north to south through the area but during rainy years, other rivers may present as indicate the presence of dry river beds. The permanent Rajjaj River runs in the eastern border of the Protected Area in the sandy area near the Ahmadabad village.

The Touran area is characterised by a semi-desert vegetation with an average of plant cover comprised between 5 and 40% in spring (Freitag 1994). Three types of vegetation can be distinguished in the plain: semi-desert shrublands of Zygophyllum sp. on sandy to gravely alluvium and Haloxylon sp. on salty and slightly saline basin deposits, and dwarf-shrubland communities of Salsola sp. or Amygdalus sp. (Freitag 1994 and Zehzad pers. obs.). The vegetation of the limestone hills and mountains consists in Artemisia-Atraphaxis community in the lower altitudes and Astragalus sp. or Onobrychis sp. communities above 1,800m or on north-facing exposed slopes above 1,400m (Freitag 1994). Compositae and Chenopodiaceae are the two most important families of the Touran Protected Area with respectively 56 and 46 genus (Rechinger 1977). The Touran Protected Area is bordered in its southern part by the Dasht-e-Kavir Desert with shrubby salt marsh communities (Haloxylon sp., Salsola sp.) and in its eastern part by the mobile sand dunes area of Ahmadabad with Stipagrostris sp.-Calliligonum communities. During our field trip, one day was spent in the hills of Mehrânu, two days in the Sangâb hills and one day consisted in a trip Delbar-Ahmadabad-Kavir plain-Mohajerat-Delbar.

The Bahram-e-Goor Reserve
Protected Area since 1972, Bahram-e-Goor is located in the south-eastern part of Iran (29°43′-29°00′ N – 54°20′-55°20′ E) about 300 km south-east from Shiraz (Fars Province). This area comprises a total of 385,000 ha, of which 60,000 ha are included in a zone under complete protection from hunting, agricultural use and grazing. In the remaining 325,000 ha, hunting is forbidden but pastoralism is tolerated. The shrub vegetation of the desert steppe plain (alt. 1400 m) is dominated by Artemisia alba, Astragalus sp. and Zygophylum sp. (IUCN 1977). Pistachio, Pistacea sp., is present in the mountainous parts (alt. 2,800 m). We stood five days in the area in October 1997.


Generally, observations were made by telescopes (15×60) and binoculars (10X40). For doubtful observations, species determination was based on Hüe and Etchécopar (1970), Harrington (1977), Jonsson (1995) and Porter et al. (1996).

We observed 33 species in the Touran Protected Area (Table 1) in 1997 and 2000 and 14 in the Bahram-e-Goor Reserve in 1997 (Table 2). We found noticeable to add to our observations, the occurrence of “hundreds” of Teals, Anas crecca, observed by wardens in the Rajjaj River bed in the sandy area of Ahmadabad in Touran during the spring migration in 1999. “Pied” Wheatears relatively common in the Bahram-e-Goor Reserve were identified as Hume’s Wheatears Oenanthe alboniger. However, for some individuals we can not exclude a risk of confusion with the Eastern Pied Wheatear Oenanthe picata picata which may winter in the region (Richardson 1999). The evaluation of the proportion of picata relative to alboniger present in the area in winter requires further expeditions.

Compared to the previous list of Harrington and his colleagues (Harrington 1977), we found 80% less species in the protected area of Touran (Table 3). However, Harrington and his colleagues made ornithological surveys during 3 years (1974-1976) and covered all seasons. The Touran Protected Area is strictly protected and not free of access; authorized visitors are accompanied by wardens. Due to bad weather conditions and the busy schedule of the wardens, we stationed in the area only one day (12/11) in 1997 and we could stay 4 days (from 2/03 to 5/03) in 2000. Prolonged periods would have enhanced the number of observations. Moreover, since spring migration begins in late March, the period of observations was not an optimal one. Finally, the purpose of our expeditions was a survey of onagers and all our attention was concentrated on this endangered species. Nevertheless, we added 5 species to the previous list of Harrington (1977), these were: Streptopelia senegalensis, Streptopelia decaocto, Phoenicurus ochrorus phoenicorides, Sitta neumayer and Lanius excubitor pallidirostris. We could also observe the world near-threatened species (sensu BirdLife International 2000): Chlamydotis undulata. The Touran Protected Area might also be a zone of overlap between the Western Rock-Nuthatch, that we observed in the hills of Sangâb and the Eastern Rock Nuthatch, that we observed in the Ogholetchemali mountains in the southern part of the area. This assumption needs to be confirmed in the future.


