Birdwatching in Mtskheta-Mtianeti Region

Usually, the 154 kilometer-long road from Tbilisi to Stepantsminda takes three hours by car, but, "birdwatching" takes up the whole day. After entering the Aragvi valley, the Mtskheta-Mtianeti Region fills with rare species of birds.

Fasanauri and Gudauri

The rocks around Bodorna are home to Shaheen falcons and Egyptian vultures. Meet water thrush almost everywhere near the Aragvi valley. In the forests around Pasanauri, alongside many other birds, are nests of white-throated flycatchers.

The best part of the trip begins in the vicinity of Gudauri, where, along with other large carnivores, you can observe the goshawk - a dream for all naturalists. Red-billed and Yellow-billed chough, Shaheen falcon, common kestrel, and orbs are just some of the birds flying in the sky.

Jvari Pass

The Jvari Pass, 2,379 meters above sea level, is a significant place for bird migration in April with the massive migration of bald eagles and other predators.

Different species can be seen on land as well. Before you reach Stepantsminda, on both sides of Jvari Pass, there are a variety of mountain birds including, horned plover, snowfall, mountain sparrowhawk, alpine sparrowhawk, mountain pipits, and others.

As the road descends, the scenery becomes more dramatic. Near Kobi village, red-fronted mountain terns nest on basalt clays. On the rock, you will often see the red-winged rockhopper, a bird hard to find in the mountains. 

Before reaching Stepantsminda, birdwatchers search the bushes of sea buckthorn as the fruit feeds many nesting and migrating birds. The main targets are the red-bellied tern, the great limpet, and the mountain leaf warbler.

Orbs nest on the rocks near Gveleti village, where you’ll see the mountain eagle. An unforgettable sight to see is a sheepfold against the backdrop of a five-thousand-meter-high glacier, with a mountain eagle flying over the Dariali canyon.

Roads and Infrastructure

Travel to Stepantsminda by public minibus from Didube Bus Station, or hire or rent a car. There are many guesthouses and hotels around this mountainous town.

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