Birds of Faynan

Birds of Faynan

Birds of Faynan, Past and Present

A new book “Birds of Faynan – Past and Present” was published as part of the project “People and Birds of the Southern Levant“.

The authors have combined their expertise in ornithology, ecology, archaeology and cultural heritage to produce this guide of the birds of Faynan, SW Jordan, and some of the ways they have inspired artists, poets and story-tellers throughout the history of Jordan.

The book also presents the results of archaeological excavations at a 12,000–10,000 year old Neolithic settlement in Wadi Faynan, which have shown that there were once even more species of birds in Faynan than today. The climate was apparently more humid and much more trees were growing on the mountain slopes 10,000 years ago.

Mithen, S., Khoury, F., Greet, B., White, J. and Masalamani, N. 2019. The Birds of Faynan: Past & Present. Reading, UK: The University of Reading.

ISBN: 9780704915909

Copies can be obtained by contacting us.

Useful Applications

Digital applications for Birdwatchers

  • JBRC form is available for all bird-watchers in Jordan on this web site, see our page “Bird records form” in the JBRC category under Birds in Jordan. This form serves to keep track of your observations and help in gathering information especialy concerning rare birds.
  • Field Guide to the Birds of the Middle East – free application available in Arabic language for iPhone and Android (دليل الطيور في الشرق الاوسط). NatureGuides Ltd.
  • Collins Bird Guide. NatureGuides Ltd.

