Birding Factoids
436 species
in 57 families

10 of the 11 Arabian 
peninsula endemics 
33 speciality species
12 endangered species

    Saudi Arabia
Checklist of Saudi Arabian BirdsTours and GuidesEco-LodgesSpeciality BirdsMap and General Information
Saudi Arabian Specialities
(Pause your cursor on the photo to see the species name.)
Green Bee-eater - Photo copyright Eric Kleyheeg
Photo copyright Eric Kleyheeg

Collared Pratincole - Photo copyright Tom and Marie Tarrant

Photo copyright Tom and Marie Tarrant

Sooty Gull - Photo copyright Guido Band

Photo copyright Guido Band

Fan-tailed Raven - Photo copyright Eric Kleyheeg

Photo copyright Erik Kleyheeg

Little Bittern - Photo copyright Tom and Marie Tarrant
Photo copyright Tom and Marie Tarrant

Desert Wheatear - Photo copyright Nigel Blake

Photo copyright Nigel Blake

Laughing Dove - Photo copyright Erik Kleyheeg

Photo copyright Erik Kleyheeg
    ....Where to Watch Birds and Other Wildlife in Saudi Arabia - this
      site identifies 19 natural areas in Saudi Arabia, and highlights the bird and animal life to be found at each site. 
    ....Important Bird Areas in Saudi Arabia - Birds diversity is very high 
      because of the zoo-geographical connection of the region to Afro tropical, Pale arctic and Oriental regions, and of the country's location at the crossroad of several migration routes. Nearly 450 species of birds recorded in the kingdom.
    ....Birding in Saudi Arabia - by Alex Kirschel. Arabia boasts a number of
      endemic bird species, meaning that these birds only breed on the peninsula itself. These are the Arabian Red-legged Partridge, Philby’s Partridge, the Arabian Woodpecker, Yemen Thrush, Yemen Warbler, Arabian Accentor; and the finches: Arabian Waxbill, Arabian Serin, Yemen Serin and Yemen Linnet. The 11th likely endemic is the South Arabian Wheatear, depending on its classification as a distinct species. The only area where all these species occur is in Yemen, but South West Saudi Arabia contains all except the Arabian Accentor.
    ....Birds of Western Saudi Arabia (Part One) - Text and pictures by 
      Dr. Graham R. Lobley. The outstanding natural beauty of the landscape of western Saudi Arabia is fully complemented by its varied wildlife. In particular, the region has an impressive variety of bird species, augmented significantly by the twice-yearly migrations of many birds between Africa and their Eurasian breeding areas. This two-part article presents an account of the bird watching year in the west and southwest of the country and describes the principal habitats, both natural and man-made, from the Red Sea eastwards into the Sarawat mountains. Accessible bird watching sites are mentioned, which are typical of the varied habitats of this fascinating region.
    ....Birds of Western Saudi Arabia (Part Two) - by Dr. Graham R. Lobley.
      The unique blend of Palearctic and Ethiopian birds to be found in the west of the Kingdom provides compelling interest throughout the year. It is possible to see around 250 bird species annually in this region of Saudi  Arabia, from Jeddah southwards. The breathtaking scenery, historical interest, superb quiet roads and personal safety are further incentives to explore and document this little-known area.
    ....Harrat Al-Harrah - First National Reserve in Saudi Arabia by 
      Prof. Iyad A. Nader, NCWCD. The reserve offers habitat for more than 50 species of birds of which at least 20 of them are breeding there, including Houbara Bustard, the Golden Eagle, Barbary Falcon, and the Cream-coloured Courser.
    ....Raydah Escarpment - The Unique Cloud Forest of Saudi Arabia - by 
      S. Newton. Pictures by Eichaker & Pambour. Terms such as cloud forests usually evoke images of far-off places at high altitude, such as the Andes of South America or the land of 'Gorillas in the Mist' in central Africa. A similar ecological counterpart is the escarpment juniper forest of the Asir Mountains in south-west Saudi Arabia. 
    ....Raydah Escarpment - the Unique Cloud Forest of Saudi Arabia
      by S. Newton, pictures by Eichaker & Pambour. To date, just over 100 birds species have been recorded in the Reserve but, given that about 500 have been recorded in the Kingdom, diversity of species per se is not what attracts ornithologists. The uniqueness of Raydah is that it is just about the only place in Arabia where virtually all our endemic terrestrial birds occur together.
    ....Birding Observations in Saudi Arabia 1992-1993 - by Tom Tarrant.
      During the period of early-March 1992 to early-October 1993 I was employed with a company working in Riyadh, in the Central Province. Out of work-hours I attempted to observe and record the avifauna of the area and filmed many species on video, some of the better images have been captured as 'stills' and included in these pages.
    ....Trip Report: Al-Jubail (Saudi Arabia), October 1-14, 1999 - by 
      Barnaby Briggs. I visited Al-Jubail on the Gulf Coast of Saudi Arabia. Most birds were seen around the hotel in the early morning. I did manage two days birding: one day at Tarut Island in Tarut Bay (a proposed Important Bird Area of the Middle East), and a short time at an oasis called Musallakh near Jubail.
    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 Saudi Arabian Birding Pals, or join to be a Birding Pal!
Tristram's Starling - Photo copyright Erk Kleyheeg
Photo copyright Erik Kleyheeg
    None - there is no tourism in Saudi Arabia - visitor visas are only issued
      on receipt of a formal letter of invitation. Even birders on business must obtain permits to travel in many areas. 

