Birdwatching in Jordan


( All the photos of birds published on this page have been taken in Jordan and published on https://www.facebook.com/groups/Jordanbirdwatchers/ )


Glossy Ibis / ph. Rasem KeilaniPalestinian Sunbird / ph. Majdi Eddin Abu-ShehadehGreat Egret / ph. Ramez K. Tamimi


Jordan is a very attractive destination for birdwatchers, as it is located on one of the most important global migratory flyways between Europe, Asia and Africa: the Rift Valley and Red Sea flyway. The diversity of birds in Jordan is enhanced by this variety of provenance, bringing birds of Afro-tropical, Oriental, European and Palaearctic origins. More than 434 bird species have been recorded in Jordan (2013), so that this country is a particularly interesting destination for professional and enthusiasts birdwatchers. 


www.arabnews.comnode1495416middle-east



Imperial Eagle / ph. Fares KhouryWhite Storks / ph. Iyad MustafaSquacco Heron / ph.  Ramez K Tamimi 




The Rift Valley / Red Sea flyway  is the second most important flyway worldwide concerning migratory soaring birds, with 1.5 million species migrating through it. It follows the Jordan Valley through Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine, and then splits into three routes: the first one crosses the Gulf of Suez and continues down to the Nile Valley. The second one goes along the Sinai Peninsula down to the western coast of the Red Sea. The third one follows the eastern coast of the Red Sea. At the Strait of Bab al-Mandeb, the two last routes converge and branch westwards to join the first route in the African Rift Valley. 


www.migratorysoaringbirds.undp.birdlife.orgenflyway



Black Kite / ph. Abdel HadiMarsh Harrier / ph. Hani Kaddumi
Steppe Buzzard / ph. Abdel Hadi

Following the 2013 Record, Jordan counts:

- 434 bird species (the list grows and constantly evolve due to improvement in the records), belonging to 66 families.

- 350 of those species are passage migratory species

- 69 species are breeding residents


The favorable seasons from birdwatching in Jordan are autumn, when birds fly southwards (among them, flocks of Steppe Eagles, Montagu's Harriers, PallidHarrier...) , winter as some migratory species stay and breed in Jordan, and spring, when birds travel northwards (among them Steppe Buzzard, Honey Buzzard, Steppe Eagle, Levant Sparrowhawk...).The summer seasons counts less visitors. Moreover, the large diversity of landscapes and biotopes in Jordan provides habitats to many indigenous species that can be spotted all over the year. 


Cream-colored Courser / ph. Mohammed AsfourCommon Sandpiper / ph. Abdel HadiTemminck's Lark / ph. Abdel Hadi





Map of Jordan indicating the natural reserves and the Important Birds Area / http://migratorysoaringbirds.undp.birdlife.org 
Jordan counts 12 nature reserves where theoretically hunting is prohibited and 27 zones identified as "Important Bird Areas" for the preservation of the biodiversity. 

Biotopes are shares between different ecological regions which support the presence of diverse habitats: the desert areas, the steppes, the wooden highlands, the tropical Rift Valley and rocky mountains. 

As Jordan is a small country, it is easy for birdwatchers to pass from a biotope to another and spot a large diversity of birds during a same trip.

 

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater / ph. Fares KhouriChukar / ph. Abdel HadiBlue Throat  / ph. Mohammed Asfour



Birds play a major role in numerous ecological processes. They contribute to pollination, to seed dispersion, to pest control. They are also indicator of the environmental viability.Despite of an interesting biotopes diversity and large desert areas, birds species undergo severe threats and pressures in Jordan, mainly due to human activities. Many habitats zone are located outside of the protected areas and in a relatively small country with a fast growing population, preserved biotopes face more and more limitations. 

Birds are impacted by: 

- urban development

- development of intensive agriculture, inducing simplification of landscapes, destruction of natural habitats and food resources, use of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers.

- decreasing of woodlands (sometimes replaced by cultivated orchards. In this case, traditional farming can contribute to the preservation and diversity of certain species).

