View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Birds of the United Arab Emirates

A review of the recently republished book, A Photographic Guide to Birds of the Middle East, has been posted on the site, Reviewing Books and Movies.

An article about Birds in Fujairah has been posted on the site Fujairah in Focus.

This newly revised publication focuses on bird species in the United Arab Emirates, thanks to a couple of essays by Simon Aspinall.

Some salient points about birds and bird watchers in the Emirates include the following:
* In the growing volume of tourists to the UAE there is an ever-increasing number of tourists who come primarily to watch birds
* The UAE boasts a bird checklist of 433 species of which 300 are migrants (usually in the winter) with 130 species that breed in the Emirates
* The best time to look for birds in the UAE is in the cooler months between October and March (this period corresponds with the time when there is high migratory traffic)
* There is no endemic species in the UAE i.e. birds that exist only in the UAE and nowhere else in the world
* As in other spheres in the UAE, the bird population is a place where ‘east meets west’, making bird watching a rich and rewarding pastime
* The UAE government has transacted legislation to protect birds in special bird areas e.g. Ras al Khor (head of the Dubai Creek)
* There are at least twenty important bird areas in the UAE where one can see a variety of bird species

The contributors to the book, Birds of the Middle East, are keen to see people added to the small group of 8-10 active bird watchers resident in the UAE. To this end the book lists the Bird Watcher groups and gives the email addresses of where you can send the records of the birds you spot and where you might get news about bird watching tours.

It is worth having a look at the web site Birding the United Arab Emirates and checking the photos and the ‘This Month So Far’ with the list of birds sighted and the popular areas for watching.

Geoff Pound

Image: The hoopoe. This bird is the only bird to be named in the Koran but in this last month it has been seen many times and in many places in the UAE, including the Dubai Pivot Fields, the Jebel Ali Golf Resort, the Mushrif Palace Gardens (Abu Dhabi), the Fujairah National Dairy Farm and our front lawn.