Dr. Prof. Fares Khoury
AVIFAUNA OF JORDAN, THE EXCEPTIONAL BIRD WATCHING EXPERIENCE
Jordan is located east of the Mediterranean and at the northern edge of the Arabian Peninsula, on the border of different bio-geographical regions. This location at the junction of three continents, together with its topographic, geological and climatic diversity provides habitats for various bird communities, each containing species with different zoogeographical affinities.
Almost every region in Jordan has a heterogeneous landscape with various habitats : the northern Jordan Valley includes Tamarisk thickets, salt marshes and agricultural habitats; the Dead Sea basin and the Wadi Araba encompass small oases and a variety of arid habitats such as deep rocky gorges and stony slopes, arid acacia savannas and sand dunes.
The highlands and their margins just east of the Rift provide a great diversity of bird communities typical of Mediterranean open woodlands and batha (garrigue) steppes, as well as other arid or semi-arid steppes dominated by various dwarf shrubs. East of the highlands, the wide expanses of the Jordanian-Syrian Desert plateau is home of many typical desert birds, including Sandgrouse, larks and wheatears which inhabit the hammada and basalt deserts, as well as the more rocky and mountainous and sandy areas of southern Jordan.
Jordan is also located on a main migration route where more than a hundred million birds are estimated to pass and stop over each spring and autumn. Jordan offers unique and diverse bird watching opportunities : White Storks, Steppe Eagles and Levant Sparrow Hawks can be observed passing over in large numbers while watching the resident / breeding birds; examples of these are Sooty Falcon, Cream-colored Cursor, Little Green and Blue-cheeked Bee-eaters, Pied and White-throated Kingfishers, Little Swift, Red-rumped Swallow, Long-billed Pipit, Thick-billed, Hoopoe and Temminks Larks, Great Grey and Masked Shrikes, Hooded, and Mourning Wheatears, Clamorous Reed Warbler, Scrub, Spectacled and Arabian Warblers, Syrian Serin, Sinai Rose and Trumpeter finches, and Dead Sea Sparrow,
, and the list goes on and on.
See "Jordan Bird List" for the complete, most up-dated checklist of bird species. For more information on the birds of Jordan, which can be useful to bird watchers and ornithologists see "Literature on the Birds of Jordan".
Nocturnal species breeding in Jordan include Humes and Pharaoh Owls, Nubian and Egyptian Nightjars and Stone Curlew. White-throated Robin, various flycatchers, Menetriés and Rueppels warblers are among the numerous migrant passerines stopping over in the shrubs growing along wadis of the desert.
Birds can be observed in all seasons of the year. Even in winter, Jordan is visited by a variety of bird species. Common Cranes and water birds are usually found in the flooded mudflats of the eastern deserts and wetlands of the Jordan Valley. Other winter visitors include Imperial Eagle, Dotterel, various pipit species, Finchs Wheatear, Cyprus and Desert Warblers, Brambling, Hawfinch and many others. Around 430 species of birds have been recorded so far in Jordan, and the list is growing by a few more species almost every year.
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