- decrease of natural water bodies

- hunting, collection and trapping

- wind turbines located at the proximity of migration corridors (affecting especially the soaring birds)

- invasive species 


The below catalog gives some species we can see in the different key areas, with a mention about the favorable time for spotting them. It is not exhaustive and can be improved over time. Clicking on the birds names will open the information pages on Wikipedia. 


Areas


Birds species

Best chances to be spotted

Ajloun forests and northern highlands

Blackbird

all year round

Chaffinch

winter

Chukar

all year round

Eurasian Jay

all year round

Great Spotted Cuckoo

summer

Linnet

all year round

Tawny Owl

all year round


Aqaba cost and mountains

Sand Partridge

all year round

Slender-billed Gull

all year round

White-eyed Gull

all year round


Aqaba Birds Observatory

Arabian Babbler

all year round

Arabian Warbler

all year round

Collared Flycatcher

migration seasons

Egrets

migration seasons

Ferruginous Duck

winter

Glossy Ibis

migration seasons

Graceful Prinia

all year round

Heron

migration seasons

Namaqua Dove

all year round

Pygmy Cormorant

winter

Thrush Nightingale

winter

Wader

migration seasons

White-crowned Black Wheatear

all year round


Azraq oasis

Crane

winter

Egyptian Nightjar

all year round

Honey Buzzard

migration seasons

Little Crake

migration seasons

Marsh Harrier

winter

White-eared Bulbul

all year round


Eastern Badia

Basalt Wheatear

all year round

Black-bellied Sandgrouse

all year round

Cinereous Vulture

migration seasons

Cream-coloured Courser

all year round

Dark Morph Desert Lark

all year round

Hoopoe Lark

all year round

Imperial Eagle

winter

Levant Sparrowhawk

migration seasons

Marsh Harrier

winter

Pallid Harrier

winter

Pharaoh Eagle Owl

all year round

Pin-tailed Sandgrouse

all year round

Steppe Eagle

winter

Temminck’s Horned Lark

all year round

Thick-billed Lark

all year round


Dana and Southern highlands

Chukar

all year round

Desert Lark

all year round

Eastern Olivaceous Warbler

summer

Griffon Vulture

all year round

Hume’s Owl

all year round

Lesser Kestrel

summer

Long-legged Buzzard

all year round

Masked Shrike

summer

Sand Partridge

all year round

Short-toed Snake Eagle

summer

Steppe Buzzard

migration seasons

Syrian Serin

all year round

Tristram’s Starling

all year round

White-crowned Wheatear

all year round

Woodchat Shrike

summer


Dead Sea Rift margins and upper wadies

Alpine Swift

summer

Blackstart

all year round

Blue Rock Thrush

migration seasons

Calandra Lark

all year round

Cyprus Warbler

winter

Dotterel

winter

European Serin

winter

Finsch's Wheatear

winter

flycatchers

migration seasons

Grey Wagtail

winter

Griffon Vulture

all year round

Imperial Eagle

winter

Isabelline Wheatear

all year round

Kurdish Wheater

winter

Mourning Wheatears

all year round

Pied Wagtail

winter

Sky Lark

winter

Steppe Eagle

winter

Stonechat

winter

Syrian Serin

winter


Dead Sea Rift margins and upper wadies

Arabian Babbler

all year round

Barbary Falcon

all year round

Blackstart

winter

Blue Rock Thrush

winter

Bonelli’s Eagle

all year round

Cyprus Warbler

winter

Desert Lark

all year round

Hooded Wheatear

all year round

Kentish Plover

all year round

Lesser Kestrel

summer

Little Green Bee-eater

all year round

Little Ringed Plover

summer

Pallid Swift

all year round

Pied Kingfisher

all year round

Pharaoh Eagle Owl

all year round

Red-rumped Swallow

all year round

Rock Martin

all year round

Sand Partridge

all year round

Scrub Warbler

all year round

Sinai Rosefinch

all year round

Spectacled Bulbul

all year round

Spur-winge Lapwing

winter

White-crowned Wheatear

all year round

White-throated Kingfisher

all year round


Jordan Valley (North)

