Iran's two known endemic birds are the Caspian Tit and the Iranian Ground Jay. The two species have stable populations and are of Least Concern according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) because of their broad habitat ranges. The Persian Shearwater is also widely distributed in the coasts of Islamic states along the Gulf of Aden and Oman. Another native bird to Iran is the Saxaul Sparrow which is a passerine desert bird that forages trees. These bird species have found a home in the wilderness of Iran and have adapted to the environment. The Saxaul Sparrow, for example, can fly several times in a day over long distances looking for water. On the other hand, birds such as the Ground Jay have long strong legs adapted with a tremendous agility to running, leaping, and bounding onto boulders, rocks, or perch on trees and bushes.
The Native Birds Of Iran
Saxaul Sparrow (Passer ammodendri)
This Passerine bird Passer ammodendri, commonly known as the Saxaul Sparrow, is a bird native to Iran. It is around 14 to 16 centimeters in length, with males being larger than females. They have a short tail and the pale to pinkish brown legs. The bill is long, being light gray in juveniles, a pale yellow with a black tip in breeding females, and black on breeding males. The bird has distinctive markings on the head. It appears as dull-colored species with plumage ranging from dull sand gray to warm sandy brown depending on the subspecies. The sparrow has a short breeding season lasting from May to July. Typical egg clutches have 5 to 6 eggs. Females incubate the eggs although males often guard the nest during the incubation period. The two sexes share the feeding role which occurs every 4 to 12 minutes. In the winter, the flocks fly away. The Saxaul Sparrow mostly feeds on seeds and insects such as grasshoppers, weevils, and caterpillars when breeding. The IUCN describes the bird as of Least Concern because of its wide range of distribution. It lives in the deserts, especially around oases and rivers finding a home in the Saxaul, poplar, and Tamarisk shrubs in the deserts of Central Asia. At times especially during winters, it occurs around settlements in agricultural fields that have grains. However, the wide distribution range is in danger from the already intensifying agricultural activities and desertification caused by overgrazing.
Caspian Tit (Poecile Hyrcana)
The Passerine bird species Poecile Hyrcana, commonly known as the Caspian tit, is native to Iran. The bird is typically found breeding in the deciduous mountain forests of northern Iran and Azerbaijan. The bird has a brown cap and bib, brown upper parts and the underparts are a pinkish buff when younger, becoming paler and grayer as the bird ages. The Caspian bird expresses sexual dimorphism, but juveniles are somehow duller than adults. The Poecile Hyrcanus excavates its nesting hole in a rotten stump or tree in the form of cups felted with materials such as fur, feathers, and hair or wood chips. A female lays 5 to 7 eggs that are white with faintly red spots or blotches. The bird feeds on caterpillars, insects, and seeds.
Iranian Ground Jay (Podoces pleskei)
The Iranian ground jay (Podoces pleskei) is a bird species in the Corvidae Family endemic to Iran. Its distribution ranges in deserts of eastern Iran to Dusht-e-Lut of Khorasan and the Kerman. The Iranian ground jay is around 24 centimeters in length and weighs 85 to 90 grams. It has bold boldly patterned small corvid and a slightly curved slim bill adapted for digging and probing and relatively short, glossy black upper tail coverts. The bird is omnivorous although seasonal but mostly insectivorous during the spring and feeding on seeds during the fall. Breeding occurs in the first half of March. When the Iranian ground Jay bonds with the opposite sex the pairing is long lasting and can stay together all year. The bird species is sedentary but probably shows some dispersal in autumn and winter. The population trend of the species appears to be stable. Hence the species does not approach vulnerability threshold. The bird has an enormous range, and IUCN describes its population as locally quite numerous.
Persian Shearwater (Puffinus persicus)
Puffinus persicus, commonly known as the Persian Shearwater, is a seabird species in the Procellariidae Family. It has a wide distribution range from the Southern Red Sea, along with the Gulf of Aden and the coast of Somali across the southern parts of Arabian Peninsula to the Gulf of Oman, western India, and Pakistan. The species has two subspecies. These include P.p. persicus, which breeds in Oman and Socotra, and P.p. temptator in the Comoros. The IUCN evaluates the species as Least Concern as it does not approach vulnerability thresholds thanks to the vast habitual range. However, the population appears to be declining slowly, but with more than 10,000 mature individuals, the species is not threatened.
Threats to Iran's Birds
With their wide distribution and adaptation to the desert life of Iran, many of these birds are considered of Least Concern to the IUCN in terms of threats of extinction. However, deforestation, overgrazing, and inefficient yet extensive agricultural practices are causing habitat loss, and soon these birds may reach vulnerability thresholds. However, so far, these birds have stable populations, and the deserts of Iran provide the ideal conditions necessary for their survival.
The Native Birds Of Iran
|Native Birds of Iran||Binomial Scientific Name|
|Caspian Tit||Poecile hyrcana|
|Iranian Ground Jay||Podoces pleskei|
|Persian Shearwater||Puffinus persicu|
|Saxaul Sparrow||Passer ammodendri|
|Imperial Eagle||Aquila heliaca|
|Graceful Prinia||Prinia gracilis|
|Dalmatian Pelican||Pelecanus crispus|
|Ortolan Bunting||Emberiza hortulana|
|Socotra Cormorant||Phalacrocorax nigrogularis|