Birding Factoids

Over 511 species
in 61 families

No endemic species
27 speciality species
9 endangered species 
2 week trip expectation -
about 175 species

CIA Travel AdvisoryChecklist of Isreal Birds - may not be completeTours and GuidesEco-LodgesSpeciality BirdsMap and General Information

Check out the Kibbutz Lotan Birds of Israel Photo Gallery
as well as Eric Kleyheeg's Birds of Israel, Peter Jones' Israel Gallery
Guiliano Gerro and Silvio Sommazzi's Israel's Birds
Gorfin Uri's site on Stamps of Israel
and Jan Kåre Ness's Gallery of Birds in Eilat, Israel

Israel Specialities
(Pause your cursor on the photo to see the species name.)
Cretzschmar's Bunting - Photo copyright Jan Kåre Ness
Photo copyright Jan Kåre Ness

Common Kingfisher - Photo copyright Sumit Sen

Photo copyright Sumit Sen

Sinai (Pale) Rosefinch - Photo copyright Eric Kleyheeg

Photo copyright Eric Kleyheeg

Laughing Dove - photo by Gareth Watkins

Photo copyright Gareth Watkins

Brown-necked Raven - Photo copyright Eric Kleyheeg

Photo copyright Eric Kleyheeg

Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse - Photo copyright Allen Chartier