Barn Swallow

migration seasons

Black Kite

winter

Blackstart

all year round

Cattle Egret

all year round

Common Snipe

migration seasons

Corn Bunting

all year round

Crested Lark

all year round

European Bee-eater

summer

Graceful Warbler

all year round

Great Grey Shrike

migration seasons

Hoopoe

all year round

Lesser Kestrel

summer

Little Bee-Eater

all year round

Little Owl

all year round

Masked Shrike

summer

Night Heron

all year round

Palestinian Sunbird

all year round

Pied Kingfisher

all year round

Red-Throated Pipit

migration seasons

Rufous Bush Robin

summer

Scops Owl

all year round

Squacco Heron

migration seasons

Syrian Woodpecker

all year round

White Breasted Kingfisher

all year round

Whitethroat

summer

Woodchat Shrike

migration seasons

Yellow Vented Bulbul

all year round


Madaba  area

Arabian Babbler

all year round

Black Kite

winter

Black-eared Wheatear

summer

Calandra Lark

all year round

Corn Bunting

all year round

Desert Finch

all year round

Great Grey Shrike

all year round

Levant Sparrowhawk

migration seasons

Linnet

all year round

Little Green Bee-eater

all year round

Little Owl

all year round

Long-billed Pipit

all year round

Mourning Wheatear

all year round

Scrub Warblers

all year round

Shorttoed Lark

summer

Spectacled Warbler

all year round

Steppe Eagle

migration seasons

Stone Curlew

migration seasons

Striolated Bunting

all year round

Temminck's Lark

all year round

Trumpeted Finch

all year round

White Stok

migration seasons


Petra

Fan-tailed Raven

all year round

Honey Buzzard

migration seasons

Hume’s Owl

all year round

Sinai Rosefinch

all year round

Sooty Falcon

summer

Steppe Buzzard

migration seasons

Tristram’s Starling

all year round


Safawi

Basalt Wheatear

all year round

Black Bellied Sandgrouse

all year round

Pallid Harrier

winter


Shaumari

Bee-eaters

all year round

Cream-coloured Courser

all year round

Eagle owl

all year round

Harriers

migration seasons

Isabelline Wheatear

all year round

Short-toed Lark

summer

Temminck’s Horned Lark

all year round


South Dead Sea

Bee-eaters

all year round

Dead Sea Sparrow

all year round

Nubian Nightjar

migration seasons

Pied Kingfisher

all year round

White Breasted Kingfisher

all year round


Wadi Araba

Arabian Babbler

all year round

Arabian Warbler

all year round

Cream-coloured Courser

all year round

Hoopoe

all year round

Levant Sparrowhawk

migration seasons

Sand Partridge

all year round


Wadi Butum

flycatchers

migration seasons

shrikes

all year round

warblers

all year round


Wadi Rum

Brown-necked Raven

all year round

Hooded Wheatear

all year round

Hume’s Tawny Owl

all year round

Sand Partridge

all year round

Scrub Warbler

all year round

Sinai Rosefinch

all year round

Sooty Falcon

summer

Trumpeter Finch

all year round


Yarmouk Valley

Black Kite

winter

Black Stork

migration seasons

Greater Spotted Cuckoo

summer

Honey Buzzard

migration seasons

Pallid Harrier

winter

Syrian Woodpecker 

all year round

White Stork

migration seasons



Pied Wagtail / ph. Fares KhouryScrub Warbler / ph.  Fares KhouriKingfisher / ph. Ebrahem Habibeh


Kestrel / ph. Ramez K TamimiLittle Owl / ph. Abdel HadiLittle Green Bee-Eater / ph. Abdel Hadi


References: 

- Wild Jordan, RSCN, Birdlife International: The State of Jordan's Birds, 2013

- Fares Khoury: A Birdwatcher's Guide to Madaba, 2017

- Ian Andrew: The Birds of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, 1995

- http://migratorysoaringbirds.undp.birdlife.org/sites/default/files/jordan_birding_brochure.pdf 

- Banan Al Sheikh, Masashi Kumamotott, Abdel Rahman Sultan: Fied Guide to Wild Life of the Sharhabil Bin Hassneh EcoPark, 2012

Mobile App: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.kilani.birds_of_jordan