Working for birds in Africa



Wed, 02/06/2013 - 11:36 -- abc_admin

The following records of sightings are largely unconfirmed and have been published in the Bulletin of the African Bird Club for information only. Some of these records were originally published in Dutch Birding, Birding World and Sandgrouse.

from ABC Bulletin 25.1

A survey of the birds breeding at Lake Nasser, carried out from 22 April to 6 May 2017, found many large mixed heron colonies (with Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax, Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis, Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides, Little Egret Egretta garzetta, Grey Heron Ardea cinerea, Purple Heron A. purpurea and Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus), new colonies of Gull-billed Terns Gelochelidon nilotica, a colony of Little Terns Sternula albifrons far from its other known breeding sites in Egypt, and several nests with eggs or chicks of African Pied Wagtail Motacilla aguimp between Aswan and Abu Simbel (JHe). In the northern part of Lake Nasser south to Gerf Hussein, c.50 Kittlitz’s Plovers Charadrius pecuarius were counted on 6–9 December. Also in December, c.500 Gull-billed Terns were roosting on a sandbank in the Nile River at Aswan (per Dutch Birding 40: 48–51).

from ABC Bulletin 24.2

Reports from the period January– May 2017 include the following. An adult White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus photographed at Bir Shalatyn on 25 March is the first for the country (per www.hbw. com/news/first-country-reports). Also there, 19 Lappet-faced Vultures Torgos tracheliotos were counted on 13 February (per Dutch Birding 39: 126). A juvenile Yellow-billed Stork Mycteria ibis was observed at Ras Gharib, on the Red Sea coast, on 19 April, and two adult and one juvenile Three-banded Plovers Charadrius tricollaris at Aswan on 4 May (per Dutch Birding 39: 205). The third Black-throated Thrush Turdus atrogularis for the country was photographed at Wadi Lahami on 25 April (MN per IM); the previous records, both from Sinai, involved a male collected in autumn 1833 and another male seen in January 1982 (Goodman, S. & Meininger, P. 1989. The Birds of Egypt)—the species breeds from the Urals to north-central Siberia and north-west Mongolia, and its non-breeding range extends from southern China to the Middle East (it is an uncommon winter visitor to the Arabian Peninsula), with vagrants recorded in Israel and Europe. An aberrant House Sparrow Passer domesticus rufidorsalis photographed at Lake Nasser on 1 May (Fig. 16; JH) was found to represent a case of phaeomelanism; phaeomelanin (a brownish melanin) in the bib is not uncommon in House Sparrow, but this is a rather extreme example (HvG; cf. van Grouw, H. 2012, What colour is that sparrow? A case study: colour aberrations in the House Sparrow Passer domesticus. Intern. Stud. Sparrows 36: 30–55).

from ABC Bulletin 24.1

An Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus was photographed at Elba National Park on 11 May 2016 (per Dutch Birding 38: 330).

from ABC Bulletin 23.2

The first Red-headed Bunting Emberiza bruniceps for Egypt was a male observed at Marsa Alam on 7 May (per Dutch Birding 38: 253). During a survey of the Lake Nasser area between 24 April and 7 May, >500 Yellow-billed Storks Mycteria ibis were counted and two new breeding species for the country, Grey Heron Ardea cinerea and Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus, were found in mixed heronries with Black-crowned Night Herons Nycticorax nycticorax, Cattle Egrets Bubulcus ibis, Squacco Herons Ardeola ralloides, Little Egrets Egretta garzetta and Purple Herons Ardea purpurea. A large population of treebreeding Clamorous Reed Warblers Acrocephalus stentoreus was also discovered (JH, HE, EF, MMe & MH). The third Pied Crow Corvus albus for Egypt was photographed at Wadi Lahami on 5 May; previous records were in 2010 and 2015 (per Dutch Birding 38: 250).

from ABC Bulletin 23.1

The following reports are from the period May–August 2015. At least 140 Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles exustus were counted near Sandafa, Minya, on 9 August. At Wadi Lahami, Red Sea province, one or two Yellow Bitterns Ixobrychus sinensis were singing on 27–28 June. If accepted, a putative Yellow Bittern seen and heard near Luxor on 11 August would be the first for the Nile Valley. A Tawny Eagle Aquila rapax was photographed at Marsa Alam on 8 May. At least 160 Saunders’s Terns Sternula saundersi were present at their colony near Ras Sudr, Sinai, on 8 August. Mangrove Olivaceous Warblers Iduna pallida alulensis were found to be common in mangroves south of Safaga, Red Sea. 

from ABC Bulletin 22.2

A Streaked Shearwater Calonectris leucomelas was observed 20 km south of Safaga on 30 April 2015. Records from the Shams Alam - Wadi Gemal National Park area on 10 - 13 March included a Caspian Plover Charadrius asiaticus, a male and a female Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka, a Ménétries’s Warbler Sylvia mystacea and four Isabelline (Daurian) Shrikes Lanius isabellinus

from ABC Bulletin 22.1

Saunders’s Terns Sternula saundersi bred again at Ras Sudr, Sinai, where breeding was first recorded in 2012. 

from ABC Bulletin 21.2

A Yellow Bittern Ixobrychus sinensis was singing along the Red Sea coast at Wadi Lahami on 15 April 2014; the species was discovered there on 21 April 2012. The next day, two Goliath Herons Ardea goliath were photographed at Hamata mangroves. An eagle photographed near Ras Shuqeir, c.120 km north of Hurghada, on 3 May 2013 has been identified as a juvenile pale-morph Wahlberg’s Eagle Hieraaetus wahlbergi, the first for the Western Palearctic. Two Sooty Falcons Falco concolor were hunting above Hamata mangroves on 17 April - a very early date. A Rosy Starling Pastor roseus was at El Gouna on 7 - 8 May.

from ABC Bulletin 21.1

The first Grey-necked Bunting Emberiza buchanani for Egypt was photographed at Hurghada on 29 March 2013, whilst two African Openbill Storks Anastomus lamelligerus photographed at Kom Ombo on 31 May constitute the second record for the country; the first was at Luxor on 26 May 2009. In July 2013, the following were reported. At Abu Simbel, two Pink-backed Pelicans Pelecanus rufescens, >100 Yellow-billed Storks Mycteria ibis, six African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris and an African Mourning Dove Streptopelia decipiens were present on 19th - 22nd. Two Three-banded Plovers Charadrius tricollaris were found at a new site near Aswan on 19th. On 25th, the first breeding of Saunders’s Tern Sternula saundersi was confirmed at Ras Sudr, Sinai, where 20 - 25 pairs and a few young were photographed (the species was first found there in July 2012). Up to 50 Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles exustus were observed at Sandafa, Minya, on 24th.

from ABC Bulletin 20.2

A Senegal Thick-knee Burhinus senegalensis was seen at a golf course along the Red Sea coast of El Gouna on 23 March 2013; this is the second record for this locality - the species is rarely observed away from its breeding sites along the Nile. In Minya governorate, 61 Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles exustus were counted on 3 February, with a maximum of 80 near Sandafa on 6-7 April. An African Mourning Dove Streptopelia decipiens was seen again at Abu Simbel in January. The first Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni for Egypt was photographed at Dahab, Sinai, between 18 and 23 February. 

from ABC Bulletin 20.1

Goliath Heron Ardea goliath was again observed at Hamata mangroves south of Marsa Allam on 17 September 2012. Three-banded Plovers Charadrius tricollaris also continue to be regularly encountered, with individuals being seen at Abu Simbel (e.g. three on 22 September) and Aswan (one on 23 September). A first-winter Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus was seen at Hamata dock on 17 September.

