Photo: K. Aghababyan
The Vedi Hills are located in the middle of Ararat province and have an area of 213 km2. About 10% of this territory is located at the buffer area of Khosrov Forest State Reserve, while the rest of it is a property of local communities.
The Vedi Hills have been designated as an important bird area in 2018, and its detailed assessment was carried out in 2019. It resulted in a clarification of the bird species composition and identification of the main threats.
What makes Vedi Hills Important Bird Area?
In total, this area hosts 68 breeding species, and is the only nesting site for Trumpeter Finch (Endangered) and Desert Finch (Data Deficient), as well as is one of few of such sites for Grey-necked Bunting (Endangered) and Mongolian Finch (Data Deficient). Below, you can see these bird species and their habitats and hear the natural sounds of the area.
The bird species, which live here are distributed between three major habitats – gravel semi-desert (21 species), scrub semi-desert (28 species), and juniper woodland (32 species).
Explore the IBAs habitats and their species diversity
The gravel semi-desert covers the slopes of the lowest part of the area between 900 and 1000 m a.s.l. The scarce vegetation here is mostly represented by semi-bushes like Kochia and perennial herbs, giving the breeding and feeding opportunities for Tawny Pipit and Lesser Whitethroat. Numerous rocky outcrops provide space for Trumpeter and Mongolian Finches.
Water acquisition lives all the water-dependent passerines without reliable watering place, which is critical for those. In addition, recently, some poaching activities have been noted among local youth, who use pneumatic guns for shooting passerines for fun.
The scrub semi-desert follows the previous belt, covering the elevation range from 1000 to 1200 m a.s.l. Number of bushes here is higher than in previous habitat and they are much taller, being represented by Atraphaxis, Paliurus and Rhamnus. These bushes provide home for Desert Finch and Grey-necked Bunting, while the denser herb vegetation hosts Greater Short-toed Lark.
Poaching on passerines happens here as well.
The juniper woodlands are mainly located from 1200 m and higher. The main tree species in this scarce forested area is a Juniper, favored by Red-fronted Serins, which breed here. Among bushes there are Honeysuckle and Rose-hip, which attract Rock Bunting and Barred Warbler to breed.
Numerous Chukars magnetize hunters in the season, which can be dangerous for the other birds, due to uncontrolled hunting and poaching. Another threat comes from overgrazing, caused by frequent visits of local shepherds with large herds of cattle and sheep.
Would you like to explore birds of this IBA in nature?