Published Papers

Published papers about natural history and ecology of birds in Jordan

  • Abu-Baker, M., Al-Hassani, I., Amr, Z. (2018). Diet of the long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus, Jordan. Sandgrouse, 40, 133-137.
  • Al-Hassani, I., Azar J., Nishimura, K., Amr, Z., Katzner, T. (2012). Distribution, diet and winter ecology of the Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca in Jordan. Vertebrate Zoology, 62, 273-280.
  • Al-Hmoud, A, Janaydeh, M., Damhuriyeh, S., Khoury, F. (2007). Inter-locality variation in the reproductive ecology of the linnet (Carduelis cannabina) in Jordan. Zoology in the Middle East, 42, 47-58.
  • Al-Melhim, W., Amr, Z., Disi, A., Katbeh-Bader, A. (1997). On the diet of the Little Owl Athene noctua, in the Safawi area, eastern Jordan. Zoology in the Middle East 15, 19-28.
  • Alomia, M. (1978). Notes on the present avifauna of Hesban. In: Boraaas R., Geraty L.: Heshbon 1976: The Fifth Campaign at Tell Hesban, A Preliminary Report. Andrews University Monographs, Studies in Religion 10, 289-303.
  • Amr, Z., Al-Melhim, W., Yousef, M. (1997). Mammal remains from pellets of the Eagle Owl, Bubo bubo, from Azraq Nature Reserve, Jordan. Zoology in the Middle East, 14, 5-10.
  • Al-Shamlih, M., Nassar, K., Khoury, F. (2005). Distribution and habitat use of selected bird species in Wadi Araba, Jordan. Sandgrouse, 27(1), 24-29.
  • Andrews, I. (1991a). Blue tits in Jordan. OSME Bulletin, 27, 6-7.
  • Andrews, I. (1991b). Is Azraq still an Oasis? OSME Bulletin, 27, 13-19.
  • Andrews, I. (1994). Description of the black morph Mourning Wheatear Oenanthe lugens in Jordan. Sandgrouse, 16, 32-35.
  • Andrews, I. (1996). Preliminary data on raptor passage in Jordan. Sandgrouse, 18, 36-45.
  • Andrews, I. (1997). Birding in Jordan. Dutch Birding, 19(2), 49-60.
  • Andrews, I., Khoury, F., Shirhai, H. (1998). Jordan Bird Report 1995-1997. Sandgrouse, 21(1), 10-35.
  • Azar, J., Hassani, I., Nishimura, K. (2007). The Demoiselle Crane, Anthropoides virgo (Linnaeus, 1758) (Aves: Gruidae), new to Jordan. Zoology in the Middle East, 41, 109-110.
  • Barrientos, R., Kvist, L., Barbosa, A., Valera, F., Khoury, F., Varela, S., Moreno, E. (2014). Refugia, colonization and diversification of an arid-adapted bird: coincident patterns between genetic data and ecological niche modeling. Molecular Ecology, 23, 390-407.
  • Bashford, R. (1997). The first Cotton Teal Nettapus coromandelianus in Jordan. Sandgrouse, 19(2), 142-143.
  • Boye, P., Holzapfel, C., Wittenberg, J. (1986). Biogeographische Betrachtung einer Region in Südjordanien. Natur and Meseum, 116 (12), 385-402.
  • Bruun B (1981). The Lappet-faced Vulture in the Middle East. Sandgrouse, 2, 91-95.
  • Cameron, R., Cornwallis, L. (1966). Autumn notes from Azraq, Jordan. Ibis, 108, 284-287.
  • Carruthers, D. (1910). On a collection of birds from the Dead Sea and north-western Arabia, with contributions to the ornithology of Syria and Palestine. Ibis, 4, 475-491.
  • Clarke, J. (1980). The Avifauna of Shaumari Wildlife Reserve. Sandgrouse, 1, 50-70.
  • Clarke, J. (1981). the occurrence of Strickland’s Wheatear in Jordan. Sandgrouse, 2, 98-99.
  • Clarke, J. (1983). The Houbara Bustard in Jordan. Sandgrouse, 4, 111-113.
  • Condor, P. (1981a). Birds of the Azraq Wetland Reserve, Jordan: January and February 1979. Sandgrouse 2, 22-32.
  • Conder, P. (1981b). Water extraction at Azraq. OSME Bulletin 6, 8.
  • Condor, P. (1982). Azraq Wetland Reserve. OSME Bulletin 8, 4-5.
  • Dufourny, H. (2006). First record of Long-tailed Shrike Lanius Schach for Jordan. Sandgrouse, 28(1), 73-76.
  • Erik-Hansson, E., Magnusson, A., Eriksson, P. ( 1998). The first Mute Swan Cygnus olor and Radde’s Accentor Prunella ocularis in Jordan. Sandgrouse 20(1), 46-47.
  • Ellis, P.M., Shaw, K. (2001). The first painted Snipe Rostratula benghalensis in Jordan. Sandgrouse, 23, 145.
  • Ellis, P. M., Omari, K., Halah, A. (2001). The first European Golden Plover Pluvialis apricaria in Jordan. Sandgrouse, 23, 146.
  • Evans, M. (1996). the first Alpine Accentor Prunella collaris in Jordan. Sandgrouse, 18, 65.
  • Evans, M., Al-Mashaqba, S. (1997). Did Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotos formerly breed in Jordan? Sandgrouse, 18(2), 61.
  • Evans, M. I., Amr, Z. S., Al-Oran, R. (2005). The status of birds in the proposed Rum Wildlife Reserve, southern Jordan.  Turkish Journal of Zoology, 29,17-26.
  • Flaxman, E. (1982). Observations of raptor migration in Jordan. OSME Bulletin, 9, 45.
  • Förschler, M., Khoury, F., Bairlein, F., Aliabadian, M. (2010). Phylogeny of the Mourning Wheatear Oenanthe lugens complex. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 56, 758 – 767.
  • Giowska, E., Skorack,i M., Khoury, F (2007). A new species and new records of syringophilid mites (Acari: Prostigmata: Syringophilidae) from birds in Jordan. Zootaxa, 1635, 63-68.
  • Green, M., Thomas, C. (2008). Birds of the Badia region of Jordan; Sandgrouse, 30(2), 125-133.
  • Grieve, A., Khoury, F. , Nassar, K. (2003) The first black Bush Robins in Jordan _ a prelude to colonisation? Sandgrouse, 26(2), 151-152.