from ABC Bulletin 19.2

Records from the period late December 2011 - April 2012 include the following. Three-banded Plovers Charadrius tricollaris are now regularly encountered, with individuals being seen at Tut Amon, Aswan and Abu Simbel, where the species has bred in recent years. Seven of the 8 - 9 African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris photographed on 28 December south of Kom Ombo, were observed again on 10 January; two were still present on 25 February. During the third week of January, a group of nine was present at Daraw, also along the Nile, between Luxor and Aswan. The most remarkable observations of the period involved Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles exustus near Sandafa on 18 March (four in flight) and near Bahnasa / Minya on 21 March (25 individuals, photographed), as these probably concern the Nile Valley subspecies floweri, which was considered extinct - the species’ last record for Egypt was on 4 March 1979. Two African Mourning Doves Streptopelia decipiens at Abu Simbel, first found on 29 December 2010, were still present on 28 April. Single Citrine Wagtails Motacilla citreola were recorded on 5 February at Aswan (photographed), and on 7 April at Shamms Alam and north of Marsa Alam; there are fewer than ten previous records. What appears to be the second Oriental Skylark Alauda gulgula for Egypt was photographed at the Mövenpick hotel, El Gouna, on 27–31 March. A Black Scrub Robin Cercotrichas podobe was seen at Berenice, on the Red Sea coast, on 19 March.

from ABC Bulletin 19.1

Records from the period May – December 2011 include the following. In May, six Three-banded Plovers Charadrius tricollaris (including at least two juveniles) were reported from at Tut Amon, Aswan, with an adult and a juvenile at Abu Simbel; c.70 Yellow-billed Storks Mycteria ibis were also present there.

Species recorded during a birding trip on 16–29 September included six Lappet-faced Vultures Torgos tracheliotus at Bir Shalatayn, ten Sooty Falcons Falco concolor on the Hamata archipelago, Greater Painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis at Abassa and on Crocodile Island, Luxor, 63 Crab Plovers Dromas ardeola at Hamata, ten Kittlitz’s Plovers Charadrius pecuarius and a Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus at Wadi Natrun, a juvenile Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus at Hurghada Sewage Farm, 21 African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris and 11 African Pied Wagtails Motacilla aguimp at Abu Simbel and in the Lake Nasser area, five male and two female Namaqua Doves Oena capensis at the Camel Market in Daraw (with 41 there on 27 November), two African Mourning Doves treptopelia decipiens near Abu Simbel (still present at the year-end), and a flock of 25 African Collard Doves S. roseogrisea at Sheikh Shazli.

On 3 November, two Namaqua Doves were seen at Luxor golf course, whilst up to eight African Skimmers were reported just south of Kom Ombo on 28 December.

from ABC Bulletin 18.2

In December 2010 - April 2011 the following were reported. A Little Crake Porzana parva was at Sharm El Sheikh ponds on 5 April, along with a flock of 20 Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse Pterocles lichtensteinii. Three-banded Plovers Charadrius tricollaris were again breeding at Tut Amon, Aswan, on 23 March when two adults and two juveniles were seen; the first record was in 1993 and the first breeding was in April 2009. An adult Franklin’s Gull Larus pipixcan photographed at Crocodile Island, Luxor, on 12 March was the second-ever Nearctic vagrant for Egypt.

A Bruce’s Green Pigeon Treron waalia photographed along the Nile at Luxor, Upper Egypt, on 3 January was the first for the Western Palearctic. More than 60 Namaqua Doves Oena capensis were at the Daraw Camel Market near Kom Ombo on 8 April. A displaying pair of African Mourning Doves Streptopelia decipiens photographed at Abu Simbel on 29 December was the first record for Egypt, and the birds were seen again between at least 21 March and 8 May. Four African Collared Doves S. roseogrisea were observed at Abu Simbel on 9 April, with a further six at Wadi Gamal National Park on 12 April. A Black Scrub Robin Cercotrichas podobe was photographed at the Fantazia Resort, Marsa al Alam, on 5 - 12 December. A single Streaked Weaver Ploceus manyar was found at Abassa on 14 April.


Noteworthy records from March - April 2010 include the following. A Great Bittern Botaurus stellaris was at Abu Simbel on 5 April. A group of 46 Black Storks Ciconia nigra was roosting in the desert north of Hurghada on 26 April. At El Gouna golf course, two Black-winged Pratincoles Glareola nordmanni and a Caspian Plover Charadrius asiaticus were observed on 4 April. Another Black-winged Pratincole was found at Abassa on 17 April. A Savi's Warbler Locustella luscinioides was at Sharm el Sheikh sewage works on 12 April and a male Rüppell's Warbler Sylvia rueppelli near Feiran oasis on 9 March. At Gebel Alba, a Rosy-patched Bushshrike Rhodophoneus cruentus was found in Wadi Adeib in April, with a pair in Wadi Akwamatra. Eleven Sinai Rosefinches Carpodacus synoicus were at St. Katherine monastery, Sinai, on 12 March, with a House Bunting Emberiza striolata also there on 15 April. A Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra was at Naama Bay on 10 March..

In June - December 2010 the following were reported. During a trip to Gebel Elba from 29 November to 1 December 2010, several Hume's Owls Strix butleri were heard and seven wheatear taxa were recorded, including tens of Red-tailed Wheatears Oenanthe xanthoprymna, one of the commonest birds at this site in winter, and a male 'Persian' Wheatear O. xanthoprymna chrysopygia, the second for Egypt. There were five species of Sylvia warblers, including at least two Cyprus Warblers S. melanothorax and three Ménétriés's Warblers S. mystacea. Local fishermen confirmed the long suspected breeding of Crab-plover Dromas ardeola on small sandy islets off Marsa Shaab, south of Shalatein, describing the nests and breeding behaviour in a colony found during summer 2010. A dead roller, photographed on the coast at Adal Deib, was subsequently identified as the first Broad-billed Roller Eurystomus glaucurus for Egypt. A Hypocolius Hypocolius ampelinus was observed on the coastal plain on 1 December. A Mourning Wheatear Oenanthe lugens of the so-called Basalt morph, photographed at Shalatein on 2 December, represents the first record for Egypt and possibly for Africa. A Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus was photographed at Shalatein on 15 November and a Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni at El Gouna on 9 October. Also at El Gouna, at least six different Namaqua Doves Oena capensis were photographed between 29 September and 9 October. The first Yellow-throated Petronia Gymnoris xanthocollis for Egypt was photographed at Marsa Alam on 6 June.

In February - May 2010 the following were reported. A total of seven Striated Herons Butorides striata was seen at six sites on 1–15 April. An adult male Crested Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus flew north over Hurghada sewage plant on 4 April. In early April, at least 20 Lappet-faced Vultures Torgos tracheliotus were counted at Bir Shalatein. At least four (possibly five) Three-banded Plovers Charadrius tricollaris, including a pair with a full grown young, were present at the fish ponds south of Aswan on 1 May. A Short-eared Owl Asio flammeus was observed at Wadi Lahami on 7 April. On 3 March, a Black Scrub Robin Cercotrichas podobe was seen at Wadi Gimal. The first Pied Crow Corvus albus for Egypt was photographed at El Gouna on 11 April. A Grey Hypocolius Hypocolius ampelinus was digiscoped in Nabq National Park on 11 February.

