The Ultimate In Birding Tours

Asia (and its islands)

AFGHANISTAN EXPEDITION – Afghan Snowfinch and Large-billed Reed Warbler

Sunday 16th June – Tuesday 25th June 2024

Leader: Mark Beaman

10 Days Group Size Limit 7


Whatever you think of the Taliban government of Afghanistan, they have brought improved security to the country as compared with the situation under the previous government. Nonetheless, western governments maintain generalised warnings about visiting the country, so going there is a personal choice.

Mark Beaman first saw the little-known Afghan Snowfinch or Theresa’s Snowfinch in the wild Hindu Kush mountains at the scenic Band-e-Amir National Park in July 1973. Indeed Mark reached Kabul on the very day the Afghan monarchy was overthrown in a revolution, and the country has been troubled ever since!

With Bamiyan (or Bamyan) region nowadays being a consistently peaceful part of Afghanistan, pioneering birders can visit once more. This is surely a real adventure for a very special bird: the Afghan Snowfinch is on hardly anyone’s life list!

Further to the northwest, in the valley of the ancient Oxus River, the big prize is the very restricted-range Large-billed (or Long-billed) Reed Warbler, a species that breeds only in northwest Afghanistan and adjacent southeast Tadjikistan.

This expedition can be taken together with: NORTHERN PAKISTAN

Accommodation & Road Transport: In Bamiyan, the hotel is medium quality. In the northwest, the guesthouses are basic with shared facilities. Road transport will be by 4×4 cars. Nowadays, roads are mostly of reasonable quality, but we will still have to use rough dirt roads in some places.

Walking: The walking effort during our expedition is easy to moderate.

Climate: It will be cool to warm or even hot, with mostly dry and sunny conditions but overcast weather and even rain are possible.

Bird Photography: Opportunities during our expedition will be quite good but limited.

Note for female participants: The Taliban government in Afghanistan require female visitors to wear a headscarf and to dress modestly. No, you do not have to wear a burka!


  • The thrill of watching Afghan (or Theresa's) Snowfinches in the Hindu Kush, a bird seen by only a handful of living birders!
  • Taking in the spectacular scenery of Band-e-Amir with its deep blue lakes, ochre cliffs and bright green waterside vegetation
  • Seeking out the rare and poorly known Large-billed Reed Warbler.
  • Just being in Afghanistan at all, never mind birding the country!


  • Day 1: Afternoon tour start at Kabul airport. Overnight at Kabul.
  • Day 2: Drive to Bamiyan.
  • Days 3-4: Exploring Bamiyan and Band-e-Amir for Afghan Snowfinch and other birds. Overnights at Bamiyan.
  • Day 5: Head to northwest Afghanistan. Overnight at Kunduz.
  • Day 6: Reach the Panj (Oxus) River at Darmarakh. Overnight at Darmarakh.
  • Day 7: Exploring the Panj River area for Large-billed Reed Warbler. Overnight at Darmarakh.
  • Day 8: Panj River, then return to Kunduz for overnight.
  • Day 9: Return to Kabul for overnight.
  • Day 10: Morning expedition end at Kabul airport.

To see a larger map, click on the square-like ‘enlarge’ icon in the upper right of the map box.

To see (or hide) the ‘map legend’, click on the icon with an arrow in the upper left of the map box.

To change to a satellite view, which is great for seeing the physical terrain (and for seeing really fine details by repetitive use of the + button), click on the square ‘map view’ icon in the lower left corner of the ‘map legend’.


Birdquest Inclusions: Our tour prices include surface transportation, accommodations, meals and entrance fees.

We also include all tipping for accommodation/restaurant staff.

Deposit: 20% of the total tour price. We will let you know what deposit amount is due, in order to confirm your booking, following receipt of your online booking form.

All payments for this special, one-off visit will be made to Mark Beaman, not to Birdquest Ltd.

TO BOOK THIS TOUR: Click here (you will need the tour dates)

2024: confirmed £2610, $3350, €3040, AUD5050. Kabul/Kabul.

Single Supplement: 2024: £290, $380, €340, AUD570.

The single supplement will not apply if you indicate on booking that you prefer to share a room and there is a room-mate of the same sex available.

This tour is priced in US Dollars. Amounts shown in other currencies are indicative.


Day 1  The expedition begins this morning at Kabul from where we transfer to Bamiyan for a three nights stay.

Days 2-3  Birding the Bamiyan and Band-e-Amir areas for Afghan Snowfinch and other species.

Day 4  Driving towards northwestern Afghanistan. Overnight en route.

Day 5  Today we reach the valley of the mighty Oxus River, where we stay for two nights. Start looking for Large-billed Reed Warbler.

Day 6  Watching Large-billed Reed Warblers, Hume’s Whitethroat and other species in the northwest.

Day 7  Oxus River birding, then head towards Kabul. Overnight en route.

Day 8  Our expedition ends today at Kabul airport.