Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND

State of Israel

Tristram's Grackle Onychognathus tristramii ©Dubi Shapiro Website

Israel is a great place to go birding having over 500 resident and migrant species. This is due largely to its location in the eastern Mediterranean at the crossroads of Asia, Europe and Africa. Habitats from all three continents meet here: the snowy peaks of Mount Hermon, the temperate rolling mountains of the Galilee, the warm Mediterranean coastline, the semitropical Jordan Rift Valley, the varied deserts of the south and east, and the Red Sea shores of Eilat's desert oasis. Part of the only land bridge between the three continents, Israel is along the major migration routes between them, with millions of birds making the trip twice a year. All this variety comes in a small package: the drive from north to south takes less than a day and the trip from west to east under two hours.

Northern Israel is blessed with an abundance of water sources, craggy volcanic mountains in the northeast and a temperate climate, all of which attract species not found in other parts of Israel. The north is home to many birds of prey, including Griffon vultures, imperial eagles, long legged buzzards and Egyptian vultures. A prime site for these species, especially Griffon vultures, is the Gamla nature reserve in the southern Golan Heights. A concrete hide has recently been built there atop one of the cliffs directly across from a vulture nesting site, with large screens relaying live scenes from a nest camera. Further north is the Banias nature reserve. Its streams, woods, ancient ruins and huge cave shelter Smyrna kingfishers, rock nuthatches, grey wagtails and other waterside and forest birds. For waterfowl in northern Israel, visit the Sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberias) and the Hula Valley. Among the many birds these sites attract are cormorants, marbled teal, shovelers, moorhens, cranes, glossy ibis, various kingfishers, marsh harriers, black storks, white pelicans and the rare pygmy cormorant. Organized birdwatching tours are available within the Hula Valley Wetlands Nature Reserve.

Just south of the Sea of Galilee is the Jordan River Valley, warm in the winter, very hot and humid in summer. The valley, and in particular the Bet Shean region, is a good place to see an interesting mixture of native and migrating birds, many attracted by the fish ponds and fields of the surrounding agricultural villages. For some semi-tropical or desert birds this is the northernmost extent of their range. The village of Kfar Ruppin has a birdwatching centre, one of the best in the country. Birds in the Bet Shean Valley and northern Jordan Valley include black francolins, black storks, reed buntings, white pelicans, barn owls, ospreys, marsh harriers, Smyrna kingfishers and cranes, as well as assorted ducks, raptors, warblers and egrets, and multitudes of swallows.

Continuing further south one reaches the Dead Sea, a large saline lake nestled in the lowest place on earth, and the surrounding Judean Desert. The crags, lush oases and special vegetation of the Judean Desert are fascinating areas to explore and are home to birds such as fan-tailed ravens, brown necked ravens, Dead Sea sparrows, Arabian babblers, blackstarts, pale crag martins, sand partridges, trumpeter finches, desert larks, scrub warblers, mourning wheatears, white crowned black wheatears and sooty and Barbary falcons. Many of these are also found further south in the Negev and Arava areas. One of the most characteristic birds in this part of the country is Tristram's grackle, a desert member of the starling family. Its loud distinctive call and flute-like song can be heard in many places around the Dead Sea, in particular in date palm groves.

Perhaps the most pleasant way to see birds near the Dead Sea is a hike in the Ein Gedi nature reserve. The natural springs of the Ein Gedi oasis nourish an unusual mix of desert, semi-tropical and waterside vegetation, attracting not only desert birds but also kingfishers and various garden birds such as sunbirds, bulbuls and bush robins. Over the years the little green bee-eater has extended its range north to include Ein Gedi and may often be seen perched on a branch over a stream hunting for flying insects. Other interesting birding sites in the Dead Sea area include the saline oases south of the sea in the Neot Hakikar area and the Metzukei Draggot cliffs over Nahal Darga north of Ein Gedi. Metzukei Draggot not only offers good views of the surrounding desert and nearby Dead Sea, but also puts you at the same height as the ravens and raptors soaring above the wadi.

