Birding Factoids

358 species
in 50 families

No endemic species
23 speciality species
5 endangered species 
2 week trip expectation -
about 190 species

    United Arab
Checklist of United Arab Emirates BirdsTours and GuidesRare Bird AlertEco-LodgesSpeciality BirdsPrint ResourcesMap and General Information
Check out Guiliano Gerro and Silvio Sommazzi's UAE Birds
Paul and Andrea Kelly's Birds of the Emirates
as well as Teus Luijendijk's Emirates Birds
UAR Specialities
(Pause your cursor on the photo to see the species name.)
Arabian Babbler - Photo copyright Trident Press
Photo copyright Trident Press

Small Buttonquail - Photo copyright Graham Cooke

Photo copyright Graham Cooke

Greater Sand Plover - Photo copyright Trident Press

Photo copyright Trident Press
    ....United Arab Emirates Bird Watching - Part 1 (Abu Dhabi)
      by Peter Hellyer / Part 2 (Dubai) by Colin Richardson. The United Arab Emirates has been acknowledged as one of the top four destinations in the whole of the Middle East for bird-watching tours.
    ....Natural Emirates - Birds - At any one time during migration periods 
      (July - November and April - May) probably in excess of 250,000 waders are present on intertidal areas of the country's Gulf coast. Taking into account the likely turnover of shorebirds on this Eurasian/West Asian - Arabian Gulf - African flyway, the mudflats of the southern Gulf probably support several million individuals over the course of a year. Provides information onthe type of birds to be found in the various habitats within the UAR. Includes many photos of key species.
    ....Natural Emirates Wildlife Tour - Clicking on this map will take you to
      more detailed maps, with information on the location and wildlife to be found there. 
    ....Birds of Dubai - Wader watchers are in their element in the northern
      Emirates where a visit to one of the three major wetlands on the Gulf coast should produce an existing abundance of palearctic shorebirds.
    ....Trip Report(s): Dubai, UAE: 16 January 2005, by Charlie Moores.  ....Sir Bani Yas Private Reserve, An Arabian Ark - Pictures by Hanne
      & Jens Eriksen. The success of Sir Bani Yas as a nature reserve is further underlined by the number of wild bird species that made it a temporary or permanent home. Details of sightings of around 170 species are now kept in the files of the Emirates Bird Records Committee. See also this site.
    ....Khor Kalba Reserve - Text by Marijcke Jongbloed, pictures by Hanne
      and Jens Eriksen. The Most Southern Tip of the UAE's Indian Ocean coastline ends in an extensive mangrove marsh. The mud at low tide reveals myriads of pretty crabs, while in the shady canopy of the trees a unique small bird makes its home. The white-collared kingfisher is a breeding resident here - and only here. Many other birds like reef herons and booted warblers also nest here. Khor Kalba is a magical place, a place of exquisite beauty, a place worthy of protection.
    ...Greater Flamingos at the Al Ghar Lakes - Greater flamingos have for
      many years been recorded wintering in shallow lagoons and creeks along the UAE's Arabian Gulf coast, with numbers of up to 800 being seen in Khor Dubai, and lesser numbers of a hundred or more at Ramtha, in Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and the western island of Sir Bani Yas.
    ...United Arab Emirates Trip Report: April 13 -20, 2000 - by Ivan 
      Steenkiste. (Follow the Trip Report link.) The weather was excellent but because of the high temperatures in the area, the number of birds was not so high as reported in other trip reports for periods between e.g. December and late February. The roads are of very good quality, even those through the desert. Traffic in Dubai is intense and be sure to drive carefully at the many roundabouts. 
    ....United Arab Emirates Trip Report - 26 Apr 1996, by Henk Hendriks. ....Trip Report: United Arab Emirates, January 7-14, 1996 - by Joakim
      Hellkvist and Elisabeth Djerf. The roads are extremely good if there are any. There are only two choices, very good roads or no roads at all. You don't need a 4-wheel drive unless you want to go off-road into
      the desert. The country is small and the distances you need to drive is never more than 200 km (one way). See also Joakim's April, 1996 trip report.
    ....Trip Report: United Arab Emirates, March 9-17, 1996 - by Tim Earl. 
      Every birding trip to a new country starts in the hotel grounds at day-break and this was no exception.
    ....Birdwatching in the United Arab Emirates - This site contains a trip
      report from the United Arab Emirates in December 1996 and January 1997. Petter Haldén, Fredrik Malmaeus, Mikael Malmaeus and Mats Waern watched birds for two weeks in sites like Khor Dubai, Khor al Beidah, Al Wathba, Khor Kalba and Ramtha tip. We saw about 173 different species, for example Black-crowned sparrow-larks, Great knots and Crab plovers. 
    ....Trip Report: United Arab Emirates, April 3-18, 1998 - by Gerd Rotzoll.
      Since we hadn't been birding in the UAE before, we tried to see most of the local specialties. The following notes are therefore written from a first-time visitor's viewpoint, i.e. they contain only Middle East specialties and species otherwise rare in Central Europe. A full species list is given at the end. 
    ....Trip Report: United Arab Emirates, April 2000 - by Ivan Steenkiste.
    ....Trip Report: United Arab Emirates (with a little Oman) - by Don
      Roberson. This is a summary of a five-day visit to the United Arab Emirates, including a very brief visit to adjacent Oman, from 6-10 March 2001. The United Arab Emirates is a popular vacation itinerary for European birders with its desert specialties and impressive migration of Asian breeders. 
    ....Trip Report: Report on birding trip to the UAE, from 1st March 
      2003 to 8th March 2003. Observers: Didier Vieuxtemps, Thomas de Thier, Jacques Leclercq, Marc Ameels. 
    ....United Arab Emirates Trip Report - you can find a UAR trip report on
      John Girdley's BirdTours website by following the Middle East/UAR link from the main page.