Thirty-three species were checked outside the protected areas and are listed below:

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
One individual in the Zayandeh river bed in Esfahan on the 9/03/00.

Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
Five individuals in the fields of the Aradan village on the 6/03/00.

Great Egret (Egretta alba)
One individual in small wetlands on the road from Shiraz to Persepolis, on the 30/10/97.

White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
Two individuals in fields on the road from Shiraz to Persepolis, on the 30/10/97.

Black Vulture (Aegypius monachus)
Four individuals soaring on the Alborz mountains slopes between Tehran and Semnan on the 1/03/00 (40 km from Tehran) and one individual near the village of Deh-Mola the same day between Semnan and Shahrud. On the 9/03/00, one was observed over a desert steppe, 100 km south from Tehran, and one near the town of Vazvan, on the road to Esfahan.

Pallid Harrier (Circus macrourus)
An individual male Circus very pale that we identified as macrourus was observed on the 1/03/00, on a stone pile at the edge of cultivated fields, 80 km far east from Tehran on lowlands of Alborz mountains.

Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo)
One individual near the village of Deh-Mola on the 1/03/00 between Semnan and Shahrud. Two individuals on the 2/03/00, 60 km away from Shahrud on the road to Biarjomand.
On the 6/03/00, one individual in the village of Shahrud and one near Deh-Namack.

Long-legged Buzzard (Buteo rufinus)
Two individuals on the 2/03/00, near the village of Biarjomand, both on trees in a cultivated area. One in the vicinity of Semnan and one near the Garmsar village on the 6/03/00.

Rough-legged Buzzard (Buteo lagopus)
One individual on the Persepolis site on the 31/10/97.

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)
One on the 1/03/00 perched on a tree near a village about 200 km far east from Tehran and one on a steppe area on the 2/3/00 between Shahrud and Touran.

Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga)
On the 31/10/97, we observed an adult on the archaeological site of Persepolis.

Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
One individual in the suburbs of Shahrud on the 2/03/00 and two individuals the same day near the village of Biarjomand on trees in a cultivated area. One individual near the salt lake of Daryacheh-e-Namak on the 9/03/00.

Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)
About 100 individuals in the Zayandeh river bed in Esfahan town on the 9/03/00.

Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Two individuals in Tehran on the 7/03/00.

Red Turtle Dove (Streptopelia tranquebarica)
Two individuals in a public garden of Tehran on the 8/03/00.

Laughing Dove (Streptopelia senegalensis)
Two in Tehran on the 7/03/00.

Rock Dove (Columba livia)
Five individuals in a rocky area 30 km away from Shahrud on the road to Meyamey.

Common Swift (Apus apus)
One individual seen in Esfahan on the 9/03/00.

Crested Lark (Galerida cristata)
Widespread along the roads.

Tawny Pipit (Anthus campestris)
One individual in Persepolis, on the 30/10/97.

White Wagtail (Motacilla alba personata)
Common in gardens, abandoned lands and river banks of town and villages. Observed in a garden near the Carpet Museum in Tehran (29/2/00), one in the village of Khane-Khodi on the 2/3/00, one near the village of Garmsar on the 6/03/00, about 10 in the river bed of Esfahan on the 9/03/00.

Citrine Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)
One first winter within a group of White Wagtails in the Zayandeh river bed of Esfahan on the 9/03/00.

White-cheeked Bulbul (Pycnonotus leucogenys)
Three individuals on a pine tree in a private garden in Tehran on the 7/03/00.

Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti)
One individual on the northern border of the Touran Protected area on the 2/03/00.

Hume’s Wheatear (Oenanthe alboniger)
One individual identified on the Persepolis site on the 31/10/97.

Willow Warbler (Phyloscopus trochilus)
Two individuals in the Zayandeh river shore in Esfahan on the 9/03/00.

Great Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor)
One individual near the village of Deh-Mola on the 1/03/00 between Semnan and Shahrud.

Chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax)
Two individuals on a pass about 50 km eastern from Tehran, in the Alborz mountains slopes, on a mountain pass before the village of Garmsar on the 1/03/00 and about 10 individuals in the same place on the 6/03/00.