A beautiful area for watching both desert and waterside birds is the Ein Avdat canyon south of Beersheba, part of the Wilderness of Zin that stretches south and west from the Dead Sea. The area around Ein Avdat is bleak desert but the Avdat spring keeps the canyon floor lush and wet year-round, providing the foliage that attracts many of the above oasis birds, as well as some waterfowl and sandgrouse. The steep cliffs above the canyon are home to wallcreepers, pale crag martins, bee-eaters, ravens and vultures. The fields and sewage ponds around Beersheba are also rich in bird life. Species found in the area include the uncommon houbara, cream-coloured courser, sand partridge and various types of sandgrouse.

At Israel's southern tip is the Red Sea resort of Eilat, perhaps the best known place for birdwatching in Israel. Eilat is a major rest stop for birds migrating between Africa and Eurasia, as it is the first substantial oasis after crossing the Sinai Desert. A birdwatching park lies just north of the town itself, close to the Jordanian border. To get there, turn east at the Eilot Junction north of town and follow the signs for the tree-planting centre. The park includes both salty and freshwater ponds and various types of vegetation, along with a ringing station, which is open to visitors during the early morning and late afternoon or evening, depending on the time of year. If you visit while the ringing station is open they will allow you to ring one of the birds yourself. A huge variety of species pass through Eilat during the autumn and spring migrations and you will see many different birds depending on when you visit.

Typical local birds in and around Eilat and the Arava region include white-crowned black wheatears, Tristram's grackles, desert larks and various types of buzzard, raven and bee-eater. Kibbutz Lotan, north of Eilat in the Arava desert, hosts its own birdwatching centre. Other areas of interest around Eilat include beautiful walking areas such as the Timna national park, the Red Canyon, and roadside lookout points in the Eilat Mountains north of town. In general areas around springs or with groves of acacia or other trees are naturally likely to be good birding spots in these desert regions.

The Hai Bar nature reserve north of Eilat offers a mixture of desert birds, including many raptors, such as Egyptian and Griffon vultures, which are attracted to the predator feeding area. The stars at the reserve, though, are the ostriches, once native to Israel's desert regions but extinct since the mid-twentieth century. The reserve has an ostrich breeding project and there are plans to reintroduce them into the wild. One can tour the reserve with a ranger/guide, who can provide commentary on the birds in the area, as well as the many other desert animals on the reserve.

Moving to central Israel, the Jerusalem region, though more famous for its religious and historical sites, can be interesting for birdwatchers too, with temperate wooded and rocky slopes to the west and the arid Judean Desert to the east. Typical forest birds, many also common in town parks and gardens, include jays, Syrian woodpeckers, several types of warblers and doves, song thrushes, assorted shrikes, blackbirds, robins, hoopoes, sunbirds, bulbuls, kestrels, hobbies, chukars and Scops and barn owls. Lovely areas for hiking and birdwatching include the forested mountainous area just south and west of Jerusalem around villages such as Nes Harim, Ora and Sataf, and forested areas further south near the town of Beit Shemesh and the Beit Guvrin archaeological park.

The Jerusalem Bird Observatory (JBO) is located in the landscaped gardens between the Knesset (Israel's parliament) and the Supreme Court, though you need to bring ID and be patient with security searches. The JBO holds guided birding walks in English every Monday afternoon and does ringing there too. The Israeli capital is also home to prime nesting sites for the endangered lesser kestrel. The Musrara neighbourhood in particular is home to several nests and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) occasionally arranges walking tours of the area.

Birding is also good on the Mediterranean coast, even though much of the coastal plain is densely populated. In Tel Aviv, Israel's major conurbation, the Yarkon River Park provides refuge for many birds, including egrets and glossy ibis. North of the greater Tel Aviv region, coastal nature reserves and small national parks are home to many waterfowl, including many species of duck, egrets (little and great white); spoonbills and assorted waders. The Ma'agan Mikhael and Carmel coasts in particular are known for attracting a variety of bird life among the fishponds and dune wetland areas. Nahal Alexander and the remnants of the Hadera marshes north of Netanya, and Nahal Poleg south of Netanya are other potential birdwatching sites north of Tel Aviv.