    Factoids taken from Where to watch birds in Asia  - by Nigel Wheatley

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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 U.A.E. Birding Pals, or join to be a Birding Pal!
Terek Sandpiper - Photo copyright Trident Press
Photo copyright Trident Press
    ....Twitcher's Guide - For information on specially arranged half-day, 

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Rare Bird Alert


Lesser Crested Tern - Photo copyright Trident Press
Photo copyright Trident Press
    ....Check here for a weekly up-date on what's happening among the 
      United Arab Emirates' bird-life. Courtesy of Emirates News, P.O.Box 791, Abu Dhabi, UAE

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Endemics and Specialities

in United Arab Emirates

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 United Arab Emirates. 

Endemics in United Arab Emirates
Endangered Birds in the United Arab Emirates
(endemics are printed in bold italic)

Breeding Birds

Non-Breeding Birds

None  ___ Ferruginous Pochard
___ Greater Spotted Eagle
___ Imperial Eagle
___ Lesser Kestrel
___ Pallas's Fish-Eagle

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

___ Blue-cheeked Bee-eater
___ Chestnut-shouldered Petronia
___ Crab Plover
___ Cream-coloured Courser
___ Great Black-headed Gull
___ Great Knot
___ Greater Hoopoe-Lark
___ Green Bee-eater
___ Hooded Wheatear
___ Hume's Wheatear
___ Hypocolius
___ Indian Roller
___ Menetries' Warbler
___ Pallid Scops Owl
___ Persian Shearwater
___ Plain Leaf-warbler
___ Red-tailed Wheatear
___ Sand Partridge
___ Socotra Cormorant
___ Sooty Gull
___ Sykes Warbler
___ Upcher's Warbler
___ White-throated Robin

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Print and Other Resources on Birds

and Birding in U.A.E.

(logos and links take you to on-line locations where you can order/purchase these resources)
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.
    ....The Shell Birdwatching Guide to the United Arab Emirates - A new
      96-page guide to birdwatching in the United Arab Emirates is published this month which will prove essential reading for all resident and visiting birders. The majority of the guide is given over to a step-by-step description of a total over 50 of the UAE's main birdwatching sites, each with a simple map of the site and how to find it, along with details of what birds to expect there, and when. 

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Links checked October 13, 2001