Rook (Corvus frugilegus)
One individual on the 1/03/00, 40 km eastern from Tehran, on the road side to Semnan. A group of 10-15 in a field in the eastern suburbs of Tehran on the 6/03/00. One important colony on poplar trees (about 50 nests) in the southern suburb of Tehran near the airport on the 9/03/00.

Hooded Crow (Corvus corone cornix)
Common in towns and villages visited. Daily observed in garden and buildings of Tehran, one individual in the village of Shahrud on the 6/03/00.

Raven (Corvus corax)
Relatively common on the Alborz mountains slopes region. One individual on the 1/03/00, 40 km eastern from Tehran, on the road side to Semnan. Two individuals on the 2/03/00, 60 km away from Shahrud on the road to Biarjomand. One individual near the village of Aradan on the 6/03/00. One near the village of Vazvan on the 9/03/00.

Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
About 20-30 individuals on a sheepfold building near the salt lake of Daryacheh-e-Namak on the 9/03/00.

Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis paropanisi)
A group of about 10 individuals in the village of Khane-Khodi on the 2/03/00.

House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
Very common in every towns and villages we visited in 1997 and 2000.

Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus)
Relatively widespread, but less than House, in Tehran and Semnan and villages (Shahrud, Biarjomand) where nests on trees are common.

Linnet (Carduelis cannabina)
Six individuals within a goldfinchs flock in the village of Khane-Khodi on the 2/03/00.

To the species listed above, we might add the Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber roseus), which is said by Esfahan citizens to be regular in winter-spring on the Zayandeh river in the vicinity of Esfahan. However, we could not have more details on the numbers involved.
The number of species observed outside protected area seems ridiculous compare to the potential of the country (see Hüe and Etchécopar 1970, Porter et al. 1996, D.A Scott pers. com.). Due to means of transport (line bus or official car) and a time schedule to respect, some observations outside the protected areas were made when driving with few possibilities to stop for further identifications. We reported here only species without problems of identification.

Table 1. Birds species observed in the Touran Protected Area during 1997 and 2000 surveys
M: male, F: female Ad.: adult, Juv.: juvenile; (number)+: number observed but seems more common in the area according to wardens; * in April 1999 according to wardens.

Common Name Species Habitat observed November 1997 March 2000
Teal Anas crecca Rajjaj River   >100*
Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos Mountain slopes   2 (probably a pair)
Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis Semi-desert and mountains   1 Ad. + 1 Juv.
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus River bed in desert steppe   1F
Chukar Alectoris chukar Semi-desert / mountains slopes   6+
See-see Partridge Ammoperdrix griseogularis Barren hill-sides   2+
Houbara Bustard Chlamydotis undulata Semi-deserts / desert steppes   7 (incl. 3 pairs)
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos Mountains spring   1
Black-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles orientalis Semi-deserts / desert steppes   13+
Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis Ahmadabad village Common  
Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto Ahmadabad village   2+
Little Owl Athene noctua River bed in desert steppe   1+
Eagle Owl Bubo bubo ascaphalus River bed in desert steppe   pellets
Crested Lark Galerida cristata Widespread (sand dunes, semi-deserts, mountains slopes, springs)   Common
Greater Hoopoe Lark Alaemon alaudipes Mountains spring 3 1+
Desert Lark Ammomanes deserti Desert steppe / springs   2+
Bar-tailed Desert Lark Ammomanes cincturus Sand dunes / mountains spring   5+
Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops Mountains spring   1
Rock Trush Monticola saxatilis Mountains   1F
Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus samamiscus Mountains spring   1M
Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochrorus phoenicorides Mountains spring   2M
Common Stonechat Saxicola torquata Mountains spring   3 (incl. 1M)
Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti Desert steppes / semi-deserts   3+
Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellinus Mountains springs   2+
Scrub Warbler Scotocerca inquieta Widespread (mountains, deserts, steppes, springs)   4+
Warbler Phylloscopus sp. Mountain wooded spring   1
Western Rock-Nuthatch Sitta neumayer Mountains   1
Eastern Rock-Nuthatch Sitta tephronota Mountain sping   2 (one pair)
Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor pallidirostris Semi-desert / desert steppe   1
Pleske Ground-Jay Podoces pleskei Semi-desert / desert steppe 1 Ad 1 Ad
Starling Strunus vulgaris Ahmadabad village   10+
Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis paropanisi Mountains slopes, wooded spring near habitations (Delbar)   15+
House Sparrow Passer domesticus Ahmadabad village   Common
Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus Mountain spring with reedbeds   1F

