Afghanistan Analysts Network – English

Posts tagged: Birds


Drawings of mynahs by Serbian ornithologist Voislav Vasić, who travelled to Afghanistan in 1972 in search of birds. Photo: Author

Searching for the Afghan Snowfinch: Memories of a birdwatching journey fifty years ago

Voislav Vasic

The bearded vulture, the rich diversity of wheatears and, above all, the Afghan snowfinch – found nowhere else in the world – are what drew a young ornithologist, Voislav Vasić, to travel from Yugoslavia to Afghanistan in the summer of 1972. In this guest dispatch, Vasić, now the retired head of the national Natural History […]

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Kabul Duck Alert 2: Pictures of birds and birdwatchers at the Kol-e Hashmat Khan wetland

Kate Clark

The springtime migration of birds over Afghanistan is in full swing. The Kol-e Hashmat Khan wetland in south Kabul is an internationally important site for tired waterbirds to stop and rest, and build up their strength. Soon, they’ll be heading north again, crossing the Hindu Kush mountains to reach their summer breeding grounds in Central […]

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How Kol-e Hashmat Khan looks to migrating water birds: a haven amid city and mountains (Photo Source: Andrew Scanlon/UNEP)

Kabul Duck Alert: Afghan capital still important stopover for migrating waterbirds

Kate Clark

It is springtime which means birds in great numbers are migrating northwards over Afghanistan. The wetland in the south-east of Kabul city, Kol-e Hashmat Khan, is an internationally important place for water birds to rest and recuperate before taking back to the air and resuming their flight over some of the world’s highest mountain ranges. […]

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Thematic Dossier IX: Birds in Afghanistan

AAN Team

It had started out as a grey, rainy week in Kabul – just perfect for birdwatchers. Birds flying north, sometimes thousands of kilometres on their spring migrations, are more likely to land in the green trees of the Afghan capital when the weather is bad. This week, AAN’s Kate Clark has been woken by the […]

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The unfortunate, and unexploded, houbara, mistaken for a 'Taleban operative'. Photo: Khaama Press

Bird Bomber: Police kill ‘dangerous’ houbara bustard (amended)

Kate Clark

Police in Faryab have shot a wild bird which had an antenna attached to it, fearing it had been sent by the Taleban to target them. They said it exploded, scattering suspicious bits of metal. However, the bits of metal included an ID tag with a telephone number and email address and claims of it […]

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Bird Watchers Gear Up For Global Count [incl. in Afghanistan]


RFE/RL, 13 February 2014 Afghanistan makes an appearance in the world wide 17th annual Great Backyard Bird Count on 14 and 17 Fenruary, with also a photo contest involved.  

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Autumn Pastimes, or the Other Fighting Grounds of Afghanistan

Obaid Ali

Bird fighting has an ancient history as a common autumn pastime among Afghans. As soon as the weather gets colder, various tournaments take place among bird enthusiasts, either in the open air or in a warm arena, depending on what sort of birds are fighting. In Kabul, the favourite birds to take the field are […]

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Watching Warblers: A bird lover’s delight in Kabul

Mark Mallalieu

Did you think the vast, loud and smoggy capital of Afghanistan was the last place to watch birds? Think again. With its parks and gardens, it is an oasis for tired migrants in the otherwise rocky and dry region. Siberian Chiffchaffs, Hume’s Leaf Warblers, Bluethroats, Hoopoes and many more – they all come to rest […]

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War Doves: The Afghan sport of pigeon flying

Fabrizio Foschini

It is a familiar sight in Kabul’s springtime skies: pigeons flying in thick flocks, circling and dipping, reacting to a man on a rooftop waving a stick. Kaftar bazi or the Play of Pigeons is an Afghan national sport – one of the calmer sort. This doesn’t mean it isn’t highly competitive. AAN’s Fabrizio Foschini […]

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The ‘Bagram Duck’: Migrant bird killed north of Kabul and offered as game

Kate Clark

If you drive to the Bagram detention centre, you pass by a row of small shops selling birds. Live finches and other wild song birds hop about in cages which hang among dead game birds on hooks, ready for the pot. The well-watered lands of the Shomali Plain, home to waders, ducks and many other […]

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