In April–October 2009 the following were reported. A Red-billed Tropicbird Phaethon aethereus was seen near Surnaka Island, south of the Ras Banas peninsula, on 7 August. Two Goliath Herons Ardea goliath were seen again north of Bir Shalatin in October. An African Openbill Anastomus lamelligerus photographed on Crocodile Island, Luxor, on 26 May will be the first for Egypt, if accepted. At El Gouna golf course, at least three Black-winged Pratincoles Glareola nordmanni were seen on 9 April and a Caspian Plover Charadrius asiaticus on 9–13 May. Up to three Three-banded Plovers C. tricollaris were found at Aswan on 9–10 September. The first Richard’s Pipit Anthus richardi reported in autumn 2009 was as early as 12 September.

Records from July -December 2008 not mentioned in previous Recent Reports include the following. At Abbasa fish farms, Sharqia, c.250 Glossy Ibises Plegadis falcinellus, including some recently fledged juveniles, were observed on 11 July; breeding of this species in the area was suspected some 15 years ago. Also recorded were up to 1,500 pairs of Squacco Herons Ardeola ralloides, several thousand Cattle Egrets Bulbulcus ibis in various colonies, up to 1,000 pairs of Little Egrets Egretta garzetta in scattered nesting sites, ten Grey Herons Ardea cinerea, up to ten apparently nesting Collared Pratincoles Glareola pratincola and c.50 pairs of Lesser Masked Weavers Ploceus intermedius.

At Sharm el Sheikh sewage pools, on 27 November, the following raptors were seen: a juvenile Eurasian Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus, two juvenile Cinereous Vultures Aegypius monachus (a rare passage migrant and winter visitor), a Short-toed Snake Eagle Circaetus gallicus (late date), a Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus, a first-year Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca and an adult Bonelli’s Eagle Hieraaetus fasciatus.

Two White-tailed Lapwings Vanellus leucurus were at Fares, on a marsh next to the Nile, on 24 December. A Little Swift Apus affinis was seen at Sharm el Sheikh on 22 November; this is an unusual date for this mainly spring passage migrant. A Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva was at Lahami Bay Hotel, near Hamata, on the Red Sea coast, from 30 October to at least 4 November. A Palestine Sunbird Nectarinia osea was observed at St Katherine’s monastery on 26 November, whilst a flock of 15 Indian Silverbills Lonchura malabarica was at Sharm el Sheikh on 21 November.

In February - May 2009 the following were reported. On the Red Sea coast, a Striated Heron Butorides striata was seen 30 km south of Damietta on 13 March and two Goliath Herons Ardea goliath were at Wadi Lahami on 1 March, with one there on 1 May. Two Lappet-faced Vultures Torgos tracheliotus were 5 km north of Berendice on 28 February, and at least eight were seen at Shalatein, with at least nine there on 1 May. About 50 Kittlitz’s Plovers Charadrius pecuarius were counted at Wadi el Natrun on 23 May. Two Three-banded Plovers C. tricollaris were still present on 30 April at Tut Amon village, Aswan, where two were first seen a few years ago; two juveniles were also claimed on that date. A Lesser Sand Plover C. mongolus was found at Wadi Lahami on 1 May and a Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius at Abbasa, Sharqia, on 24 April. Seven White-tailed Lapwings in Dakhla oasis on 2 March, with five there on 3 March, probably from the same group, were the first for the Western Desert; this species is a scarce but regular passage migrant and winter visitor in Egypt, mainly recorded in the Nile Valley but also on the Red Sea coast. At least four African Collared Doves Streptopelia roseogrisea and a Namaqua Dove Oena capensis were observed at Shams Alam, Red Sea, on 1 May.

A Grey Hypocolius Hypocolius ampelinus was claimed from Wadi Gimal, Red Sea, on 2 March. A male Red-tailed Wheatear Oenanthe xanthoprymna stayed at El Gouna farm, 20 km north of Hurghada, on 23–26 February at least. On 2 March, a Moustached Warbler Acrocephalus melanopogon was found at Dakhla oasis; this might be the first for the Western Desert. An Isabelline Shrike Lanius isabellinus was at Shams Alam on 1 May. A House Crow Corvus splendens was seen near Aswan on 25 March; this is remarkable, as the sedentary populations occur chiefly around Suez.

In July - December 2008 the following were reported. A juvenile Striated Heron Butorides striata was at Hurghada on 13 November. On 29–30 July, an adult Goliath Heron Ardea goliath was again seen at Wadi Lahami, where the species successfully bred in April 2006. A Steppe Eagle Aquila rapax and c15 African Skimmers Rynchops  lavirostris were observed on the Nile below Edfu on 5 November. The two Three-banded Plovers Charadrius tricollaris first reported from Tut Amon resort village, Aswan, on 24 February were still present on 2 August. A snipe, presumed to be either a Pintail Snipe Gallinago stenura or Swinhoe’s Snipe G. megala, was photographed at Sharm el Sheikh, Sinai, on 22 October.

A Common Gull Larus canus was seen north of Aswan on 9 December. On 19 November, at least two Siberian Buff-bellied Pipits Anthus rubescens japonicus were present at Sharm el Sheikh. If accepted, a Wattled Starling Creatophora cinerea on the Red Sea coast at Lahami Bay Hotel, near Hamata, from 30 October to at least 4 November, and a juvenile Rock Sparrow Petronia petronia at Hurghada on 13 November are both first records for Egypt. Three Trumpeter Finches Bucanetes githagineus were observed at Komombo temple on 8 November.

In July 2007 - April 2008 the following were reported. A Brown Booby Sula leucogaster flew past Ras Mohammed on 3 November and two were at Hamata Pier on 21 January, with one at Wadi Gimal on the same day. Seven Striated Herons Butorides striata seen at the First Cataract Island, Aswan, on 5 December, is a relatively high number. At a roost at Abassa 4,557 Cattle Egrets Bubulcus ibis were counted on 20 July. A Goliath Heron Ardea goliath was seen in Wadi Lahami on 30 October, with two there on 22 January. Three immature White-fronted Geese Anser albifrons arrived at Nabq Bay, south Sinai, from the north-east on 17 January and were still present on 27 January. A Bonelli’s Eagle Hieraaetus fasciatus was found in mountains by the Qena–Safaga road on 26 July and another near Dudaim on 17 January. An adult Verreauxs' Eagle Aquila verreauxii flew over Na’ama Bay water treatment ponds on 3 December.

Purple Swamphens Porphyrio porphyrio were seen at Ain Sukhna, Suez, on 17 March. Two Three-banded Plovers Charadrius tricollaris stayed near Tut Amon resort village at Lake Nasser from 24 February. On 17 January, 138 Eurasian Dotterels C. morinellus were found near Dudaim and a White-tailed Plover Vanellus leucurus south of Edfu on 28 February. On the Qu’lan Islands, c.500 pairs of White-cheeked Terns Sterna repressa and 42 pairs of Bridled Terns S. anaethetus were counted on 22 July. On 24 July, a flock of 69 African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris was observed on the Nile Islands.

