Friday 1 August 2014

Azadi Park, Sulaimani

On the morning of July 25th, I started my birding in Kurdistan. The start was low key with a visit to the local park in Sulaimani called Azadi. It's actually quite large but still being developed.

In this introduction to Kurdistan birding, only 10 species were seen but it gave me a first feel of what to expect in the region.


One of the most surprising finds for me was a greenfinch. According to my regional guide's map there is an isolated community of this northern bird around Sulaimani. It seems I found it. 

Eastern olivaeous warbler

Before that I spent some time trying to identify the relatively large number of warblers in the park. It didn't take me too long to wok out that they were all of two types. 

Eastern olivaceous warbler was extremely common. 

Menetries's warbler

Menetries's warbler was restricted to areas with low bushes. However this was still the most concentrated group of them I have ever seen. Unlike the more northerly sub species this one is quite bland especially the females. 

second view of Menetries's warbler

I had been told that white wagtail could be found at the park and so it proved. I came across a family of 2 adults and 2 juveniles next to one of the three artifical lakes. The adults were very worn.

White wagtail

The juveniles were still young enough to be begging for food. White wagtail doesn't breed much further south than this.

juvenile white wagtail

Incidentally the lakes attracted a few hawking barn swallow.

collared dove

The park's most obvious residents are the doves: collared dove, laughing dove and feral pigeon. Unfortunately there was no sign of turtle dove. The latter bird is in serious trouble throughout its range.

Laughing dove

The main problem with birding in Kurdistan at this time of year is the temperature. It reached 42C on July 26th. Birding became increasingly difficult after 9am as we walked round the park. 


House sparrow was everywhere as expected. Hoopoe was the only other bird seen.

house sparrow

Thanks are due to my non-birding friend Steve K who lives and works in Kuridstan and who came out on this visit with me.

After returning to Steve's place mid morning, at 4pm as the temperatures began to drop, I resumed birding in another part of the city. Still with low key birding, another seven species were added to my embryonic Kurdistan list including a lifer.

Species seen in Azadi park
Feral pigeon
Collared dove
Laughing dove
Barn swallow
Eastern olivaceous warbler
Menetries’s warbler
House sparrow
White wagtail

No comments:

Post a Comment