About an hour's drive south of Tel Aviv, between the cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon, is Park Nitzanim, a dune nature reserve, beach and campsite. A small reed-surrounded lake in the nature reserve is a lovely spot for birdwatching, with reed warblers, clamorous reed warblers, Cetti's warblers, kingfishers and the odd purple heron. I love watching the antics of the lesser-pied kingfishers darting and diving over the water, resembling giant black and white butterflies. As with many of the above birdwatching sites, it's a beautiful place to visit in its own right. If your spouse or travel companion is not into birding, they can still enjoy the lovely dune landscape and beach, especially well known for its beautiful sunsets.

In general there is great interest in nature and wildlife in Israel. Recreational hiking and a love of nature are part of the national culture. Organisations that have become cultural institutions include the Jewish National Fund (JNF); which operates reforestation programmes and manages forests and reservoirs across the country, and SPNI, an environmentalist group. In any given week SPNI runs dozens of walking and hiking tours all over the country, a few of them guided in English, with topics ranging from the natural environment to the human history of the region. A network of nature reserves and field schools across the country offer information for hikers and nature enthusiasts. There are many local hiking and walking groups, as well as 4x4 clubs for people who enjoy cross-country jeep excursions. In addition many communities have active environmental groups.

Twitching, per se, is not as widespread as in England or other European countries and tends to be part of a general interest in wildlife and nature. That said, word of a rare bird sighting can attract thousands of enthusiasts from around the country. Many local Israeli naturalists and ornithologists are active in studying and protecting Israel's birds, while birdwatching centres such as the International Bird Centre in Eilat, the Jerusalem Bird Observatory and the birdwatching centres in Kfar Ruppin and Kibbutz Lotan are part of a reasonably well-developed birding infrastructure. Centres such as the Hai-Bar reserves and the Ramat Gan safari park have conservation projects focusing on preserving or reintroducing local species, including birds, especially raptors. In many parts of the country visiting birders can hire local birding guides to show them around.

In many of Israel's national parks, such as Ein Gedi or Gamla, there will be at least one ranger with a detailed knowledge of the park's birds, though it may depend on who is on duty when you visit. If you plan to visit a lot of national parks, consider buying an annual season ticket from the National Parks Authority, which may pay for itself with just 5 or 6 visits to national parks.

Aside from birds, Israel's main tourism draws are its holy sites, along with a huge number of other historical and archaeological sites. The sun, sea and sand are also popular, with beach resorts in Eilat, the Dead Sea, Tiberias, Tel Aviv, Netanya and Nahariya, among others. Eco-tourism is growing rapidly too, especially in the desert regions. The small size of the country makes it easy to combine all of these with excellent birding opportunities.

In general, Israel has a well-developed tourism infrastructure and English is widely spoken. Many international hotel chains are represented here, along with quality local hotels and rural guesthouses. Low-cost accommodations include youth hostels, field schools and camping. In the peripheral Negev, Arava and Galilee regions one can find guesthouses and campsites oriented towards eco-tourism.

Of Israel's population of 6.3 million, about 80% are Jewish, with most of the remainder Muslim Arabs. Smaller minority groups include the Druze, Circassians, Samaritans and many Christian groups representing western and eastern churches. The national language is Hebrew, but significant minority languages include Arabic, Russian, French, Amharic and Yiddish. Israel is a European style democracy, with a local culture influenced by both Europe and the Middle East.

The Israeli weekend is Friday and Saturday, though many people work a six-day week, taking off only Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath. In Muslim and Christian areas the primary rest days are Friday or Sunday respectively. The Jewish Sabbath begins at sundown on Friday and ends after sunset on Saturday night. In most parts of the country there is no public transport during this time save for taxis. Many shops and places of entertainment are also closed over the Sabbath and most national holidays, though it varies from place to place.