Photo copyright Allen Chartier

Streaked Scrub-Warbler - Photo copyright Nick Lowton

Photo copyright Nick Lowton

White-throated Kingfisher - Photo copyright Lawrence Poh

Photo copyright Lawrence Poh

Syrian Serin - THREATENED - Photo copyright Vaughan Ashby

Photo copyright Vaughan Ashby

Red-backed Shrike - Photo copyright Kibbutz Lotan Birdwatching Center

Photo copyright Kibbutz Lotan Birdwatching Center

Sand Partridge - Photo copyright James Packer

Photo copyright James Packer

Little Grebe - Photo copyright Eric Kleyheeg

Photo copyright Eric Kleyheeg
    .....Israel's Birding Hotspots - presented by the Kibbutz Lotan Centre for
      Birdwatching. Information is provided on: 
      • Northern Israel 
      • Bei Shean, Jezreel Valley and maagan Michael
      • The Negev Desert 
      • The Dead Sea 
      • The Arava Valley 
      • Eilat 
    ....Birding around Lotan - Fast developing a reputation as an excellent
      birding venue, Kibbutz Lotan Centre for Birdwatching offers a range of facilities that are tempting more birders away from Eilat each year. Lotan and its immediate surroundings are full of many exciting desert and migratory species. Visiting birders can benefit from Lotan's excellent strategic position and fine facilities in the relaxed confines of a friendly community.
    ....Birding Israel - This site contains information on Birding Sites, 
      ringing stations, recent records, a bird checklist, and some photographs. Sites covered include: 
      • Ein Gedi 
      • Neot Hakikar
      • "Nafha Spring"
      • Nahal Mishmar
      • Hameishar
    ....International Birding & Research Centre - Eilat - this site has lots
      of information about migration in Israel and the importance of Eilat. 
    ....Southern Israel Birding Sites - by Gareth Watkins - this site contains
      details about the sites visited in Southern Israel during September 1997. Most books provide details about the best sites, such as Eilat's salt pans, but what I've tried to do here is provide a little further advice about the sites we looked at. In other words the information here is simply from our own experiences and is not intended to be a comprehensive site guide. See also Bird Trip List
    ....Birds in Israel - by Leiah Elbaum. This site provides information on
      many good birding sites, as well as other information about local birds, in Israel. 
    ....Jerusalem Bird Observatory - The Israeli government has allocated
      for the birds' project, a one-acre plot (5,000 square meters) of prime real estate, between the Knesset (the Israeli parliament) and the Supreme Court. The site is one of the few traditional birdwatching areas in Jerusalem that has not been harmed by development, and is centrally located, making  it attractive as an educational and tourist center for the public. 
    ....Israel Filming Trip Highlights - by David Gosney. An illustrated report
      from a filming trip to Israel.
    ....Birding with Bill Oddie - Bill takes a winter trip to the Holy Land, 
      travelling from the Red Sea in the south to Galilee in the north. He starts off in Eilat.
    ....The Birding Home - Danny Montag is building a data base of bird
      sightings in Israel, including the location at which the bird was spotted. You can take part by adding your own sightings.
    ....Trip Reports: Israel, You can find these reports by following the
      "Middle East" link on John Girdley's website.
      • March 13 - 17, 1994. By Hugh Harrop.
      • Israel (Eilat area only) Oct  25th-Nov 1st 1999  By Mark Robinson. This was a family holiday with ‘Dad’ nipping out for a little birding on the side. 
    ....Birding in Eilat - by Liisa Sarakontu. I and my family were in Eilat,
      Israel, from 7th of Dec to 17th of Dec, 1995.  The trip was mostly a "family trip": sun, beach, swimming pool, shopping and eating, not a bird-watching trip.  We didn't leave the town area, but I was twice able to sneak away to watch the birds along the Jordan border and kibbutz fields for a whole morning.
    ....Trip Report - Eilat (Israel), December 1995 - by Liisa Sarakontu. The 
      International Birding Center in Eilat, is situated at the main shopping street, Sederot Hatemarim.  It is on its southern side, opposite to big department stores Hamashbir Lazarchan and Shekem.  You are at the right building when you see a giant vulture on the roof!
    ....Trip Report: Israel - March 15 - 24, 1996. By Rob Goldbach and Harry
      Lehto.Report of bird observations made in connection to participating in the Third International Workshop on Basic and Applied Research in Plasmodesmatal Biology, at Zikron Yakoov, Israel, 8 - 13 March 1996. 
    ....Trip Report: Southern Israel, March 25 - April 8, 1996 - by Mark 
      Dennis. Most reports state that Eilat is not what it was but we were not disappointed. We spent two weeks in a posh hotel (the Palmira) which was handily placed for the North Beach, the Marina and Shulamit Park, and also the canal/date palm area. 
    ....Trip Report: Israel, November 7-17, 1996 - Juha Piipponen
    ....Trip Report - Israel - March 21 - 28, 1996. This pdf format trip report 
      is available from Birdfinders Holidays. Israel is a favourite destination, and this trip was no exception with 175+ species seem.
    ....Trip Report: Eilat, Israel, November 24-31, 1996 - by Martin Helin
    ....Trip Report: Eilat (Israel) and Petra (Jordan), December 24-31, 1996
      by Pierre Unge
    ....Trip Report: Israel, November 17-24, 1997 - Richard Eden
    ....Trip Report: Eliat, Israel - March 1997 - by Robert Wilton. Late 
      March 1997 saw Ricky Fairhead, Andrew Easton and I hurl away our winter woollies in favour of summer attire when we visited Israel. A late package deal two weeks before the off took us to Eilat on the southern tip of the country where for seven days our bare parts were paraded for all to see in glorious sunshine (arms and legs only!). Eilat is similar to many coastal Mediterranean resorts, but is slightly smaller with many more birds! Its situation at the northern tip of the Red Sea is at a junction point for thousands of birds moving from southern wintering grounds in Africa north into Europe and the Middle East and produces some five-star Arabian specialities - ideal ingredients for an    impressive trip list. 
    ....Trip Report: Israel '98. A trip to Eilat and southern Israel 
      9-23 November 1998, by Richard Fuller & Rebecca Webb. A two-week November trip based in Eilat provided the chance to do a bit of birding, while enjoying a relaxing holiday. I had been to Israel twice before, taking part in the Northern Valleys Raptor Survey, so tailored my birding to catch up with several species I had not yet seen in Israel, mainly southern and winter specialities.
    ....Ornithological Society of the Middle East - Trip Reports - 
      there are 13 additional trip reports on Israel on this site. 
    ....Latest News from Abroad - Israel - this commercial site provides
      up-dated details about birdwatching sites abroad. All of these sites are described fully, with detailed maps, in a series of books entitled `Finding Birds in...' (sometimes referred to as Gostours guides). These notes are intended to supplement the books to provide the most complete and up-to-date service possible.
    ....Israel (& Jordan) Trip March/April 1999 - by Teus Luijendijk. 
      From 28 March to 4 April 1999, I made a short birding trip to Eilat (Israel), with a one day visit to Wadi Rum (Jordan). The main purpose was birding. Eilat is probably the best place to be if you wish to study Western Palearctic (WP) migrants. The site offers good opportunities for watching raptor migration, for getting close views of all kinds of species of (esp. Sylvia) warblers, for watching large numbers of shorebirds, etc.
    ....Birdtrip Report to Israel - December 29, 1996 and January 2-3, 1997- 
      by Harry Lehto.  Five main areas were visited during this short trip. For each site an approximate position (Northing and Easting) within 1km in the coordinate grid in the Survey of Israel is given (eg. Ben Gurion Airport (156, 139)). The sites visited are all located North of Tel Aviv. Of my March 1996 iteneraries only one site, Ma'agan Michael, was revisited. This time the access to the coast was slightly different and the gate was open, enabling birding of all the ponds North of the Kibbutz by the car. 
    ....Trip Report: Eilat - 13th - 20th March  2000, by Steve Bird and  ...
    ....Israel Round Trip - 24 March - 5 April 2000 - Birding trip report by 
      John van der Woude. This is an outstanding four part trip report that can be accessed from John's Home Page. 
    ....Southern Israel Trip Report, 27th March - 13th April 2000 - by James
      Packer. We attended the Raptors 2000 conference in Eilat from 3-7 April, so we took advantage and tagged a week either side.
    ....Trip Report: Some bird sites in Egypt and Jordan, by Anssi Kullberg.
      In this report I intend to very shortly sum up some experiences in certain places in Egypt, Israel, West Bank, and Jordan, concerning spots which are less frequently visited by most birdwatchers. These observations are all from January 2002. 
    Factoids taken from Where to watch birds in Asia  - by Nigel Wheatley