A pair of African Collared Doves Streptopelia roseogrisea with seven Eurasian Collared Doves S. decaocto was seen at Wadi Lahami on 23 July. A pair was also at Abu Ghusan on the same date; the species appears well established in desert fringes and mangroves in south Sinai, with, e.g. up to seven at Nabq Bay golf course, two in the Nabq Protected Area on 21 January, and at least ten around St. Catherine’s Monastery on 25 January. A pair of Namaqua Doves Oena capensis was in the Abu Simbel area on 25 July and a female was seen 15 km north of Safaga, at Soma Bay, on 13 October; the species was common at Nabq Bay, where a nestling fledged on 24 January, and several were seen around St. Catherine’s Monastery on 25 January. In southern Egypt, several were observed during April. On 24 October, a Ring-necked Parakeet Psittacula krameri was seen briefly at Hurghada. A Pallid Scops Owl Otus brucei photographed on Philae Island on 6 December was the fourth record for Egypt of this probably underrecorded species. Four Egyptian Nightjars Caprimulgus aegyptius were at the water purification works in Abu Simbel at dusk on 23 July.

An Oriental Skylark Alauda gulgula was claimed from Nabq Bay golf course, south Sinai, on 15 January. At least nine African Pied Wagtails Motacilla aguimp were recorded in the Abu Simbel area on 24 July. A Richard’s Pipit Anthus richardi was photographed at El Gouna on 3 October. Hypocolius Hypocolius ampelinus occurred at Mövenpick Resort Hotel, El Quseir, on 14 February (two) and near Tut Amon resort village on 16 February (three). On 4 February and 14 March, Black Scrub Robins Cercotrichas podobe were seen at El Gouna. Two Fieldfares Turdus pilaris perched in palm trees must have made an incongruous sight at the Nabq Bay golf course on 26 January. An Upcher’s Warbler Hippolais languida was seen in the gardens of the Albatross Resort Hotel in Hurghada on 13 August. On 8 March, a female Cyprus Warbler Sylvia melanothorax was trapped at the Hurghada sewage works and two were seen in Nabq. An African Desert Warbler S. (nana) deserti was identified north of Hamata Pier on 22 January. On 21 July, 3,811 House Crows Corvus splendens were counted leaving a roost in Suez town. Two Cape Crows C. capensis were reported at Shalateen, southern Red Sea, with Brown-necked Ravens C. ruficollis on 29 November. On the same day, 66 Brown-necked Ravens were found at Ras Garib checkpoint.

In May - November 2007, the following were reported. In northern lake Nasser, three Pink-backed Pelicans Pelecanus rufescens and 12 Yellow-billed Storks Mycteria ibis were c.20 km north-east of Garf Husein on 23 May, whilst six Pink-backed Pelicans and 11 Yellow-billed Storks were at Abu Simbel on 26–27 June, and 20 and 101, respectively, on 17 July. A Striated Heron Butorides striata flew across the Nile at Zamalek on 27 November.

An Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus flew south-west over Sharm el Sheikh, South Sinai, on 27 October and 23 Lappet-faced Vultures Torgos tracheliotus were at Shalatee on 28 June. A pair of Bonelli’s Eagles Hieraaetus fasciatus, a rare resident, was seen at Sharm el Sheikh on 18–19 May. At Abu Simbel, three African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris were observed on 26–27 June and 17 July. Two Three-banded Plovers Charadrius tricollaris were at Tut Amon on Lake Nasser, Aswan, on 25 October. At Hamata mangroves, a Namaqua Dove Oena capensis was seen on 25 June. A Desert Eagle Owl Bubo ascalaphus was seen at night in the centre of El Gouna, north of Hurghada, and later photographed roosting on the terrace of a house during the day in early October.

Three African Pied Wagtails Motacilla aguimp were at Abu Simbel on 26–27 June. At Sharm el Sheikh, an Oriental Skylark Alauda gulgula and a Siberian Buff-bellied Pipit Anthus rubescens japonicus were found on 4 November (with another Buff-bellied Pipit over Ras Muhammed on 1st), and five Richard’s Pipits Anthus richardi on 2nd. A Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus was seen at St Katherine on 31 October and a Steppe Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis pallidirostris at Nabq on 2 November.

In October 2006 - February 2007, the following were reported. Fourteen White-tailed Lapwings Vanellus leucurus were counted at Lake Qarun, 2 km from Faiyum, between 21 January and 16 February. In the Red Sea mountains 30 km west of Hurghada, Hume’s Owl Strix butleri was heard on 24 December. An immature Black Scrub Robin Cercotrichas podobe was at Marsa Alam, Wadi Gamla, southern Red Sea, on 13 - 14 November, again later the same month and on 1 January; this would constitute the second record for the country and the first outside Abu Simbel. Also there was a Hypocolius Hypocolius ampelinus on 30 December - 1 January. The first Pied Stonechat Saxicola caprata for Egypt, if accepted, was photographed at El Gouna, Red Sea, on 2 - 3 October. On 27 October, Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus was reported at Aswan; this would be another first for Egypt, if accepted as a wild bird.

The first Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii for Egypt, a bird photographed on Crocodile Island, Luxor, on 24 April 2004, was published in 2006 (Alula 12: 114–119).

Reports from the period March - July 2006 include the following. Two Pink-backed Pelicans Pelecanus rufescens were seen at Abu Simbel on 10–11 April. Also there in April were up to 25 Yellow-billed Storks Mycteria ibis, with at least 38 on 19 July. Two Green-backed Herons Butorides striata in the Abassa region on 19 March were probably the first for the Nile delta. Single Goliath Herons Ardea goliath were seen at Wadi Lahami on several dates in March and May, with an immature there on 14–15 July, and at Shalatein on 22 May. At the latter, up to 28 Lappet-faced Vultures Torgos tracheliotus were counted in April–May.

A Baillon’s Crake Porzana pusilla was watched at Abu Simbel on 2–3 April. On 20 July, an adult Long-tailed Skua Stercorarius longicaudus was observed at Lake Nasser. African Collared Doves Streptopelia roseogrisea were reported from Abu Simbel (one on 30 April) and north of Marsa Alam (up to four in March–May). At least three African Pied Wagtails Motacilla aguimp were seen at Abu Simbel on 10–11 April.

Records from the period November 2005 - April 2006 include the following. A Red-billed Tropicbird Phaethon aethereus was at Hurghada on 25 February. A Green-backed Heron Butorides striata and two Goliath Herons Ardea goliath were found at Wadi Lahami and Marsa Hemira mangroves on 7 February. Two Three-banded Plovers Charadrius tricollaris were seen in the Aswan area on 25-30 January; at least one was still present on 10 February. A first-winter Kittlitz's Plover C. pecuarius was observed on Crocodile Island, Luxor, on 19 November. A pair of African Collared Doves Streptopelia roseogrisea was displaying 23 km north of Marsa Alam on 21 March. At El Gouna, north of Hurghada, a Richard's Pipit Anthus richardi was seen on 23 March, with two there on 9-12 April.

Records from the period September 2005 - January 2006 include the following. An adult Goliath Heron Ardea goliath and a first-winter Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus were at Wadi Lahami on 6 November. Twenty Red-breasted Geese Branta ruficollis were observed from a cruise boat on the Nile at Esna, in late November. At Ain Sukhna, an adult Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga was seen on 30 December and 2-4 January, and an immature and four adult Steppe Eagles A. nipalensis on 2 January. At least 29 Lappet-faced Vultures Torgos tracheliotus were counted at Ber Shalatan on 18 September. A Demoiselle Crane Anthropoides virgo was seen in a flock of 130 Common Cranes Grus grus at Hurghada on 10 October. A female Namaqua Dove Oena capensis was photographed at Wadi Gama on 19 October. The latter species was also reported from Hurghada airport during October. A Red-tailed Wheatear Oenanthe xanthoprymna was observed at Giza pyramids on 16 November.

