Saturday, 2 August 2014

Tanjaro river, Sulaimani

The Tanjaro river runs through Sulaimani, Kurdistan. It flows with a mix of natural water from the mountains and waste water from the city. In July it is mostly this second type of water.

I visited there the first time in late afternoon on July 25th , it being very close to where I was staying. My expectations weren't high as I had been warned that birds were few.

However I was pleasantly surprised even though the visit was relatively short.

white stork

The most obvious fact was the very large number of magpie present. The congregation was over 20 before I gave up counting. As I was counting a single white stork flew overhead going downstream and out of view.


My attention was soon attracted to a lapwing among the magpie which flew off towards a ploughed field. I followed it and found it again with five others shaded under bushes on the edge of the field. This was a red wattled lapwing. This was the first lifer of the trip and a rare visitor to Saudi Arabia that I had failed to see in my three years there. 

red wattled lapwing

There were several waders in the stretch of water visited. Most were green sandpiper although at leasty two were common sandpiper.

common sandpiper

When I input the data on the e-bird database it says that green sandpiper is rare presumably meaning at this time of year. 

crested lark

Crested lark is one of the most ubiquitous birds in the whole Middle East and it was no saurpise to see it.

northern raven

In the distance, in the sky just as we were about to leave I spotted two northern raven which later proved to be a common bird in these parts.

So after two leisurely birding sessions either side of a fiercely hot day my Kurdish list had begun.

Birds seen by Tanjaro river on the evening of July 25th

White stork
Red wattled lapwing
Green sandpiper
Common sandpiper
Feral pigeon
Collared dove
Laughing dove
Northern raven
Crested lark
House sparrow


  1. What sub-species of Magpie occurs in Kurdistan? Bactriana occurs in Khazakstan. It has more White in the wings but is more a flight feature i think?

    Laurie -

  2. Luarie, apparently the answer is Bactriana, the same as in Khazakstan!