blog posts
493 photographed species of 521 (94%)
found 21 new species for Kazakhstan


rare birds records

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Lesser Flamingo (Phoeniconaias minor)

© Steve Klasan

NE Bay of Maly Tengiz

New species for Kazakhstan. Two adult birds were observed in the NE bay of Tengiz lake together with Greater Flamingo. 10 of September these birds were recorded by R.Urazaliev too. Afterwards, Ruslan Urazaliev watching the video shot by Alena Shmalenko (Koshkina) of June 14, 2009 in a large number of Greater Flamingos found a bird, whose size and coloring did not leave any doubts that it was a Lesser Flamingo. Thus, the record in 2009 became the first documented evidence. This is third record for all former USSR area. The first record of Lesser Flamingo was at 3rd of August 2007 in Limanskoe, Odesskaya oblast, Ukraine (Rednikov K.A.). The main breeding range of this species is located in eastern regions of Equatorial Africa in the salt lakes of Kenia and Tanzania. Also there are some colonies in the coast of Persian Gulf, and in Sambhar lake in Indian state Radjastan. The closest breeding spots are located at 3500 km to south from the record in Kazakhstan. It’s interesting that this species mostly feeds the Cyanobacteria and Diatom plants, unlike of breeding in Tengiz lake Greater Flamongo (Phoenicopterus roseus) which feeds mostly by Artemia salina.
Уразалиев Р.С. Малый фламинго Phoenicopterus minor Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire, 1798 - новый вид в фауне Казахстана // Орнитологический вестник Казахстана и Средней Азии. Вып. 4. Алматы: МОО - СОПК, 2017. С. 311.

Mediterranean Gull (Larus melanocephalus)

© Fedor Karpov

Eastern Caspian Sea. 70 km to north-west from Buzachi peninsula.

Rare vagrant and the first photo record of this species for Kazakhstan. Known only a few records of this Gull: several birds were recorded in May and July of 1951 and 1952 in Bautino and Mangistau islands (Gladkov, Zaletayev, 1956); July 12, 1968 in the Sorkol lake, WKO (Lindeman et al., 2005), also in the Sorkol this Gull was recorded in 1996 (Davygora, "Материалы к распространению птиц на Урале, в Приуралье и Западной Сибири", 1998); in July 24, 1999, two birds recorded at Zhanybek-Shalkar lake (Koshkin, 2002); and in May 13, 2009, one adult bird was recorded at the Kenderli Resort (Le Neve et al., 2010).

Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides)

© Yuriy Malkov


The third vagrant in Kostanay region. The nearest vagrants are known for the Aksuat lake (Naurzum), where on May 29, 1980, the male was recorded and shot (Gordienko, 1991); and in August 17, 2000 on the Kamysh-Ayat river between Rudnyi and Kartaly (Russia) the adult single bird recorded (Berezovikov, Erokhov, 2004).

Ibisbill (Ibidorhyncha struthersii)

© Alexandr Belyaev

Almatinskaja obl. okrest. g. Taldykorgana

For the first time the nesting of the Ibisbill in the Karatal river is confirmed by the finding of the nest. Earlier, on August 8, 2013 here the already grown up juvenile bird together with adults was recorded (Belyaev, Berezovikov, 2013).

Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix)

© Anna Yasko


The first time the nesting locating at almost 400 km to the south of the known species distribution boundary, which passes at approximately 47˚00 N lat. on the northern coast of the Caspian Sea (Gavrilov, 1999) and 46˚30 in the Northern Priaralye (Warshavskyi, 1965), was found.

Woodchat Shrike (Lanius senator)

© Anna Yasko


New species for Kazakhstan. Recorded bird is related to L.s.niloticus subspecies. Closest breeding spots are located in the south and west coast of Caspian Sea. Isolated populations found in Baku vicinity (40˚25΄N, Panov, 2008) and Dagestan (43˚00΄N, Bukreev, Dzhamirzoev), in the almost same latitude with Aktau (43˚40΄N). The closest record in the east coast of caspian Sea is record of couple in Turkmenistan, Kurendag mountains (Mischenko, Scherbak, 1980), about 400 to south from Aktau. This vagrant bird could indicate to the extending of breeding range, which probably present in the west coast of Caspian Sea.

Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica)

© Vassiliy Fedorenko

Sorbulak lake, Almaty region

The third record of species in Sorbulak. "In reality Bar-tailed Godwit in the Semirechye is probably just an occasional and extremely rare visitor, and gets here only getting lost during migration" wrote by V.N Shnitnikov in the book. "Birds of the Semirechie", 1949, p. 151. Shnitnikov knew one specimen from Issyk-Kul from the collections of Almashi in 1900. At the time of the publication of the second part of "Birds of Kazakhstan" in 1962, where the essays about waders were written by I.A. Dolgushin, there were no data for the southern, southeastern and eastern regions. In Sorbulak one bird was ringed during the study of migrations in 1970-80. (Ring Center database). The second case was in July 21, 2008, the young bird was found dead of poisoning by the toxins of blue-green algae (Karpov, Belyalov, 2008). Another record occurred on August 4, 2004 at the Teke reservoir in the Kazakhstan part of the Central Tien Shan.

Березовиков H.H., Винокуров А.А., Белялов О.В. Птицы горных долин Центрального и Северного Тянь-Шаня // Tethys ornithological research. Almaty, 1, 2005. С. 19-130.

Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus)

© Vassiliy Fedorenko

Sorbulak lake, Almaty region

The second vagrant bird in Almaty region (earlier shot by Y. Grachev in Ili river) and the eighth record in whole Kazakhstan territory.

Godlewski's Bunting (Emberiza godlewskii godlewskii)

© Vladimir Vorobyov

VKO Katon-Karagay

That is the first photo of the bird of nominee subspecies of Godlewski’s Bunting made in the territory of Kazakhstan. The records of February 1978 were known in the upper reaches of Bukhtarma in the Kalmachikha and Krutoyarka rivers, where B.V Shcherbakov shot one male bird; and of March 1998 at the foot of the Ivanovo range on the Gray meadow, where Y.A. Kotukhov caught three male birds (Berezovikov, Rubinich, 2001).

Rustic Bunting (Emberiza rustica)

© Alexandr Belyaev

Almatinskaja obl. okrest. g. Taldykorgana r. Karatal

This is the first photo of the species made in Kazakhstan in winter. The nearest place where several December and January records are known is the surroundings of Alma-Ata (Kuzmina, 1974). Birds were recorded more than 50 years ago in very little snow-covered and warm winters.

Jack Snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus)

© Alexandr Belyaev

Almatinskaja obl. okrest. g. Taldykorgana r. Karatal

The first winter record of the species in Semirechye, confirmed by photography. According to data by Dolgushin the single Jack Snipes stay in winter time near the unfrozen springs in Almaty region, but not every year. In recent decades information about wintering is known only for Karachingil in the lower reaches of the Turgen river, where in December 2006 it was seen by I.A. Bevza (2011).

Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus)

© Alexandr Katuncev

Актау 43км

The first record of the species in the region of Mangysjlak confirmed by photography. Before this record only the winter one at the end of the 19th century from the area of Fort Shevchenko (Zarudny, 1896) was known.

Steppe Greater Short-toed Lark (Calandrella brachydactyla longipennis)

© Vassiliy Fedorenko

Kanshengel village, Almaty region

The second winter record in Kazakhstan. The first one was on December 11, 1972, when male was shot near Berezovka village(VKO) (Berezovikov et al., 2007).

Dalmatian Pelican (Pelecanus crispus)

© Askar Isabekov

Сорбулак. Almaty oblast.

The third record of the species at the end of December in the South-East of Kazakhstan. The first was recorded on Sorbulak in 1998, and the second one was in 2007 at the Alakol hollow (Berezovikov, 2008).

Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti)

© Vassiliy Fedorenko

Kanshengel village, Almaty region

The first record of this species in Kazakhstan in winter time.

Greater Spotted Eagle (Aquila clanga)

© Alexandr Katuncev


The first winter record in Kazakhstan, confirmed by photography.

Herring Gull (Larus argentatus)

© Alexandr Katuncev


First reliable record of Herring Gull for Kazakhstan confirmed by photos, considering the new status of different forms of former subspecies of Larus argentatus sensu lato.

Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis)

© Aisagali Kadirov

Tupkaragan, Mangystau.

The first photo fixation of this species in the region of Mangyshlak at the beginning of the winter.

Indian Pond Heron (Ardeola grayii)

© Alexandr Belyaev

Almatinskaja obl. okrest. g. Taldykorgana

The third record of species in Kazakhstan. The first two ones were recorded on Sorbulak: July 16, 2009 (Kovalenko, Dyakin, 2009) and December 7, 2013, (Belyalov, Fedorenko, 2014). See the gallery of species in the site.

Great White Pelican (Pelecanus onocrotalus)

© Vassiliy Fedorenko

Sorbulak lake, Almaty region

The second record of this species in winter perod. The first time two birds kept on the canal at the confluence of Sorbulak on December 22, 2007 and January 2, 2008 (Belyalov, Karpov, 2012).

Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus)

© Askar Isabekov


The second record of this species in the Caspian Sea during the winter. In the city of Aktau, one bird was recorded on January 16, 2009 (Kovshar, Karpov, 2009, photo is in the gallery of species).

Bewick's Swan (Cygnus bewickii)

© Alexandr Katuncev


The first record in winter in the coast of Mangyshlak. Winter records are known a century ago in the Ili river basin (Zarudnyi, Koreiev, 1905), and recent ones were recorded by A.V. Kovalenko in 2010 and 2011 at the Chardara (Berezovikov, 2012).

Trumpeter Finch (Bucanetes githagineus)

© Askar Isabekov

Zhulandy cape, Mangystau.

The second photo fixation of the species for the Mangystau region. The first time was photographed on April 26, 2011 in Kokesem, the western chink of Ustyurt (Zh. Nurmukhambetov, see the gallery of the species). For the first time in Mangyshlak was recorded on May 1, 1993 in Western Karatau by VA. Gorbatov (Gavrilov & Gavrilov, 2005).

Little Bunting (Emberiza pusilla)

© Yuriy Malkov


The first photo fixation of the rare species in the northern regions of Kazakhstan. Several records are known for the valley of Irtysh river, the foothills of the Altai and the Zaysan depression. It was recorded in the vicinity of Alma-Ata and other places of the Semirechie. Single birds were recorded in Kurgaldzhino and the lower reaches of Sarysu.

Icterine Warbler (Hippolais icterina)

© Yuriy Malkov


The third breeding record in Kazakhstan. The previous ones are located at 500 km to the east, in the forests of the Kokchetav upland (Korelov, 1972) and at 800 km to the west, in the floodplain of the Ural river (Gubin, Levin, 1982). A new record is located slightly north of the first two ones.

Pallas's Warbler (Phylloscopus proregulus)

© Yevgeny Belousov

South Kazakhstan, Dzhabagly village

The 13th record of vagrant of this species in Kazakhstan (Kovshar, 1966, Gubin, 1989; Starikov, Tsikh, 1990; Khrokov et al., 1991; Kovalenko, 2002; Koshkin, 2002; Gavrilov & Gavrilov, 2005; Chalikova, 2005; Kovalenko, Belousov, www.birds.kz).

Goldcrest (Regulus regulus regulus)

© Askar Isabekov

Tuzbair spring. Mangystau oblast.

The first record of the species in Mangystau. The nearest records were on Northern Trans-Caspian area.

Siberian Pipit (Anthus rubescens japonicus)

© Artem Vorobyov


The first record in the eastern part of Kazakhstan. Before that, only a few records were registered (birds were caught) in the western, southern and south-eastern regions of the country (Gavrilov & Gavrilov, 2005). Records at Sorbulak in 2012-2014 confirmed by photo fixation. (see the gallery of the species www.birds.kz).

Black-throated Accentor (Prunella atrogularis atrogularis)

© Alexey Timoshenko

Karamendy vill., Naurzum reg., Kostanay oblast

The first record confirmed by photo in Kostanay region. It was previously recorded twice in October 1996 and 1998 (Bragin, Bragina, 2002), but the species was not included in the list of local fauna without confirmation of the record.

Hume's Warbler (Phylloscopus humei)

© Alexey Timoshenko

Karamendy vill., Naurzum reg., Kostanay oblast

The first record in Kostanay region confirmed by photography.

Little Gull (Larus minutus)

© Askar Isabekov

Sorbulak system. Almaty oblast.

The rare record for Sorbulak. Earlier, Little Gull was recorded here on the autumn migration on August 9, 2003, November 6, 2004 and October 27, 2006 (Belyalov, Karpov, 2012).

Macqueen's Bustard (Chlamydotis macqueenii)

© Aleksandr Feldman


The northernmost point of Macqueen’s Bustard's record confirmed by photography for Kazakhstan. For many years, there were no reliable information from Semipalatinsk region. The obtained photos confirm the literature data of the species’ records in the region of Semipalatinsk in the past (Khakhlov, Selevin, 1928; Gavrin, 1962; Gubin, 2004).

Pomarine Skua (Stercorarius pomarinus)

© Vassiliy Fedorenko

Sorbulak lakes, Almaty region

The first record of Pomarine Skua in Almaty region. In general, there are a little more than a ten records for Kazakhstan, the closest of which are known from Chokpak on September 13, 1967 and 1972. (Gavrilov, Gistsov, 1985).