Records from the period December 2004 - March 2005 include the following. A White-breasted Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis was at Nuweiba, south Sinai, on 23 December. In January, four Namaqua Doves Oena capensis were reported at Kom Ombo, a Great Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga and c.40 White-tailed Lapwings Vanellus leucurus along the Nile on 27th, a male Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka at Abu Simbel on 24-25th and an Isabelline Shrike Lanius isabellinus at Crocodile Island, Luxor, on 29th. A male Caspian Plover Charadrius asiaticus was at El Gouna on 14 March.

Records from April 2005 include two Pink-backed Pelicans Pelecanus rufescens and 15 Yellow-billed Storks Mycteria ibis at Lake Nasser on 6-7th, an immature Great Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga at Ain Sukhna on 17th, a summer-plumaged Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus at a fish pond near Lake Faiyum on 20th, a Namaqua Dove at Hurghada on 13th, an adult Pharaoh's Eagle Owl Bubo ascalaphus with a chick at Steppe pyramid, Saqqara, on 19th, a Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola at Nuweiba, on 22nd, and a female / immature Red-tailed Wheatear Oenanthe xanthoprymna at St Katherine on 17th.

The following records are from June - October 2004. Four Pink-backed Pelicans Pelecanus rufescens and 40 Yellow-billed Storks Mycteria ibis were at Abu Simbel on 23 June. Two Little Crakes Porzana parva were found at Crocodile Island on 30 September and 1 October. A Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni was at El Gouna golf course on 25–26 September. On the Red Sea coast, nine White-tailed Lapwings Vanellus leucurus and five Terek Sandpipers Xenus cinereus were observed at Hamata on 26–29 September, while single Namaqua Doves Oena capensis were occasionally seen at Bir Shalatein and Hamata throughout the period. A Black Scrub-Robin Cercotrichas podobe was noted at Bir Shalatein on 28–29 September (this is only the second for Egypt; the first was at Gebel Elba in November 2000). Two clumps of tamarisk 20 km north of Hamata held c70 Orphean Warblers Sylvia hortensis crassirostris and three Barred Warblers S. nisoria on 21 August.

During a Sooty Falcon Falco concolor Baseline Breeding Survey at Wadi El Gemal National Park (WGNP), Red Sea Governorate, Egypt from 3 to 10 September 2004, c150-170 breeding pairs of Sooty Falcons F. concolor were recorded on Wadi El Gemal Island plus an additional 21 breeding pairs on three of the four islands of the Qulan Archipelago. On 9 September the first known probable breeding Sooty Falcons F. concolor were noted within the interior of WGNP along the Gebel Sartut Range. One was harassing a rare soaring Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos (the last reported observation of this species in Egypt was in November 2000). A second Sooty Falcon F. concolor approached a soaring Lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus. Earlier in the week on 5 September c90 Crab-plovers Dromas ardeola were noted along the mud flats of the Harmata coastal mangrove section of WGNP.

The following records are from October 2003 to April 2004. Along the Red Sea coast, an alleged Frigatebird Fregata sp. flew above Dahab on 23 April. Three Ruddy Shelducks Tadorna ferruginea were at Dashour Lake, near Cairo on 6 December. An adult Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus was seen south of Shalateen in mid-December. Lappet-faced Vultures Torgos tracheliotus were observed in Wadi Gamel on 28 October (two) and at Gebel Elba in mid-December (20). Also in Wadi Gamel on 28 October were a Verreaux's Eagle Aquila verreauxii (representing one of the most northerly records in Egypt) and a pair of Bonelli's Eagles Hieraaetus fasciatus. A Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga was noted at Dashour Lake, near Cairo on 6 December. Single Caspian Plovers Charadrius asiaticus were near Shalateen and at Wadi Adieb on 15 December. At Hamata mangroves, on 20 March, a small curlew in a flock of flying Eurasian Curlews Numenius arquata was possibly a Slender-billed Curlew N. tenuirostris; it had a clean white underwing and large rounded flank spots; the call was described as co-lii co-lii, resembling Eurasian Curlew N. arquata but weaker and higher pitched. A Namaqua Dove Oena capensis was in the garden of the Shams Allam Hotel on 26 October. Three Hume's Tawny Owls Strix butleri were heard at Gebel Elba in mid-December. Six Pied Kingfishers Ceryle rudis were at Lahami Bay, 20 km north of Berenice, on 1 January.

A Long-billed Pipit Anthus similis was singing in the Gebel Elba area in mid-December. On the Red Sea coast, an Ethiopian Swallow Hirundo aethiopica was claimed from Shams Alam on 19 March (reportedly seen briefly but well in flight). Unusual wintering warblers at Gebel Elba in mid-December included two Orphean Sylvia hortensis, twenty Cyprus S. melanothorax and three Desert Warblers S. nana. Desert Warblers S. nana were also recorded at Wadi Gamel (one on 10 December) and at Lahami Bay, 20 km north of Berenice (daily from 29 December to 5 January, with a maximum of six on 31 December). A Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva was at Wadi El Gemal Marsh on 26 October with another there on 28 October. An Isabelline Shrike Lanius isabellinus was at the checkpoint south of Marsa Allam on 26 October, with another at Qalun village on 11 December; three were wintering at Gebel Elba. House Crows Corvus splendens were seen at Ain Sukhna on 14 November (six) and at Hurghada on 15 November (three); one at Qalun village on 11 December had reportedly been in the area for a year. A juvenile Rose-coloured Starling Sturnus roseus was observed at Lake Qarun on 1 November. Approximately ten Red Avadavats Amandava amandava, including a nest-building pair, were at Lake Qarun, 3.8 km east of Shakshuk village, in early November.

The following records are from March to September 2003. Two Pink-backed Pelicans Pelecanus rufescens and 45 Yellow-billed Storks Mycteria ibis were at Abu Simbel in mid May. At the same locality, a Great White Egret Egretta alba possibly of the sub-Saharan race melanorhynchos (with all-black legs) was noted on 23 September. Single Lammergeiers Gypaetus barbatus were noted at Sheikh Shazli on 19 March and at Gebel Elba on 15 June. Four Lappet-faced Vultures Torgos tracheliotus were seen at Sheikh Shazli on 19 March, 50+ at Shalatein in mid May, with 65 there on 13 June and 35+ on 18 September. Sooty Falcons Falco concolor were observed at Hamata (five) and at Abu Simbel (three) in mid May, with six at the latter locality on 24 September. Also at Abu Simbel, three Greater Painted-snipes Rostratula benghalensis were observed on 21 September. Nine Crab-plovers Dromas ardeola were at Hamata on 15 June, with no less than 144 there on 17 September, including pairs with begging juveniles; a pair with a juvenile was found at Abu Ghusun mangrove, a few kilometres north of Hamata, on 19 September. At Abu Simbel, 15 Senegal Thick-knees Burhinus senegalensis and 11 Kittlitz's Plovers Charadrius pecuarius were seen in mid May; at least 13 Kittlitz's Plovers C. pecuarius were there in late September. At Hamata, at least 120 Greater Sand Plovers C. leschenaultii and between 4 and 7 Terek Sandpipers Xenus cinereus were counted on 17 September. Two White-tailed Lapwings Vanellus leucurus were on El Gouna golf course on 25 September. Fifteen Sooty Gulls Larus hemprichii were at Hamata in mid May. An African Skimmer Rynchops flavirostris reported at Abu Simbel in mid May was assumed to be breeding; one was also seen there on 23 September. Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse Pterocles lichtensteinii were relatively common in the deserts of the newly established Wadi el Gemal-Hamata Protected Area in June. African Collared Doves Streptopelia roseogrisea were recorded at Sheikh Shazli (30+ on 19 March) and at Shalatein (three in mid May; seven on 18 September). Also at the latter locality were 14 Namaqua Doves Oena capensis, with one at Abu Simbel on 22 September. In mid May, four Pharaoh's Eagle Owls Bubo ascalaphus were seen at Abu Simbel, 12 Black-crowned Sparrow Larks Eremopterix nigriceps at Shalatein, and 12 African Pied Wagtails Motacilla aguimp, two Olive-tree Warblers Hippolais olivetorum and a Rose-coloured Starling Sturnus roseus again at Abu Simbel, with 20+ African Pied Wagtails M. aguimp there in late September. Single first-winter Steppe Grey Shrikes Lanius meridionalis pallidirostris were claimed from El Gouna on 16 September and from Abu Simbel on 22 September.

