Birding Factoids

310 species
in 47 families (underestimate)

No endemic species
12 speciality species
7 endangered species 

CIA Travel AdvisoryChecklist of Jordan's BirdsTours and GuidesEco-LodgesSpeciality BirdsMap and General Information
Syrian Specialities
(Pause your cursor on the photo to see the species name.)
Syrian Serin - Photo copyright Vaughan Ashby
Photo copyright Vaughan Ashby

Syrian Woodpecker - Photo copyright Jean-Sébastien Rousseau-Piot

Photo copyright Jean-Sébastien Rousseau-Piot
    ...Birding Syria - from Birdlife International. Syria is poorly known 
      ornithologically. Many parts of the country have never been visited by birdwatchers, and there has been almost no systematic fieldwork. The number of bird species and their population densities are both relatively low. West Palearctic species predominate, and most of the species from this group which breed are confined to the Jibal al Nusayriyah and Jibal al-Sharqi ranges, the distribution of many extending down to the altitude of Damascus.
    ...Birds of Syria - from Syria On-Line. An introduction to every and each 
      bird that can be found in Syria, either on regular basis, or in exceptional circumstances.  The information presented here is largely based on studies conducted by the Syrian Ministry of State for Environment Affairs, and published jointly with the UN Environment Programme. 
    ...The Annotated Ramsar List: Syrian Arab Republic. Information on the 
      Sabkhat al-Jabbul Nature Reserve. 
    ..."Extinct" Ibis breeding in Syria - Colony of Northern Bald Ibises 
      discovered in Syria - Birdlife International Cambridge, UK, 8th July 2002. 
    ...Trip Report: Syria and Jordan - 8 May – 14 June 1994. By 
      Remco Hofland. A friend and I made a 5- week journey through Syria and Jordan. Our main interest was to visit a number of historical sites, supplemented by some interesting bird areas. My friend wasn't a birdwatcher, but since I did all my birdwatching in sites that were scenically beautiful, he didn't mind. 
    ...Trip Report: Syria - 24 February to 8 March 2002. By David Murdoch.
      Syria is completely off the birding map, with very little information on its avifauna; the distribution maps in bird guides are hopelessly inaccurate and almost the only useful information I could find were the four trip reports on the OSME website and the Birdlife International book on Important Bird Areas of the Middle East (MI Evans, 1994), which makes abundantly clear the huge gaps in our knowledge.
    ...Trip Report: Syria 19th – 26th September 2002, by Dominic Le
      Croissette and Miles Wheeler. The main objective of our trip to Syria was to see Iraq Babbler, a species only recently found to be present along the river Euphrates around Deir-es-Zor, hundreds of miles from known nest sites in Iraq. The prospect of good numbers of migrants and the chance to make an ornithological discovery in this very underwatched country also appealed. Despite its negative image in the West, we found Syria to be among the most friendly countries either of us had ever visited, and almost everyone seemed to go out of their way to make us feel welcome.
    ..."This country has a good road system, a cheap bus network, and 
      taxis which can be hired for the day at reasonable cost. Recommended sites from Where to watch birds in Asia  - by Nigel Wheatley. include:
      • Damascus - The mountains west of Damascus support a good selection of eastern Mediterranean species, including the Syrian Serin and the more widespread but localized Crimson-winged Finch. Birding places include:
        • around the small village of Abu Zad, which lies at 1500 m above the resort of Bludan, 50 km northwest of Damascus;
        • the steep hillside at the northwest end of Wadi al-Qarn on the north side of the Damascus-Beirut road, 1-2 km southeast of Jdeideh; and
        • around Burquesh on Mount Hermon.
      • Tadmur - one of the world's best historical sites, with a large desert oasis - good for migrants. The seasonal salt lake, Sabkhat Muh, and its steppe surrounds, to the south of Tadmur, supports wintering Eurasian Dotterel and Finsch's Wheatear. Species recorded at Qasr el-Hair es-Sharqi, a ruined castle in the desert 35 kilometers northeast of Tadmur, include Lesser Kestrel, Cream-colored Courser, Pin-tailed Sandgrouse, and Temminck's and Desrt Larks.
      • Aleppo to Dayr al-Zawr - From Aleppo, east to the Euphrates River and south along its floodplain to Dayr al-Zawr, there are a number of good birding sites, including:
        • the large salt lake, Sabkhat al-Jabbul, and its steppe surrounds, just south of Jabbulk village, 35 km southeast of Aleppo;
        • Halabiyyat Zulbiyat, 40 km northwest of Dayr al-Zawr on the east bank of the Euphrates;
        • Shumaytiyah, an ox-bow lake 20 km northwest of Dayr al-Zawr;
        • Mayadin Pool, 2 km southeast of Mayadin; and
        • the small marsh some 10 km south of Al-Ashara Bridge, southeast of Dayr el-Zawr, towards the Iraq border.

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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 Syrian Birding Pals, or join to be a Birding Pal!

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Endemics and Specialities

in Syria

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. Information on endangered birds is derived from the IUCN Red List, Birdlife International.  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 Jordan. 

Endemics in Syria
Endangered Birds in Syria
(endemics are printed in bold italic)

Breeding Birds

Non-Breeding Birds

___ Great Bustard
___ Lesser Kestrel
___ Northern Bald Ibis (recently
      discovered colony at Al Badia)
___ Corncrake
___ Dalmation Pelican
___ Imperial Eagle
___ White-headed Duck

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

___ Cream-colored Courser
___ Crimson-winged Finch
___ Desert Finch
___ Houbara Bustard
___ Sand Partridge
___ Syrian Serin
___ Syrian Woodpecker
___ Temminck's Lark
___ Upscher's Warbler
___ White-tailed Lapwing
___ White-throated Robin

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Print and Other Resources

on Syrian Birds and Birding

(links take you to on-line locations where you can order/purchase materials)

AMAZON.COM is the registered trademark of, Inc.
A small portion of your purchase price for any books purchased by following links from this site will go toward supporting the maintenance and development costs of this site.
    ....Birds of the Middle East - by R.F. Porter, S. Christensen, 
      P. Schiermacker-Hansen. If you're going to this region you must buy this book. It is a great break through. Comprehensive and complete, it eliminates the need to carry too many books in the field.
    ....Birds of Israel and the Middle East - by David M. Cottridge, and 
      Richard Porter (Photographer). 
    ....Birds of Lebanon, Syria and Jordan and for Use in the Neighbouring
      Arab States - by S Vere Benson. (February 1984) 

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Links checked February 26,2003