Choose another countryChoose another continentAdd or change a URL

Top of Page

Tours and Guides

...>> A Birding Pal is not a paid guide, but someone who likes to help out of town visitors. You can become a Birding Pal today! Help someone to enjoy your local birding spots and find a pal to help you when you travel. Click here for Israel Birding Pals, a West Bank Birding Pal, or join to be a Birding Pal!
Spur-winged Plover - Photo copyright Jan Kåre Ness
Photo copyright Jan Kåre Ness

Steppe Eagle - Photo copyright Ruud and Kitty Kampf

Photo copyright Ruud and Kitty Kampf
    ....Kibbutz Lotan Birding Tours - We are offering:
      • Fully Guided Bird Tours of Southern Israel
      • Fully Guided Bird Tours of Southern & Northern Israel combined
      • Self-Guided Bird Tours with full board and lodging, plus free advice on birding sites and regularly up-dated information board.
      • Tailor made itineraries for bird clubs and tour companies.
      • Guided day trips to the Negev specialties.
      • Night excursions to see Hume's Tawny Owl and Nubian Nightjar with Hadoram Shirihai can be arranged in season only.
      Full details available from Kibbutz Lotan Birding Tours (e-mail - Prices begin with self-guided tours at $330 dollars per person per week, that's  full board and lodging. Trips into the desert are guided by James Smith, with nine years of Israeli birding experience behind him and the leader of over fifty tours throughout Israel. Call Kibbutz Lotan Birding Tours, D.N.Chevel Eilot, 88855 ISRAEL. Tel:+972 8 63569352 or Fax:+972 8 63569373
    ....Israel Birding with Birdfinders Holidays - Israel is one of the 
      world's finest migration 'hotspots', especially for raptors and storks. Millions of migrant passerines find the green vegetation around Eilat irresistible and stop to feed on their long journey north. Add to this the Middle Eastern specialities that reach the edge of their ranges here and the regularity of vagrants, and Israel's popularity becomes evident. March 23 - 30, 2003.