Records from the period October 2002 to March 2003 include the following. A Great Bittern Botaurus stellaris was seen at Lake Qarun on 29 December. A Great White Egret Egretta alba was at Abu Simbel on 18 March. A total of 65 Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus were at several localities along the Nile between Luxor and Aswan on 20 and 21 October, with 32 at Luxor on 19 March. At Salathein, 31 Lappet-faced Vultures Torgos tracheliotus and one Eurasian Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus were seen on 21 March. A late pale-morph Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus was at Gabel Asfar on 25 December. An immature Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca was north-west of Naama Bay on 13 November. A Little Crake Porzana parva was observed just south of Aswan on 5 October and another on an island in the local nature reserve the next day. At El Gouna, 300 Common Cranes Grus grus were seen on 16 March. A Three-banded Plover Charadrius tricollaris was found at El Gouna golf course on 13 March; this appears to be the fourth for Egypt and the Western Palearctic. Two White-tailed Lapwings Vanellus leucurus were on the Nile between Luxor and Kom Ombo on 4 January. Seven Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus were found along the Bilbeis to Abassa road in the eastern Nile delta on 26 December. A Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus was at Hurghada on 16 March. Great Black-headed Gulls Larus ichthyaetus were noted at Lake Quarun on 29 December (at least 14), north of Ras Gharib on 31 December (62), at Hurghada on 1 January (5) and at Zafarana on 2 January (4). In total, 21 Greater Crested Terns Sterna bergii were seen between Ain Sukhna and Ras Gharib on 31 December, with ten in the Hurghada area on 1 January, and 28 at El Gouna on 21 March. At least 200 White-winged Terns Chlidonias leucopterus were in the Lake Qarun area on 29 December. At Aswan, two African Collared Doves Streptopelia roseogrisea and a European Turtle Dove S. turtur were present from 1 to 3 January. Also there was an Egyptian Nightjar Caprimulgus aegyptius on 5 October. Six White-throated Kingfishers Halcyon smyrnensis were counted at Gabel Asfar on 25 December, and from 20 to 25 along the Bilbeis to Abassa road with 60 Pied Kingfishers Ceryle rudis on 26 December. A Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla was at Wadi el Natrun on 27 December. African Pied Wagtails Motacilla aguimp were noted at Aswan on 4 October and at Abu Simbel on 18 March. Five Moustached Warblers Acrocephalus melanopogon were at Lake Qarun on 29 December. A Ménétries's Warbler Sylvia mystacea was found at Aswan from 1 to 3 January, a Cyprus Warbler S. melanothorax at the Wadi Hagul road on 3 January, and a Desert Warbler S. nana north of Hurghada on 2 January. Two Orphean Warblers S. hortensis and a first-winter Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva were at Giftun Village, Hurghada on 30 December, a late date. The pair of Hooded Crows Corvus corone cornix reported on 25 December 2001 were in the same territory at Giftun Village, Hurghada, and five together were presumed to be a family party with the previous year's young. A female Dead Sea Sparrow Passer moabiticus was at Abu Simbel on 18 March. A Desert Sparrow Passer simplex was claimed from Farafra Oasis on 14 February, after a major weather system with strong south-westerly winds had moved in two days earlier; all previous Egyptian records are from the Gebel Uweinat area in the extreme south-west.


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BAHA el DIN, S.M. (1999) Directory of Important Bird Areas in Egypt, 113 pp, several maps and line drawings. BirdLife International and Palm Press, 34 El Mansour Muhammad Street, Zamalek, Cairo 11211, Egypt. ISBN 9-7750-8925-5.

BAHA el DIN, S.M. Chapter on Egypt pp 241-264 in FISHPOOL, L.D.C. and EVANS, M.I. editors (2001) Important Bird Areas in Africa and Associated Islands: Priority sites for conservation. Newbury and Cambridge, UK. Pisces Publications and BirdLife International (BirdLife Conservation Series No.11).

BAHA el DIN, S.M. & BAHA el DIN, M. (2001) Status and distribution of Hume's Tawny Owl Strix butleri in the Eastern Desert of Egypt ABC Bulletin 8(1) pp 18-20.

BirdLife International (2000) Threatened Birds of the World. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

BRUUN, B. and BAHA el DIN, S.M. (1994) Common Birds of Egypt The American University in Cairo Press ISBN: 9-7742-4239-4.

GOODMAN, S.M., MEININGER, P.L., BAHA el DIN, S.M. and KHOUNGANIAN, E. (1989) The Birds of Egypt Hardcover - 572 pages Oxford University Press. ISBN: 0-1985-7644-7.

GOSNEY, D. (1993) Finding Birds in Egypt Paperback Gostours ISBN: 1-8981-1003-4.

PORTER, R. and COTTRIDGE, D. (2001) A Photographic Guide to the Birds of Egypt Paperback - 144 pages New Holland Publishers (UK). ISBN: 1-8597-4512-1

SALAMA, W. & GRIEVE, A. The Zaranik Experience, Ornithological Society of the MIddle East


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Much of the conservation effort in Egypt has focused on the establishment of a network of protected areas in order to protect the best known sites. So far, 21 protected areas have been declared in Egypt with a land area of 78,000 km2 or some 8% of the total area of the country. The Government of Egypt has a stated objective to protect 15% of the land area.

Egypt has two designated Ramsar wetland sites. Lake Bardawil which is two interconnected hypersaline lagoons consisting of islands and peninsulas. The site provides important spawning area for fish, supports commercially important fish populations, and is an important wintering and staging area for about 500,000 birds. Lake Burullus is a shallow, saline lagoon containing numerous islands and islets connected to the sea by a narrow channel. The area provides important wintering, staging and breeding habitat for birds.

In common with many countries in Africa, Egypt has a number of environmental issues: agricultural land being lost to urbanisation and windblown sands; increasing soil salination below Aswan High Dam; desertification; oil pollution threatening coral reefs, beaches, and marine habitats; other water pollution from agricultural pesticides, raw sewage, and industrial effluents; very limited natural fresh water resources away from the Nile which is the only perennial water source; rapid growth in population overstraining the Nile and natural resources. Many of these issues as well as sports and food hunting have a direct impact on Egypt's Important Bird Areas.

Egypt is party to a number of International conventions including Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands. The Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol has been signed but not yet ratified.

In summer 1994, two ornithological surveys were undertaken of some of the islands north of Hurghada, at the Gulf of Suez mouth in the Egyptian Red Sea. Their primary objective was to ascertain the number and species of breeding seabirds.