Red-flanked Bluetail (Tarsiger cyanurus)

© Alexey Timoshenko

Karamendy vill., Naurzum reg., Kostanay oblast

The second vagrant to the Naurzum reserve area in recent years. The first one was recorded on October 10, 2012 (Timoshenko, Moiseyev, 2012). The nearest record was in 1920 in the Kostanay area, 200 km to the north (Geptner, 1925).

Siberian Crane (Grus leucogeranus)

© Murat Baidildin

Naurzum reserve. Shoshkaly lake.

Naurzum's lakes always be the place of traditional stop-offs of Siberian Cranes of the West Siberian population on the migration route passing through the Aral-Turgai depression. Earlier records were regular (Kovshar, 1982). In recent years, birds are not seen annually. The last ones were August records of singles in 2007 and 2010 (Bragin, 2011).

Long-billed Dowitcher (Limnodromus scolopaceus)

© Vassiliy Fedorenko

Small Sorbulak lakes, Almaty region

The first reliable record of Long-billed Dowitcher in Kazakhstan. This species nests in tundra zone of Chukotka and Yakutia. Known only several records in the inside of continent: in spring migration of 1972 in Baikal lake (Durnev etc, 1996); 21-22 of September in vicinity of Sahyurte village, Maloe More (Pyzhyanov, 1989); 26 of September young male was shot in fish factory Filippovka, Kirovo-Chepetzky region, Kirovskaya oblast (Sotnikov, 2009); from 22 to 29 of September of 2011 juvenile bird was observed in taiga zone of NE Trans-Baikal area in Charskaya depression, in the edge of Chara village (Goroshko, 2014).

Great Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor mollis)

© Vladimir Vorobyov

VKO Katon-Karagay

For the first time bird of mollis subspecies was photographed in the territory of Kazakhstan. The Great Grey Shrike of this subspecies is described by Eversmann in 1853. The breeding range covers Altai, Sayan, Khangai and Kentei. There are several winter specimens shot in the area of Katon-Karagaya and in the vicinity of Alma-Ata. The only one summer record of the young male was made by Y.N. Grachev on Markakol on July 17, 1966 (Korelov, 1970).

Olive-backed Pipit (Anthus hodgsoni)

© Valentin Zenkov

Sarsenbay, Katon

Until recently, was known in Kazakhstan only on migration, but the records are rare till present day. E.I. Gavrilov (1999) assumed that in the Kazakh Altai it should be recorded not only on migration, but also on nesting. The lack of data of the species he explained by the fact that Oive-backed Pipit is easily confused with Tree Pipits which is commonest bird here. In 2001, in the upper reaches of Bukhtarma (the area of Berel village, 1200m) was first recorded on the breeding (N. Berezovikov, B.Rubinich, Selevinia-2001, p. 60); it was assumed the expansion of the species breeding range from the Russian part of Central Altai to the west. Photo confirms that nesting in the Kazakh part of Altai is not an exceptional case.

Hume's Short-toed Lark (Calandrella acutirostris)

© Fedor Karpov


First photos of this species in the territory of Kazakhstan. High mountain range of Karzhantau, the only place where the breeding population is known; and there are reliable data about it. M.N. Korelov (1956) in 1949 found it here as numerous, it was confirmed by the observations of V.I Kapitonov (1969) in 1961 and 1962. The next data were reported only many years later: in the summer of 2003. E.S Chalikova saw birds here (KOB-2003, p. 96). In Aksu-Jabagly was recorded in 1930-40 years (shot by LM Shulpin and DF Zheleznyakov), but later disappeared for unknown reasons (Kovshar, 1966, Korelov, 1970).

Eurasian Stone Curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus)

© Aleksandr Feldman


Photographed in the vicinity of Semipalatinsk for he first time. More than 80 years ago the only record of the species in this region was published (Zalesskie, 1931). For the eastern regions of Kazakhstan this record is the northernmost.

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unidentified birds


Сергей Силантьев: Почему не рассматривается подвид зеленой - viridanus, ведь четко видится светлая хотя и не резкая полоса по краям больших кроющих?


Владимир Муравский: Не сильно обнадёжили, хочется всё-таки какой-то определённости, ну или консенсуса хотя бы :)


Нурлан: По клюву и телосложению мне видится восточный канюк.


Александр Катунцев: почему не рассмотреть вариант с восточноевропейской.


Алексей Кошкин: Высылал на определение П. Томковичу, российскому специалисту по куликам. "...окраска оперения странная...", "...предположил, что если не какой-то [....]


Аскар Исабеков: Вы правы, Михаил, осталось только понять который, у нас их три вида. Я больше склоняюсь к тростниковому.

more unidentified birds...