Choose another countryChoose another continentAdd or change a URL

Top of Page



Black Scrub-Robin - Photo copyright Jan Kåre Ness
Photo copyright Jan Kåre Ness

Little Egret - Photo copyright Vijay Cavale

Photo copyright Vijay Cavale

Bar-tailed Desert Lark - Photo copyright Nick Lowton

Photo copyright Nick Lowton
    **..Israel Guest House - Shavit Zimmers. This guesthouse is located 
      in Arbel village near Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee in Israel. From the nearby Arbel cliff you can see the spectacular migration of birds. Israel is special place where you can see 500 species of birds. The birds' migration route in Israel passes twice a year by Hula valley, Arbel cliff, Jordan valley and Arava area to Eilat in Israel.
    ....Kibbutz Lotan north of  Eilat. Mixed habitats including Oasis-like 
      conditions within the Kibbutz, and also has a bird reserve designed  as a refuge for migrants complete with hide and drinking pool. Also desert mountains and acacia wadis within comfortable walking distance of the lodging. Quetura Sewage Farm nearby offers a 'mini wetland' habitat in the desert. Over 245 species have been recorded in the immediate area since 1995 including several National rarities such as Crested Honey Buzzard, Striated Scops Owl, Pied Stonechat, Dusky Warbler, Mountain Chiffchaff, Hume's Yellow-browed Warbler and Black Bush Robin. Located just North of Km.62 post from Eilat, due east of Quetura junction about 1.5Km from main highway (Route 90). International airports nearby are Ovda (20 minutes) and Eilat (35 minutes). Access is easy by public transport and potential visitors should contact the following for the latest advice. Full address; Kibbutz Lotan Birding Tours, D.N.Chevel Eilot, 88855 ISRAEL. Tel:+972 8 63569352 or Fax:+972 8 63569373. Full details available from James Smith, e-mail -

Choose another countryChoose another continentAdd or change a URL

Top of Page

Endemics and Specialities

in Israel

Information on endemics and specialities is derived from Sibley & Monroe checklists and bird distribution lists in Thayer's Birder's Diary - Version 2.5, supplemented by material found in Where to watch birds in Asia  - by Nigel Wheatley. African speciality birds, while not endemic, are those that can only be found in three or less countries of Africa. Information on endangered birds is derived from the IUCN Red List, Birdlife International, and supporting data bases developed by Ian Patton, of Merlin Species Watcher.  The endemic, endangered and speciality birds may be uncommon, extremely rare vagrants, may be extirpated in the country now or may only be present in migration. However, documented sightings of each species noted below have been made in Isreal. 

Endemics in Israel
Endangered Birds in Israel
(endemics are printed inbold italic)

Breeding Birds

Non-Breeding Birds

___  Ferruginous Pochard
___  Lesser Kestrel
___  Marbled Teal
___  Corn Crake
___  Greater Spotted Eagle
___  Imperial Eagle
___  Pallas's Fish-Eagle
___  Sociable Lapwing
___  White-headed Duck

Other Speciality and Spectacular Birds in Israel
(adapted from Where to watch birds in Asia  - by Nigel Wheatley.)

___ Black-bellied Sandgrouse
___ Blackstart
___ Cream-coloured Courser
___ Crimson-winged Finch
___ Crowned Sandgrouse
___ Cyprus Warbler
___ Dead Sea Sparrow
___ Desert Finch
___ Great Black-backed Gull
___ Green Bee-eater
___ Hooded Wheatear
___ Houbara Bustard
___ Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse
___ Masked Shrike
___ Pale Rosefinch
___ Palestine Sunbird
___ Pin-tailed Sandgrouse
___ Pygmy Cormorant
___ Red Sea Warbler
___ Sand Partridge
___ Sooty Falcon
___ Spotted Sandgrouse
___ Syrian Serin
___ Tristram's Starling
___ Trumpeter Finch
___ White-eyed Gull
___ White-throated Robin

Choose another countryChoose another continentAdd or change a URL

Top of Page

Links checked November 23, 2000