Books & Sounds

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If you are planning to bird in North Africa then a good Western Palearctic guide will suffice. The Collins guide, in any of its forms, or the Lars Jonsson guide are probably the most comprehensive.


Book image: 
Book info: 
Collins Bird Guide (2nd edition), Lars Svensson, Killian Mullarney and Dan Zetterström, HarperCollins, Softback, Hardback and Large format hardback.
Book description: 

The most complete field guide to the birds of Britain, Europe, North Africa, most of the Middle East, the Canaries and Madeira. Written by one of Europe's leading ornithologists Lars Svensson (with a translation by David Christie) and illustrated by two of the world's finest bird illustrators - Killian Mullarney and Dan Zetterström. This book provides all the information needed to identify any species at any time of year, with detailed text on size, habitat, range, identification and voice.

Accompanying every species entry is a distribution map and colour illustrations (over 3500 in all) to show the species in all the major plumages (male, female, immature, in flight, at rest, feeding). The book is fully integrated, so that all this information appears on one spread, the ideal structure for use in the field. Each group of birds has an introduction, which covers the major problems involved in identifying or seeing them: how to organise a sea watching trip, how to separate birds of prey in flight, which duck hybrids can be confused with which species, etc.

The combination of definitive text, up-to-date distribution maps and superb illustrations, all in a single volume, makes this book the ultimate field guide, essential on every bookshelf and birdwatching trip.

Book image: 
Book info: 
Birds of Europe with North Africa & The Middle East, Lars Jonsson, Helm, Softback and Hardback.
Book description: 

Still one of the better field guides. Covers all but a few of the Western Palearctic's breeding birds. 400 superb colour plates by the author Lars Jonsson.

Book image: 
Book info: 
Finding Birds in Egypt, Dave Gosney
Book description: 

June 1993. Detailed hand-drawn maps and descriptions of sites. 36 pages.

Book image: 
Book info: 
Bird Songs of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, Andreas Schulze & Karl-Heinz Dingler, Edition Ample, 2 MP3 Discs.
Book description: 

2,817 sound recordings of the songs, calls and other sounds of 819 bird species. The birds are systematically arranged so similar species can be easily compared.

MP3 Tags include the French, German, English and scientific name although this information is not easily accessible and it is difficult to navigate through the sounds using this information. The MP3 product still requires the use of the booklets for indexing and explanatory notes. A printed index in German, English and French is provided (although the English index uses the complete name so "Long-tailed Duck" is indexed under "L" and not "D" as in "Duck, Long-tailed"). A booklet providing details of the recordings is available on the DVD in PDF format.

Each bird species has one to five separate, consecutive tracks or MP3 files. This enables you to choose the calls separately from the songs, for example, which in practice brings obvious advantages.


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Birding tours

Birdfinders and Rockjumper organise birding tours to Egypt.


We know of no birding guides in Egypt.


Egypt has good air connections with many European and African cities. Many flights arrive in Cairo but increasingly at Alexandria, Luxor, Aswan, Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh. These airports are served by a number of smaller carriers and charter companies with direct connections to Europe. Other connections from elsewhere in Africa and the Middle East include the bus from Israel via the Gulf of Aqaba or the southern edge of the Gaza Strip, and ferries from Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Egypt has a very good system of public and private transport and some 75% of the road network is paved. It also has over 5,000 km of railways and 3,500 km of waterways. Domestic air travel is clearly the quickest way to travel internally and other transport options include buses, trains and boats, and perhaps even camels, donkeys and horses. Although car hire is available, driving in Egypt is very challenging so chauffeur driven vehicles and other transport is recommended.


Egypt is one of Africa's safer countries as witnessed by the thousands of tourists who visit the country each year. It is however worth consulting your national foreign office websites such as US Travel and UK FCO for the latest safety and travel information before travelling. It is vital that you do not under-estimate the danger of being in the sun too long and it is worth using a sun-block and wearing a hat. You should also drink plenty of water, certainly a few litres a day. Egypt is not a malaria zone nor are tropical diseases a concern.


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Egypt is an important travel destination and one of Africa's most visited countries. Many people plan a holiday to Egypt for more than birdwatching and there is much to satisfy their requirements whether their interests are ancient architecture, history, diving or a river cruise. Fortunately for birdwatchers, many of the locations for such activities coincide with good areas for birds. A visit to the pyramids offers the possibility of some desert birding and watching soaring migrants at Suez. The Red Sea is a good place to sea gull and tern species as well as spring migrants. An Upper Nile cruise gives the chance of combining antiquities with waterbirds. Sinai offers the opportunity to see birds unlikely to be found elsewhere in the country.

Birding can be done in Egypt at any time although a key consideration for visiting birders and especially those from more northerly countries are the high temperatures in summer. Spring and autumn migration periods are popular because of the possibility of seeing large numbers of species, and the weather in winter can still be good with the chance of large numbers of waterbirds.

Zaranik has several miles of a beautiful sandy beach, excellent weather and thousands of birds flying past all day on visible migration?


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Country checklist and status


We are delighted that our Corporate Sponsor iGoTerra has made its country checklists, including subspecies (IOC or Clements) as well as all other species groups like mammals, butterflies etc. available through the ABC website. The only thing required is a Basic membership / registration which is free of charge. Go to Egypt checklists. If you are already a member of iGoTerra, you will be taken directly to the country page. In case you are not a member, you will be redirected automatically to the registration form and from there can go straight to the country page.

More than 470 bird species have been recorded in Egypt, most of which are non-breeding migrants of Palearctic origin. About 150 species can be considered resident breeding birds although some of these migrate further south during the winter.

Endemic species

There are no endemic species in Egypt.

Near endemic species (found in 3 or less African countries)

There are no near endemic species in Egypt

One of the rarer birds found in Egypt is Hume's Tawny Owl Strix butleri which is also found in perhaps 5 or 6 countries including Israel and Jordan. The findings of field surveys are reported in the article Status and distribution of Hume's Tawny Owl Strix butleri in the Eastern Desert of Egypt (BAHA el DIN, S.M. & BAHA el DIN, M. 2001).

Threatened species

Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus Vulnerable
Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris Vulnerable
Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotus Vulnerable
Greater Spotted Eagle* Aquila clanga Vulnerable
Imperial Eagle* Aquila heliaca Vulnerable
Lesser Kestrel* Falco naumanni Vulnerable
Corncrake* Crex crex Vulnerable
Saker Falcon Falco cherrug Endangered
Houbara Bustard Chlamydotis undulata Vulnerable
Syrian Serin Serinus syriacus Vulnerable

* species for which Egypt is significant. In addition, Egypt is very important for the near-threatened White-eyed Gull Larus leucophthalmus as the Egyptian Red Sea islands hold the largest known breeding population.

The lists of species have been compiled from a number of sources including the African Bird Club, BirdLife International, and Birds of the World Version 2.0 1994-1996, Dr. Charles Sibley and Thayer Birding Software, Ltd. For further information on Egypt's threatened species, see BirdLife International.

Important Bird Areas

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Egypt has a considerable range of habitat and vegetation which support in turn a diversity of fauna. It lies at the junction of four bio-geographical regions: Sahara-Sindian which is represented in the vast deserts; Iran-Turanian which occupies a small area in the Sinai highlands; Mediterranean which occupies a small area along the Mediterranean coast; and Afrotropical.