Though the familiar western (Gregorian) calendar is the primary one in use here, the Jewish festivals, which are national holidays, are fixed according to the traditional Jewish calendar. The main festive seasons are in the autumn and spring, which are also usually the most comfortable times of the year to visit and coincide with peak bird migrations. Be aware that due to the festivals these can be the most expensive times of year to come, and many attractions will be at their most crowded. On the other hand, festivals are the time for many special events, including nature hikes and tours of national parks. When planning a visit, it`s advisable to check in advance when the festivals fall and take that into consideration.

Israel's climate features hot, uncomfortable summers, with humidity high in the coastal areas. The summer is most bearable in the mountains of the Jerusalem area, the Galilee and Golan, where the heat is dry and there is usually a cool evening breeze. Rainfall is rare from May to September. Take care to drink a lot of water, wear a hat and protect yourself from the sun. Winter is the main rainy season, and can be cold in and around Jerusalem and the Galilee, as well as at night in the desert regions, though the temperature rarely dips below freezing. Especially in desert regions, there can be significant differences between daytime and night time temperature; a desert daytime high of 18C (64F) can plunge to a night low of 6C (43F); for example. Winter temperatures along the coast are mild and often pleasant when it's not raining.


Leiah Elbaum


Number of Species

National Bird: Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epos

Number of bird species: 540


iGoTerra Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web

Useful Reading

A Guide to the Birding Hotspots of Northern Israel

Volume 1 | By Hadoram Shirihai, James P Smith, Guy M Kirwan & Dan Alon | Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel | 2000 | Paperback | 118 pages, 63 colour photos, 13 maps |

ISBN: #110101

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birding in Israel

By Dave Gosney | Gostours | 2006 | DVD |

ISBN: 5023017740498

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 | Paperback | 384 pages, 176 colour plates, 636 colour distribution maps |

ISBN: 9780713676020

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Finding Birds in Israel

By Dave Gosney | Easybirder | 1996 | Paperback | 34 pages, b/w maps |

ISBN: 1907316272

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Photographic Guide to the Birds of Israel and the Middle East

Richard Porter & David Cottridge | New Holland Publishers | 2000 | Paperback | 144 pages, 300 Colour Photos |

ISBN: 1859745083

Buy this book from NHBS.com

The Birds of Israel

By Hadoram Shirihai, D Dovrat & DA ChristieHadoram Shirihai | Academic Press Inc | 2002 | Hardcover | 876 pages |

ISBN: 0126402558

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Useful Information

*National Bird


[Decided in May 2008 after a national vote of over 150,000 bird lovers]


Friends of the Arava Institute


The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies offers Egyptian, Israeli, Jordanian, Palestinian and overseas students an intensive hands-on academic program focussing on our joint environment. The program is conducted in English. Situated on the grounds of Kibbutz Ketura, adjacent to the Jordanian and Egyptian borders, the Institute serves as a regional centre for conservation and environmental protection activities…

International Birdwatching Center - Jordan Valley


Over 300 bird species within 30 km2! Supporting a wide diversity of habitats that are uniquely located along the main migratory path that joins Europe, Asia and Africa makes this one of the best birding hotspots in the Western Palearctic. This is the place to watch flocks of tens of thousands of soaring birds such as storks, pelicans and many species of raptors. The wetland habitat around the Jordan River and fishponds attract a wide variety of waterbirds from great black-headed gulls to common shelduck…

Israel Rarities & Distribution Committee


The Israeli Rarities & Distribution Committee (IRDC) was re-established in 2000, realizing the need to improve the standard of rarity recording in Israel, to monitor changes in the country's avifauna, rarities in particular, and to make these available to the general public. Our main objectives are to improve the standards of rarity recording in Israel, leveling with those suggested by the European Association of Rarities Committees (AERC), and to improve the knowledge on bird distribution and distribution changes in Israel…

Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel


SPNI, Hashsela 4, Tel Aviv 66103. + 972 3 6388666 ioc@netvision.net.il
A non-profit, non-governmental organization, SPNI was founded in 1953 and has grown to become Israel's largest environmental NGO, with some 100,000 members in Israel and abroad. The SPNI involves everyone - Jews, Christians and Muslims, young and old…

The Israel Ornithological Center


Israel's unique location at the junction of three continents, Europe, Asia and Africa, makes it a site for an extraordinary phenomena: some 500 million migrating birds cross its skies twice a year. You can obtain real time information through birds fitted with satellite transmitters, Pictures from Latrun Radar, On-Line Camera in nests, The annual Autumn soaring bird migration survey, Ringing Stations and more.


Abbreviations Key: See the appropriate Continent Page (or Country Page of those used on country sub-divisions)

Gamla Nature Reserve


Satellite View

The Gamla Nature Reserve in the central Golan Heights is a wonderful combination of nature, landscape and historical remains. It is home to a globally unique number of raptors for its small size, including rare species, and one of the world's most ancient synagogues…

Forums & Mailing Lists


Mailing Group

To post to list: israbirdnet@yahoogroups.com

List contact: israbirdnet-owner@yahoogroups.com

To subscribe to list: israbirdnet-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Discussion Group Mailing list for birding activities in Israel.

Guides & Tour Operators

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

Carmel Birding Tours in Israel

Tour Operator

Israel's unique location has made Israel a bottleneck and crossroads for bird migration, second to almost no other site in the world. Research has shown that about 500 million migrating birds fly over Israel twice a year. We, at Carmel's Birding Tours in Israel, offer unique bird watching tours with professional guidance and a personal touch. We specialize in customized birding tours to ensure your complete satisfaction…

Alaemon Birding

Facebook Page

Amir Ayalon's Eco tours, Environmental conservation & Environmental consultant

Birding Ecotours

Tour Operator

Our Owls of the World trip to Israel can be combined with other fascinating birding sights such as the thousands of migratory raptors. Many birds' migration paths pass straight though Israel (about half a billion birds pass through!) Also visit the Red and Mediterranean Seas.

Birding Pal


Local birders willing to show visiting birders around their area…

Trip Reports

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


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.

2007 [01 January] - Noah Gaines

Trip Report

…The next stop was Gamla Nature Preserve. A steep gorge in the Golan Heights that is famous for its close views of nesting Griffin Vultures. The birds were present in good numbers and were often seen from extremely close ranges as they followed the ridges of the gorge. Other new birds seen at Gamla, were Bonelli’s Eagle, Blue Rock Thrush, and Syrian Woodpecker…

2007 [02 February] - Avner Cohen

Trip Report

…I continued driving south, and after checking into the hotel, I met up with Noam Weiss to search for the Egyptian Nightjar he saw in one of the previous nights. We spent an hour driving through the fields, and saw nothing but a Stone-curlew, few Spur-winged Plovers and a Kentish Plover…

2009 [09 September] - Tristan Norton

Trip Report


2009 [12 December] - Julian Bell - Eastern Mediterranean - the Tamar field off Israel

Trip Report

The job was an AUV geophysical survey with a variety of geotechnical sampling in order to map possible routes for the offshore section of a gas pipeline from the Tamar field to Israel. The vessel mobilised late November at Limassol, Cyprus and we went home just before Christmas via Haifa in Israel. Early in the New Year I returned for a couple more weeks…

2011 [03 March] - Dave Read & Andy Shooter


…This proved to be an extremely successful tour with far too many highlights to list them all, certainly amongst them would be the exceptional views of the diminutive Namaqua Dove, breeding plumage Caspian Plovers and displaying Macqueens Bustard. We were joined for the first two full days by the renowned Israeli birder and excellent guide Barak Granit who's help found us many sought after species including Long-billed Pipit, Striolated Bunting and up to 80 Syrian Serins. He also escorted us on two evening excursions, the highlights of which were excellent views of Nubian and Egyptian Nightjars as well as Pharaoh Eagle Owl…