  • Hamidan, N. (2003). The first Siberian white cranes Grus leucogeranus in Jordan. Sandgrouse, 25, 143.
  • Hollom, P. (1959). Birds of Near East. Notes from Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Antioch. Ibis, 101,183-200.
  • Kappes, E., Kappes, W. (1981). Naturkundliche Studien in Jordaniens Wüsten-Nationalpark Azraq-26 April bis 2 Mai 1980. Sonderheft Deutscher Bund für Vogelschutz LV Hamburg, 9, 139-148.
  • Khoury, F. (1996). Observations on the Avifauna of the Azraq Wetland, Jordan, June 1995. Sandgrouse, 18(2), 52-57.
  • Khoury, F. (1997). The first Red-fronted Serin Serinus pusillus in Jordan. Sandgrouse, 19(1), 68.
  • Khoury, F. (1998). The status of breeding birds on the Sharrah Highland Plateau, Jordan. Sandgrouse, 20(1), 22-29.
  • Khoury, F. (1998). Habitat associations and communities of breeding birds in the highlands of south-west Jordan. Zoology in the Middle East, 16, 35-48.
  • Khoury, F. (1998). Habitat selection by Syrian Serin Serinus syriacus in SW Jordan. Sandgrouse, 20(2), 87-93.
  • Khoury, F. (2000). The impact of drought conditions on the winter distribution and population of Syrian Serin Serinus syriacus in south-west Jordan. Sandgrouse 22 (1), 64-66.
  • Khoury, F. (2000). The status of Vultures in Jordan. Vulture News, 43, 30-36.
  • Khoury, F. (2001). On the breeding bird community of Wadi Al-Kharrar, Jordan Valley. Zoology in the Middle East, 22, 37-44.
  • Khoury, F. (2001). The breeding ecology of Syrian Serin Serinus syriacus in Jordan. Sandgrouse, 23(1), 68-69.
  • Khoury, F. (2003). Feeding ecology of Syrian Serin Serinus syriacus in SW Jordan. (in German). Ecology of Birds, 25, 5-35.
  • Khoury, F. (2003). Phenology of passerine migration in central Jordan. Sandgrouse, 25(2), 132-142.
  • Khoury, F. (2004). The Situation of the Griffon Vulture in Jordan. In The Eurasian Vulture (Gyps fulvus) in Europe and the Mediterranean: Status report and Action plan. Edited by Slotta-Bachmayr, L., Bogel, R. & Camina Cardenal, A. East European/Mediterranean Griffon Vulture Working Group. p. 62-65.
  • Khoury, F. (2004). Seasonal variation in body fat and weight of migratory Sylvia species in central Jordan. Vogelwarte, 42, 191-202.
  • Khoury, F. & Al-Shamlih, M. (2006). The impact of intensive agriculture on the bird communities of a sand dune desert. Journal of Arid Environments, 64, 448-459.
  • Khoury, F., Al-Omari, K., Azar, J. & Al-Hasani, I. (2006). Observations on the avifauna of the eastern Jordan Valley, during July-August 2005. Sandgrouse, 28(2), 119 – 126.
  • Khoury, F., Al-Shamlih, M., Sultan H., Abu-Ghalyun, Y. (2007). The effect of vegetation cover on bird communities in a hyperarid desert. Zoology in the Middle East. 40, 11-20.
  • Khoury, F., Azar, J., Kvist, L. (2007). On the Phylogenetics and population differentiation of the Great Tit and Blue Tit in Jordan. Journal of Ornithology, 148, 525-530.
  • Khoury, F., Förschler, M. (2008). Habitats and foraging of Hooded Wheatear Oenanthe monacha in Jordan. Sandgrouse, 30, 146-149.
  • Khoury, F., Al-Hmoud, A., Janaydeh, M. (2009). Nest placement and nest success in two finch species colonizing recently established plantations in an arid environment. Journal of Ornithology, 150, 29-37.
  • Khoury, F., Al-Shamlih, M. (2009). How extensive is the effect of modern farming on bird communities in a sand dune desert? Zookeys, 31, 211- 219.
  • Khoury, F., Förschler, M., Janaideh, M., Aliabadian, M., Al-Hmoud, A.-R. (2010). Distribution, habitats and differentiation of the poorly-known black morph of Mourning Wheatear Oenanthe lugens lugens in Jordan. Sandgrouse, 32, 113-119.
  • Khoury, F., Boulad, N. (2010). Territory size of the Mourning Wheatear Oenanthe lugens along an aridity gradient. Journal of Arid Environments, 74, 1413-1416.
  • Khoury, F., Janaydeh, M. (2011). A breeding event of Pale Rock Sparrows Carpospyza brachydactyla in northeast Jordan. Sandgrouse, 33, 58-60.
  • Khoury, F., Azzam, L., Qaneer, T., Shishani, Y. (2012). The first record of Yellow-throated Sparrow Gymnoris xanthocollis in Jordan. Sandgrouse, 34, 63-64.
  • Khoury, F., Boulad, N., Janaydeh, M. (2012). Territory size variations in wintering Finsch’s Wheatears Oenanthe finschii. Zoology in the Middle East, 57, 35-43.
  • Khoury, F., Amr, Z., Hamidan, N., Al Hassani, I., Mir, S., Eid, E., Bolad, N. (2012). Some introduced vertebrate species to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Vertebrate Zoology, 62(3), 435-451.
  • Khoury, F., Haddad, M., Al-Jbour, S., Rahahleh, F. (2013). A mixed pair of pale and black morph Mourning Wheatears Oenanathe lugens lugens in the southern highlands of Jordan. Sandgrouse, 35(2), 134-137.
  • Khoury, F. (2013). On the Status and Ecology of Breeding Birds in Wadi Rum. Conference Proceedings (Des Desertes et des Hommes: Wadi Ramm),Étude Anciennes, 52, 217-229.
  • Khoury, F., Al-Shamlih, M. (2015). First evidence of colonization by Common Myna Acridotheres tristis in Jordan. Sandgrouse, 37, 22-24.
  • Khoury, F. (2017). Spring migration of soaring birds over the highlands of southwest Jordan: flight patterns and possible implications for wind farm developments. Sandgrouse 39: 61-67.