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         See Tours and Guides above. 

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Endemics and Specialities

in Saudi Arabia

Information on endemics and specialities is derived from Sibley & Monroe checklists and bird distribution lists in Thayer's Birder's Diary - Version 2.05, 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 Saudi Arabia.

Arabian Peninsula Endemics in Saudi Arabia  - No National Endemics
___ Arabian Partridge
___ Arabian Waxbill
___ Arabian Wheatear
___ Arabian Woodpecker
___ Olive-rumped Serin
___ Philby's Partridge
___ Yemen Linnet
___ Yemen Serin
___ Yemen Thrush
___ Yemen Warbler
Endangered Birds in Saudi Arabia
(endemics are printed in bold italic)

Breeding Birds

Non-Breeding Birds

___ Ferruginous Pochard
___ Lesser Kestrel
___ Northern Bald Ibis (Waldrapp)
___ Red Sea Swallow
___ White-eyed Gull
___ Yemen Warbler
___ Yemen Thrush
___ Corn Crake
___ Greater Spotted Eagle
___ Imperial Eagle
___ Pallas's Fish-Eagle
___ White-headed Duck

Other Speciality and Near-endemic Birds in Saudi Arabia
(adapted from Where to watch birds in Asia by Nigel Wheatley.)

___ Abyssinian Roller
___ Arabian Golden-Sparrow
___ Black Scrub-Robin
___ Blackstart
___ Brown Woodland-Warbler
___ Crab Plover
___ Dark Chanting-Goshawk
___ Demoiselle Crane
___ Dunn's Lark
___ Egyptian Nightjar
___ Golden-winged Grosbeak
___ Hamerkop
___ Houbara Bustard
___ Hypocolius
___ Menetries' Warbler
___ Montane Nightjar
___ Nile Valley Sunbird
___ Nubian Nightjar
___ Palestine Sunbird
___ Plain Nightjar
___ Red Sea Warbler
___ Ruepell's Weaver
___ Sand Partridge
___ Socotra Cormorant
___ Temminck's Lark
___ Thick-billed Lark
___ Tristram's Starling
___ Upcher's Warbler
___ Verreaux's Eagle
___ White-eyed Gull
___ White-throated Bee-eater
___ Yemen Accentor
___ Yemen Serin

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Links checked December 15, 2000