2011 [03 March] - John Gallagher


…We followed the track off to the left (marked by the red & white metal posts) and had Stonechat, Syrian Woodpecker, Jay, Black Redstart and a a group of unidentified Eagles migrating far overhead (possibly Spotted or Steppe). Migration seemed to be well underway as a group of Cretzschmar’s Buntings were spotted as well as a single Cinereous Bunting. Eastern Black-Eared Wheatear and Finsch’s Wheatear, Eastern Orphean Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Chukar & Blue Rock Thrush were also recorded here. Large Flocks of Common Crane were also seen flying over Mount Gilboa…

2012 [03 March] - Steve Arlow

Report PDF

…Also keep an eye on the sky here as we had four Egyptian Vultures, a couple of Griffin Vultures, Steppe Buzzards, Black Kites and Lesser Kestrels rising on the thermals at about 10.30am from the nearby petrol station….

2013 [03 March] - Dominic Standings


…The Temminck’s Larks from earlier in the winter had obviously gone but in their place were at least 4 Bar-Tailed Larks close to the road and a few Short-Toed Larks flying around. Other desert specialists were 85 Spotted Sandgrouse settling on the plain, a calling fly-over flock of Crowned Sandgrouse and many Desert Wheatears. Migrants were represented by several Ruppell’s Warblers and Cretzschmar’s Buntings and our only Ortolan Bunting of the trip…

2013 [03 March] - Josh Jones


…Afternoon spent birding sites around the Dead Sea before an evening spent searching for Nubian Nightjar and Hume’s Owl with Barak Granit. Overnight drive south to Yotvata…

2013 [04 April] - Steve Arlow & Lee Ebbs

Report PDF

…The ponds vary in water levels which benefits different species, amongst the commoner species were White Pelicans, Greater Spotted Eagles, Ospreys, White and Black Storks, Spoonbills, Common Cranes, Yellow Wagtail forms and various waders…

2014 [03 March] - Mike Neale


Short trip in March to the South of Israel. Weather wet and windy and impacted Migration. Even so birding was fun and some 125 spps. seen. ( List available on request) – Using the Guide to Birding Hotspots of Southern Israel…

2015 [03 March] - Chris Lotz


...After touching down in Tel Aviv on the early morning and collecting our rental vehicle we went to a stakeout near the airport for Eurasian Eagle-Owl (the gen was provided by our friend Oz Horine), which Jason quite quickly located sitting on the walls of the quarry. We also found numerous other good birds such as our first of many awesome Sylvia warblers, Eastern Orphean Warbler. We then headed to Jerusalem, where we had a quick look at the old city, before continuing to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth (423 meters - 1388 feet - below sea level!). Jason decided to float on the very salty waters (34% salt!), while Trevor and Chris just waded in. Around the Dead Sea we found some good birds, such as Tristram’s Starling, Fan-tailed Raven, and Desert Lark....

2015 [07 July] - Joshua Bergmark

PDF Report

...managed to see mostly what I was hoping for, specifically Marbled Duck (5 observed), Black Francolin, Pygmy Cormorant and Squacco Heron, along with supporting Eurasian Thick-knee, Woodchat Shrike, Short-toed Snake Eagle, Western Yellow Wagtail, Graceful Prinia, Eurasian Hobby, Crested Lark, Syrian Woodpecker, European Bee-eater, Red-rumped Swallow...

2016 [01 January] - Ben Macdonald

PDF Report

This second trip to Israel was carefully planned to take in a range of exciting winter targets in the country and therefore take us from the Golan Heights in the far north to the Eilat Mountains in the very south, via the ever changing scenery of the Dead Sea, Galillee, the Arava Valley and the Negev Desert. We would like to thank Jonathan Meyrav...

2016 [02 February] - Mark Hows

PDF Report

...We were up early and headed for a morning drive on the 171 road, we quickly encountered some of the common bird species Arabian babblers, several wheatears, chukars, brown necked ravens etc. but no sign of the Onagers which were our targets. We popped back into the accommodation to check in and have a quick shower. The accommodation was a little weird but we hardly spent any time there....