  • Khoury, F. Massis, R., Wichmann, G. (2017). Recent records and indications of breeding of Black-shouldered Kites Elanus caeruleus in Jordan. Sandgrouse, 39, 42-44.
  • Khoury, F., Massis, R. (2017). First record of nominate Common Buzzard Buteo b. buteo for Jordan. Sandgrouse, 39, 16-17.
  • Khoury, F., Korner, P. (2018). The effects of habitat variables and land use on breeding birds in remnant wetland strips in an arid, rural landscape. Journal of Arid Environments, 153, 24-31.
  • Khoury, F. (2018). Chance and challenges in the protection of three avian wetland specialists, Common Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos, Clamorous Reed Warbler Acrocephalus stentoreus and Dead Sea Sparrow Passer moabiticus, in the Jordan valley, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.  Sandgrouse (Suppl. 4), 105-112.
  • Khoury, F., Korner, P. (2019). Grazing in remnant wetland habitats in an arid region: direct and indirect effects on two specialist bird species. Bird Study, 56(4), 557-563.
  • Khoury, F., Makarewicz, C., Al-Hmoud, A., Mithen, S. (2020) The illegal trapping of large falcons in Jordan. Sandgrouse 42: 239-247.
  • Khoury, F., Saba, M., & Alshamlih, M. (2021). Anthropogenic not climatic correlates are the main drivers of expansion of non-native common myna Acridotheres tristis in Jordan. Management of Biological Invasions 12(3): 640 – 653.
  • Khoury, F., Alshamlih, M., Dheib, A. (2021) The first breeding record of Pallid Scops Owl Otus brucei in Jordan. Sandgrouse 43(2): 286-289.
  • Meinertzhagen, R. (1925.) A further contribution to the ornithology of Palestine, Transjordania and Petra. Ibis, Ser. 12(2), 305-324.
  • Mithen, S., White, J., Finlayson, B., Greet, B., & Khoury, F. (2022). Birds as indicators of early Holocene biodiversity and the seasonal nature of human activity at WF16, an early Neolithic site in Faynan, Southern Jordan. Journal of Quaternary Science. DOI:10.1002/jqs.3429
  • Minshull, B. (1996). The first pine bunting Emberiza leucocephalus in Jordan. Sandgrouse, 18, 69.
  • Nelson, J.B. (1985). Return to Azraq. Oryx, 19, 22-26.
  • Prochazkaa, P., Bellinvia, E., Fainova, D., Hajkova, P., Elhalah, A., Alomari, K. (2008). Immigration as a possible rescue of a reduced population of a long-distant migratory bird: Reed warblers in the Azraq Oasis, Jordan. Journal of Arid Environments, 72, 1184–1192.
  • Qaneer, T., Butsher, G. (2013). A Striated Heron Butorides striata at Azraq, Jordan. Sandgrouse, 35(2), 156-157.
  • Rifai, L., Al-Melhim, W., Amr, Z. (1998). on the diet of the Barn Owl Tyto alba, in northern Jordan. Zoology in the Middle East, 16, 31-34.
  • Rifai, L., Al-Melhim, W., Gharaibeh, B., Amr, Z. (2000). The diet of the Desert Eagle Owl, Bubo bubo ascalaphus, in the Eastern Desert of Jordan. Journal of Arid Environments, 44, 369-372.
  • Shirihai, H., Andrews, I., Kirwan, G., Davidson, P. (1999). A checklist of the birds of Israel and Jordan. Sandgrouse, 21, 36-44.
  • Shirihai, H., Khoury, F., Al-Jbour, S., Yosef, R. (2000). The first Pink-backed pelican in Jordan. Sandgrouse, 22 , 127-130.
  • Tebb, G., Hamidan, N. (2002). The first rustic Bunting Emberiza rustica in Jordan. Sandgrouse, 24, 53.
  • Tye, A. (1994). A description of the Middle Eastern black morph of the Mourning Wheatear Oenanthe lugens from museum specimen. Sandgrouse, 16, 28-31.
  • Ullman, M. (1991). First record of little bunting Emberiza pusilla in Jordan. Sandgrouse, 13, 53-54.
  • Wallace, D.I.M. (1982). Observations on migrant birds at Azraq in north-east Jordan; up to April 1967. Sandgrouse, 4, 77-99.
  • Wallace, D.I.M. (1983). The breeding birds of the Azraq Oasis and its desert surround, Jordan in the mid-1960s. Sandgrouse, 5, 1-18.
  • Wallace, D.I.M. (1983). The first identification of the eastern pied wheatear in Jordan. Sandgrouse, 5, 102-104.
  • Wallace, D.I.M. (1984). Selected observations from Lebanon, Syria and Jordan in the springs of 1963 and 1966. Sandgrouse, 6, 24-47.
  • Wallace, D.I.M. (1989). Arabian Warblers in Jordan in April 1963. OSME Bulletin, 22, 9-10.
  • Wallace, D.I.M. (2018). Azraq blues: a brief history of a Jordanian oasis drunk dry. Sandgrouse, (Suppl. 4), 19-24.
  • White, J., Khoury, F., Greet, B., & Mithen, S. (2021). The utilization of birds at neolithic WF16, southern Jordan: Cut marks, body parts, and experimental skinning. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 31: 1203-1216.
  • White, J., Finlayson, B., Makarewicz, C., Khoury, F., Greet, B., & Mithen, S. (2021) The Bird Remains from Wf16, an Early Neolithic Settlement In Southern Jordan: Assemblage Composition, Chronology And Spatial Distribution. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 31: 1030-1045.
  • Wittenberg, J. (1987). Zur Vogel-Fauna einer semiariden Gebirsregion in Südjordanien, Petra und Umgebung (Aves). Verhandlungen naturwissenschaftlicher Verlag, Hamburg N.F. 29, 5-49.
  • Wittenberg, J. (1988). Additional records of the ring-necked parakeet Psittacula krameri from Egypt and the Middle East. Zoology in the Middle East, 2, 49-51.

