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The Middle East

Scops Owl Otus scops ©Mike Pope Website

Birding The Middle East

The Middle-east is not a continent in the recognised sense of the term but more or less an area which seems not to be fully part of Europe, Asia or Africa. Moreover, no-one seems to agree on which nations make up the grouping. Some think Turkey and Cyprus are part of it whilst others place these countries in Europe. Some count Egypt in although it is clearly part of Africa… we do not pronounce an opinion, we just cover all the area I have seen referred to as the middle east and duplicate some entries which I cover in other continents.

The governments of some middle-eastern countries are at the forefront of good conservation and have put much effort in to preserving bird life in their countries despite the lack of interest of many local people. Some of those nations could afford to create very interesting web-sites. Few do.

However, search the web and one is likely to come across many references to Falconry which has many devotees in the Middle East. It is sad that this drives a trade in illegally taken birds rather than those bred in captivity and, in some places, is also responsible for the endangerment of other bird species such as bustards etc. Nevertheless, there is hope as more and more countries recognise the need to conserve wildlife and their wild places.

One must tread very lightly too for fear of treading on political sensitivities. The middle east has had wars and insurgencies have been rife, ever since the end of WW2. The State of Israel remains at the centre of many of these conflicts as some fight to protect its very existence and others seek to change its borders or abolish it altogether. Internecine strife has been tearing Syria apart for some years while the Lebanon has been through similar problems. The Yemen has been described as a rogue state and both Iran and Iraq have had on-going insurgencies too. Leaving all politics aside one can decry all these conflicts as disasters for conservation which have included the almost total destruction of marshland in Iraq only now beginning to slowly re-build.

Regardless of the delicate state of politics and the delicate local environments the middle east is also a major migration route for millions of birds flying north or south from or to Africa or Europe. In a few places such as around the north of the Red Sea bird tourism is a regular industry. If there was political stability and consistent conservation this continental crossroads would surely attract many more green tourist visitors.

Useful Reading

Birds of Europe with North Africa and the Middle East

Lars Jonsson | Christopher Helm | 2005 | Paperback | 559 pages, 140 col plates, col distribution maps |

ISBN: 0713676000

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East

(A Photographic Guide) by Frédéric Jiguet & Aurélien Audevard | Princeton University Press | 2017 | Paperback | 447 pages, 2200 colour photos, colour distribution maps |

ISBN: 9780691172439

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds of the Middle East

By Richard Porter, Simon Aspinall, A Birch, John Gale, Mike Langman, Brian E Small | Christopher Helm | 2010 | 384 pages, 176 colour plates, 636 colour distribution maps |

ISBN: 9780713676020

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Flight Identification of Raptors of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East

By Dick Forsman | Bloomsbury | 2016 | Hardback | 544 pages, 1095 colour photos, 7 colour & b/w illustrations, 1 colour table |

ISBN: 9781472913616

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Organisations

BirdLife

Website

BirdLife International seeks to conserve all birds species on earth and their habitats and, through this, it works for the world`s biological diversity. It recognizes that the problems affecting birds, their habitat and our global environment are linked inseparably with social, economic and cultural factors and that these can only be resolved if human societies function in an ecologically sustainable manner and if the needs, welfare and aspirations of people form a part of all conservation action.

Ornithological Society of the Middle East

Website

The Ornithological Society of the Middle East was formed in April 1978 as a successor to the Ornithological Society of Turkey. Its aims are as follows: To collect, collate and publish ornithological data on birds of the Middle East. To encourage an interest in and conservation of birds of the Middle East. To assist environmental and conservation organisations and natural history societies in and concerned with ornithological studies and activities in the Middle East.

Reserves

Abbreviations Key

Abbreviations used on Reserves section of Country pages

BR = Biosphere Reserve
BiR = Bird Reserve
BS = Bird Sanctuary
CA = Conservation Area
EBA = Endemic Bird Area
ER = Ecological Reserve
FP = Forest Park
IBA = Important Bird Area
IPP = Interprovincial Park
LNR = Local Nature Reserve
MBS = Migratory Bird Sanctuary
MNM = Marine National Monument
MP = Marine Park
MWR = Migratory Waterfowl Refuge
NA = Natural Area
NAR = Natural Area Reserve
NC = Nature Center
NF = National Forest
NNR = National Nature Reserve
NP = National Park
NPR = National Park Preserve
NPr = Nature Preserve
NR = Nature Reserve
NS = Nature Sanctuary
NWA = National Wildlife Area
NWR = National Wildlife Refuge
PA = Protected Area
PP = Provincial Park
< b>RCS = RAMSAR Convention Site
RNP = Regional Nature Park
RSPB = Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Reserve
SNR = Strict Nature Reserve
SeNR = State Nature Reserve
SP = State Park
SPA = Special Protection Area
SeR = Seabird Reserve
SR = State Reserve
SSS = State Seabird Sanctuary
SWA = State Wildlife Area
SWMA = State Wildlife Management Area
SWR = State Wildlife Refuge
SWS = State Wildlife Sanctuary
WA = Wildlife Area
WBR = World Biosphere Reserve
WMA = Wildlife Management Area
WRw = Wildfowl Reserve
WRf = Wildlife Refuge
WRs = Wildlife Reserve
WP = Waterfowl Park
WiP = Wilderness Park
WiRv = Wilderness Reserve
WeRv = Wetland Reserve
WS = Wildlife Sanctuary
WeS = Wetland Sanctuary
WoS = Woodland Sanctuary
WWT = Wildfowl & Wetlands Reserve

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2004 [04 April] - Christoph Haag & Cathy Liautard

Report

Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Turkey…

Other Links

Birding in the Middle East

Website

A site dedicated to birdwatching, bird trip reports and related in the Middle East…