2016 [03 March] - Birding Ecotours - Champions of the Flyway

PDF Report

2016 [03 March] - Steve Arlow

PDF Report

After a gap in 2015 to go to Texas I was looking forward to returning to the desert again and this would be the first time in March since 2013. As with many repeat trips some things were the same and some things were different in this case new sites.

2016 [05 May] - Steve Arlow - Birding Southern Israel

PDF Report

...Birding, apart from that undertaken on the way to and from the Arava, was all in the south of the country thus mileage was kept low and again accommodation was at Lotan. Whilst Lotan was not particularly birdy this time around it was preferable to staying in noisy Eilat, though a combination of heat, dust, AirCon on the flight and in the car meant that I had a largely blocked airways resulting in some mega snoring. This meant we looked around the Kibbutz to sleep elsewhere on a rotational basis so I didn’t keep Simon awake too much. Somewhat entertaining to find empty rooms to bed down in overnight, dragging mattresses out to sleep under the stars or me sleeping in the car, which thankfully had a passenger seat that went back a long way. All adds to the experience of birding holidays, if they were all the same they’d be boring...

2017 [03 March] - Steve Arlow

PDF Report

I decided to go a week earlier than I have done in the past and go straight south to optimise my chances of increasing my encounters with Ruppell’s and Subalpine Warblers as previous trips have usually only turned up one’s or two’s of Ruppell’s and none of SubAlps. This year it wouldn’t have mattered as it was an exceptional year in the Arava for both species with lots of both being found in many locations. Overall the Arava had great numbers of some species and almost completely absent of others; my best year ever for Ruppell’s Warblers, Subalpine Warblers, Eastern Bonelli’s Warbler, Steppe Buzzards, Steppe Eagles, Temminck’s Larks, Bar-tailed Larks, Hoopoe Larks, Desert Wheatears, Sardinian Warblers, Alpine Swifts, Collared Flycatchers, Desert Finches, Greater Sandplover. Worst year for Namaqua Dove...

Places to Stay

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

Kibbutz Lotan


Kibbutz Lotan Center for Bird watching is located in the heart of the great migration flyway through the Arava Valley near Eilat, Israel. Lotan provides an ideal to base for a birding tour for both groups and individuals. Comfortable guest lodging with full board is available throughout the year with tea/ coffee and other refreshments in all the rooms. Most of the birdwatching center`s activities are carried out during February to June and September to November. As well as superb on site birding, the center operates fully guided bird tours, a ringing (banding) station, raptor migration surveys, and a daily census. There is also an excellent bird reserve on the premises. First rate local guides are available for daily hire in season.


Eliat Birds Festival


During the festival week, Birders visiting on a package will enjoy a free guided minibus service that will visit the best birding hotspots in Eilat and the southern Arava. These tours will be led by experienced guides that will help you get the most out of your morning. Choose from 2-3 different destinations every day…

Hula Valley Bird Festival


During the peak birding season in the Hula Valley, when the migration season is at its height and the wintering species have already arrived, come and enjoy a great variety of activities: lectures, guided tours and identification workshops which will be held in the field by some of the best international experts…


Jerusalem Bird Observatory


Satellite View

The Israeli government has allocated a one-acre plot (5000 square meters) of prime real estate between the Knesset and the Supreme Court for the project. The site is one of the few traditional birdwatching areas in Jerusalem that has not been harmed by development, and is centrally located, making it attractive as an educational and tourist centre for the public. For many years the site lay in a state of neglect, with the two buildings on the surrounding grounds used as a repository for organic materials from the neighbouring parks. The area will be cleared of refuse and walking paths will be established. A gardening plan will be implemented in order to attract a wide variety of birds without damaging the existing vegetation.