Books about Birds of Jordan

Books for Birdawatchers

  • Andrews, I. J. (1995). The Birds of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Musselburgh (185pp.)
  • Svensson, L., Mullarney, K., Zetterstrom, D. (2009).CollinsBird Guide: The Most Complete Field Guide to the Birds of Britain and Europe(2nd edition; Paperback), HarperCollins, UK (448 pp)

Other useful books and journals with information about birds in Jordan:

  • Mithen, S., Khoury, F., Greet, B., White, J., & Maslamani, N. (2019). Birds of Faynan: past and present. University of Reading.
Birds of Faynan, Past and Present
Birds of Faynan, Past and Present
  • Sandgrouse – the scientific journal regularly published by the Ornithological Society of the Middle East ( – also includes the section “Around the Region” with significant bird records.
  • Cramp S., Simmon K., Perrins C. (eds.) (1976-1994) The Birds of the Western Palearctic. 9 volumes. Oxford University Press.
  • Evans M (1994) Important Bird Areas in the Middle East. BirdLife Conservation Series No. 2. Cambridge.
  • Khoury, F. (2017): A Birdwatcher’s Guide to Madaba. Jordan BirdWatch Association, Amman.
  • Mountford G. (1965) Portrait of a Desert. Collin, London.
  • Nelson J.B. (1973) Azraq: Desert Oasis. Allen Lane, London.
  • Porter R., Christensen S., Schiermacker-Hansen P. (1996) Field Guide to the Birds of the Middle East. T&AD Poyser. London. -A recent edition was published in Arabic and is available as iPhone and Android application.
  • Beaman M., Madge S. (1998) The Handbook of Bird Identification for Europe and the Western Palearctic. Christopher Helm, London.
  • RSCN (2000) Important Bird Areas in Jordan. Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, Amman. -Arabic with English Summary.
  • RSCN (2013) The State of Jordan’s Birds. Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, RSCN, Amman.

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