Table 2. Birds observed in Bahram-e-Goor (October 1997)

Common Name Species Habitat observed Number
Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus Steppes Common
Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos Semi-deserts and mountains 1 Ad.
Kestrel Falco tinnunculus Semi-deserts and mountains 2
Chukar Alectoris chukar Semi-deserts Common
See-see Partridge Ammoperdrix griseogularis Barren hill-sides Common
Little Owl Athene noctua Semi deserts 2
Eagle Owl Bubo bubo ascaphalus Steppes and mountains pellets
Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina Steppes < 5
Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica Semi deserts < 5
Finsch’s Wheatear Oenanthe finschii Semi-deserts < 5
Hume’s Wheatear Oenanthe alboniger Semi deserts / mountain slopes Common
Scrub Warbler Scotocerca inquieta Semi-deserts Common
Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor Open areas with trees 1
Red-fronted Serin Serinus pusillus Mountains groups from 20 to 30

Table 3. Bird species observed in the Touran Protected Area from 1974
S: summer resident, W: winter resident, P: occurs in passage
O: observed in October 1997, M: observed in March 2000, A: April 1999

Common Name Species Scott, Cornwallis and Harrington (1974-1976) This study 1997-2000
Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus P  
Great White Egret Egretta alba P  
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea P  
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea P  
Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea P  
Shelduck Tadorna tadorna P  
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos P  
Teal Anas crecca P A
Shoveler Anas clypeata P  
Black Kite Milvus migrans P  
Egyptian Vulture Nephron percnopterus S,P  
Black Vulture Aegypius monachus S,W  
Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus S,W  
Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus P  
Goshawk Accipiter gentilis P  
Sparrohawk Accipiter nisus W  
Shikra Accipiter badius P  
Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus W,P  
Buzzard Buteo buteo P  
Booted Eagle Hierratus pennatus P  
Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis P M
Tawny Eagle Aquila rapax P  
Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos S,W M
Lesser Krestrel Falco naumannii P  
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus S,W M
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug S,W  
Hobby Falco subbuteo P  
Chukar Alectoris chukar S,W M
See-see Partridge Ammoperdrix griseogularis S,W M
Houbara Bustard Chlamydotis undulata S,W,P M
Spotted Crake Porzana porzana P  
Common Crane Grus grus P  
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus P  
Stone Curlew Burhinus oedicnemus S  
Cream-coloured Courser Cursonius cursor S,P  
Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola P  
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius P  
Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus S,P  
White-tailed Plover Chettusia leucura P  
Little Stint Calidris minuta P  
Ruff Philomachus pugnax P  
Green Sandpiper Tringa nebularia P  
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola P  
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos P M
Snipe Galinago galinago P  
Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus P  
Slender-billed Gull Larus genei P  
Little Tern Sterna albifrons P  
Crowned Sandgrouse Pterocles coronatus S,W  
Black-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles orientalis S,W M
Rock Dove Columbia livia S,W  
Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur P  
Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis   O
Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto   M
Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus P  
Little Owl Athene noctua S,W M
Eagle Owl Bubo bubo ascaphalus S,W M
Common Swift Apus apus P  
Alpine Swift Apus melba P  
Blue-checked Bee-eater Merops persicus P  
European Bee-eater Merops apiaster P  
European Roller Coracias garrulus P  
Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops P M
Wryneck Jynx torquilla P  
Crested Lark Galerida cristata S,W M
Greater Hoopoe Lark Alaemon alaudipes S,W O,M
Desert Lark Ammomanes deserti S,W M
Bar-tailed Desert Lark Ammomanes cincturus S M
Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla S,P  
Lesser Short-toed Lark Calandrella rufescens S,W  
Bimaculated Lark Melanocorypha bimaculata S,W  
Shore Lark Eremophila alpestris W  
Skylark Alauda arvensis W  
Small Skylark Alauda gulgula P  
Sand Martin Riparia riparia P  
Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris P  
Pale Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne fuligula S,P  
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica P  
House Martin Delichon urbica P  
Richard’s Pipit Anthus richardii P  
Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris P  
Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis P  
Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis W,P  
Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus P  
Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta W,P  
Citrine Wagtail Motacilla cinerea P  
Grey wagtail Motacilla alba alba W,P  
Pied Wagtail Motacilla alba yarrelli S,W,P  
Wren Troglodytes troglodytes W  
Radde’s Accentor Prunella occularis W  
Rufous Bush Robin Cercotrichas galactores S  
Nightingale Luscinia meagrhynchos P  
Trush Nightingale Luscinia luscinia P  
Bluethroat Luscinia servica P  
White-throated Robin Irania guttularis S  
Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus (samamiscus) P M
Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochrorus phoenicorides   M
Common Stonechat Saxicola torquata   M
Whinchat Saxicola rubetra P  
Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti S,P M
Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellinus S,P M
Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe P  
Eastern Pied Wheatear Oenanthe picata S  
Red-tailed Wheatear Oenanthe xanthoprymna S  
Hume’s Wheater Oenanthe alboniger S,W  
Finsch’s Wheater Oenanthe finschii W,P  
Rock Trush Monticola saxatilis P M
Song Trush Turdus philomelos P  
Redwing Turdus iliacus P  
Scrub Warbler Scotocerca inquieta inquieta P M
Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia P  
Blyth’s Reed Warbler Acrocephalus dumetorum P  
European Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus P  
Upcher’s Warbler Hippolais languida S,P  
Booted Warbler Hypollais caligata P  
Orphean Warbler Sylvia hortensis S,P  
Garden warbler Sylvia borin P  
Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla P  
Whitethroat Sylvia communis P  
Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca S  
Desert Warbler Sylvia nana S  
Ménétries Warbler Sylvia mystacea P  
Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochillus P  
Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita P  
Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus P  
Green Warbler Phylloscopus nitidus S,W  
Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva P  
Eastern Rock-Nuthatch Sitta tephronota S,W M
Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus P  
Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor   M
Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio P  
Isabeline Shrike Lanius isabellinus P  
Masked Shrike Lanius nubicus P  
Lesser Grey Shrike Lanius minor P  
Great Grey Shrike Lanius exubitor S,W,P  
Pleske Ground-Jay Podoces pleskei S,W O,M
Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax S,W  
Hooded Crow Corvus corone cornix S,W  
Brown-necked Raven Corvus ruficolis S,W  
Raven Corvus corax S,W  
Starling Strunus vulgaris W,P M
Rose-coloured Starling Sturnus roseus P  
House Sparrow Passer domesticus S,W M
Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis P  
Tree Sparrow Passer montanus S,W  
Pale Rock Sparrow Petronia brachydactyla S  
Rock Sparrow Petronia petronia S,W  
Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs W,P  
Brambling Fringilla montifringilla W,P  
Red-fronted Serin Serinus pusillus W,P  
Siskin Carduelis spinus W,P  
Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis (paropanisi) W,P M
Twite Carduellis flavirostris W  
Linnet Carduelis cannabina W,P  
Trumpeter Finch Bucanetes githagineus S,W  
Mongolian Trumpeter Finch Bucanetes mongolicus S,W  
Desert Finch Rhodospiza obsoleta S,W  
Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus P  
Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustes W,P  
Corn Bunting Milaria calandra S,W  
Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella W  
Rock Bunting Emberiza cia S,W  
Grey-necked Bunting Emberiza buchanani S  
Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana P  
Black-headed Bunting Emberiza melanocephala P  
Red-headed Bunting Emberiza bruniceps P  
Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus W,P M
Total   163 33

We are grateful to Mr. Najmedin and Mr. Nasir-Sadeghi from the DOE Office in Tehran, and Mr. Mehrjoo, DOE’s director of the Semnan province, who provided us all the facilities to study in the Touran and Bahram-e-Goor Protected Areas. The observations were done with the help of the DOE’s wardens of Semnan : they are working hard to control the reserve and deserve to be encouraged. We thank Prof. B.H.Z Kiabi, University of Shahid Beheshti, Mr. Razi, Natural History Museum of Tehran, Dr. C. Feh, IUCN-Equids Specialist Group, E. Carp and Dr. D. A. Scott, for their constructive comments and interesting discussions. The expedition was possible with the technical and financial support of the Fondation Sansouïre-Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat. We are very grateful to its director, J.P. Taris.

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Christophe Tourenq, Bijan Darreh-Shoori, Laurent Tatin, David Tatin, Bahram Zehzad, and Bijan Azmayesh