The Nile supports most of the country's wetlands which are some of Egypt's most important habitats supporting the greatest diversity and density of bird species. The major inland wetland areas are as follows: the Bitter Lakes; Wadi El Natrun; Lake Qarun; Wadi El Rayan Lakes and Nile river and Lake Nasser. There are six major coastal lagoons on the Mediterranean: Bardawil; Malaha; Manzala; Burullus; Idku and Maryut. The Red Sea coastal habitats and wetlands include mudflats, reefs, mangroves and marine islands. Oases are the only source of water over much of the western desert, the principal ones being Maghra, Siwa, Wadi El Rayan, Bahariya, Farafra, Dakhla, Kharga, Kurkur and Dungul.

Egypt has no endemic or restricted range species although White-eyed Gull Larus leucophthalmus is endemic to the Red Sea. There are 18 species with relatively small world distributions for which Egypt constitutes an important part of their range. Perhaps the most important is that group restricted to the Sahara-Sindian biome.

Egypt has a strategic position geographically along the migration routes of Palearctic species which winter in Africa and hence internationally important numbers migrate through Egypt. There are several migration bottlenecks for example the areas of Suez, Hurghada and Zaranik. Large numbers of Palearctic migrants and especially waterbirds also winter in Egypt.

A total of 34 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) have been identified which cover an area of 35,000 km2 or some 3.5% of Egypt's territory. Wetland habitats are represented in 25 IBAs, mountain and wadi desert and desert plains in 13, and coastal deserts in 6. The majority of the IBAs are to the east of the Nile which indicates the lack of suitable avian habitat in much of the western deserts. Sinai holds a disproportionately large number of the IBAs which reflects its diversity of habitats as well as its unique bio-geographical location.

The following IBAs are located in North Sinai: Lake Bardawil has large wintering populations of Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo and Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus ruber; Zaranik Protected Area is an extension of Lake Bardawil on its eastern side and is important as a bottleneck for migrant waterbirds; Gebel Maghara has a great diversity of land forms and desert habitats and as a result, holds a unique combination of species including a large proportion of Egypt's Sahara-Sindian biome restricted species and seven breeding lark species including Greater Hoopoe-Lark Alaemon alaudipes, Desert Lark Ammomanes deserti, Greater Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla and Dunn's Lark Eremalauda dunni; Quseima includes two drinking water sources at Ain El Gedeirat and Ain Qadis which are important for Pin-tailed Pterocles alchata, Black-bellied P. orientalis, Spotted P. senegallus and Crowned Sandgrouse P. coronatus and this IBA is the only known site in Egypt for breeding Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos. Wadi Gerafi holds nearly all of Egypt's Sahara-Sindian species and is one of the few areas in Egypt for a breeding (in small numbers) and wintering subspecies of Houbara Bustard Chlamydotis undulata macqueenii which some authorities consider to be a full species MacQueen's Bustard Chlamydotis macqueenii.

The following IBAs are located in South Sinai: Tiran island at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba has breeding Sooty Falcon Falco concolor, Osprey Pandion haliaetus and seven waterbird species including Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia and White-eyed Gull Larus leucophthalmus; Nabq Protected Area contains mountain and wadi desert habitats which support Sahara-Sindian species and waterbirds which breed in the mangroves along the Red Sea; St Katherine Protectorate occupies much of the central part of South Sinai and contains Egypt's highest peaks and holds most of Egypt's Sahara-Sindian biome species and is an outpost for Verreaux's Eagle Aquila verreauxii, Fan-tailed Raven Corvus rhipidurus, Tristram's Grackle Onychognathus tristramii, and Sinai Rosefinch Carpodacus synoicus; El Qa plain is important for thousands of soaring migratory birds in both autumn and spring; and Ras Mohammed National Park is a headland at the southernmost tip of the Sinai Peninsula which has primary importance as a bottleneck for migratory birds with an estimated 12,000 per day resting during peak autumn migration.

Gebet El Zeit is on the west side of the Gulf of Suez from El Qa plain and has a similar role for soaring migratory birds with birds of prey such as European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus, Levant Sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes, Common Buzzard Buteo buteo and Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis most numerous in spring.

Hurghada archipelago has 22 uninhabited islands at the mouth of the Gulf of Suez which hold the world's largest known population of White-eyed Gull Larus leucophthalmus as well as 15 other breeding species.

Further south are five more IBAs along the Red Sea all of which are important for breeding seabirds: Wadi Gimal island; Qulan islands; Zabargad island; Siyal islands and Rawabel islands.

The Abraq area is a complex of sandstone hills and wadis which drain into the Red Sea. The area holds a large proportion of Egypt's Sahara-Sindian species and provides important watering areas for Crowned Sandgrouse Pterocles coronatus and Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse P. Lichtensteinii. Gebel Elba encompasses a cluster of coastal mountains which overlook the Red Sea immediately to the north of the Sudan border and hold species such as Bateleur Terathopius ecaudatus, Nubian Nightjar Caprimulgus nubicus, Fulvous Babbler Turdoides fulva, Shining Sunbird Cinnyris habessinicus and Rosy-patched Shrike Rhodophoneus cruentus.

Suez is situated at the head of the Gulf of Suez, the most northerly part of the Red Sea. Its position on the only land bridge between Africa and Eurasia makes it an important bottleneck for migratory soaring birds. Ain Sukhna is also at the north of the Gulf of Suez and is situated along a major route for Palearctic migrants with species such as Black Kite Milvus migrans, Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus, Common Buzzard Buteo buteo, Lesser Spotted Eagle Aquila pomarina, Steppe Eagle A. nipalensis and Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus.

The following three sites are in the Nile valley in the south of Egypt: Upper Nile is between Luxor and Kom Ombo and has the highest concentration of wintering waterbirds in Egypt including Red-crested Pochard Nettina rufina and Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca; Aswan reservoir is between the old Aswan Dam and the High Dam with wintering Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope, Common Pochard Aythya ferina and Tufted Duck A. fuligula; Lake Nasser which is one of the world's largest man made lakes with wintering Black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis and Great White Pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus and breeding Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiaca, Senegal Thick-knee Burhinus senegalensis and Spur-winged Lapwing Vanellus spinosus.

Several IBAs are situated on or close to the Mediterranean coast: El Malaha which holds some of the highest densities and numbers of wintering and breeding waterbirds in the country with a large breeding colony of Slender-billed Gulls Larus genei; Lake Manzala located in the north-eastern corner of the Nile delta has huge numbers of wintering waterbirds including large colonies of Little Gulls Larus minutus and Whiskered Terns Chlidonias hybrida as well as 35 known breeding species including Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus, Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola and Egyptian Nightjar Caprimulgus aegyptius; Lake Burullus Protected Area which is also important for wintering waterfowl and has breeding Little Tern Sterna albifrons, Senegal Coucal Centropus senegalensis and Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis; Lake Idku and Lake Maryut.

El Qasr desert is in the north-west of the country and supports species restricted to both Mediterranean and Sahara-Sindian biomes. It is one of the least known areas in Egypt ornithologically and in recent years Thick-billed Lark Ramphocoris clothey, Lesser Short-toed Lark Calandrella rufescens and Mourning Wheatear Oenanthe lugens have been found to breed.

The following sites are important for wintering waterbirds: Wadi El Natrun is situated west of the Nile delta; Lake Qarun Protected Area is further south and holds large numbers of waterfowl in winter; Wadi El Rayan Protected Area is to the south-west of the previous IBA; and Bitter Lakes.

For further details, download the country IBAs from BirdLife International.


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