Birding Israel


In 1996, the members of Kibbutz Lotan decided to build a small reserve to the south of their dairy barn. The site had been dry, sandy, barren terrain, except during occasional floods. Now, there is a small pond, young trees, and an alfalfa patch. Elsewhere, green plants have begun to cover the desert floor. It is now an area in which migrating birds can safely stop on their long journeys to refuel, drink, and rest. It is already a beautiful haven for birds and other wild animals, which visitors can enjoy seeing them with the help of blinds and camouflaged entranceways…

Israeli Ringing BLOG


Bird ringing activities in Israel: news from the field, forthcoming ringing activity, recent foreign controls, interesting species, in-hand identification and other subjects…

Other Links

Birding in Israel


Israel's most rewarding areas for birdwatching are up north around the Hula Valley and Golan Heights, the southern desert areas around Eilat and the shores of the Dead Sea. However there is interesting bird watching to be had in many other parts of Israel too, especially during the spring and autumn migrations when the country is flooded with birds from around the world…

Birding Israel


Welcome to one of the world's greatest migratory flyways! Our beautiful, rural setting in the Hammada desert of the southern Arava, gives our green Kibbutz an oasis like appeal for birds and birders alike. We are in the heart of the greatest Global Flyway on this side of the Atlantic, with hundreds of thousands of migrants passing over and through Kibbutz Lotan each spring, and also to an extent in the autumn. We're just a 35 minute drive from Eilat. So read on and find out why more and more birders choose Lotan as their favourite birding experience…



Half a billion birds fly through Israeli air space to migrate from Africa to Europe or Asia and back…

Desert Birds


Israeli Birding Website - This website features Israel's latest birding news, including trip reports, rarity alerts and monthly summaries - all with photographs.

Eilat Birding


Birding news from the IBRCE park and the greater Eilat region…

Eliat Birds Park


Israel is the only land bridge for birds migrating south from Europe and Asia to Africa in autumn and north to their breeding grounds in spring. Eilat is an important site because it is located on the northern edge of the Saharan-Arabian desert belt and is critical for many migrant species because it is reached after a flight of almost 2000 km of continuos desert regions of the Sahel, Sahara and Sinai deserts…

Flora and Fauna in Israel


Packed into Israel’s small area are snow-covered mountains, parched deserts, fertile fields, lush woodlands and long stretches of sand dunes. No less than four different geographical zones are included in the State of Israel, and the country’s climate ranges from semi-arid to temperate to subtropical….



The usual excellent entry.

Lesser Kestrel Decline


We studied the ecology of the Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni, a globally threatened species, to identify the factors causing its gradual decline in Israel, in order to stabilize and possibly restore its numbers. Lesser Kestrels in Israel breed in colonies, both adjacent to human settlements (rural and urban) and in the countryside…

Southern Israel Birding Sites


Here are further details about the sites we visited in Southern Israel during our holiday in September 1997. Most books provide details about the best sites, such as Eilat`s salt pans, but what I`ve tried to do here is provide a little further advice about the sites we looked at. In other words the information here is simply from our own experiences and is not intended to be a comprehensive site guide. For info about the Sandgrouse drinking pool in Eilat, look elsewhere! We never made it there!

The Israeli Center for Yardbirds


Israel is blessed with a great variety of birds, and bird-watchers from all over the world come here to watch our birds…

Photographers & Artists

Photographer - Amir Ayalon


I am a keen photographer with a passion for Nature and wildlife, i currently live in Tel-Aviv Israel with my lovely wife, Gorgeous son, and two crazy cats. Since early age i was fascinated by the Nature and Wildlife around me, and have found that you don’t have to look far to find beautiful places and amazing wildlife. Pockets of nature exist even in an urban society, but as we continue to over populate our planet, wild animals and truly wild places continue to diminish...

Photographer - Avi Blumen's Birds Photos


My name is Avi Blumen, I live in Israel, I'm 50 years old married and a father of a 1 teenage boy. I work as a graphic artist as well as a technical photographer in an advertising agency. On my free time I love to take nature photographs - mainly birds…

Photographer - Danny Laredo


Gallery of birds mostly photographed in Israel…

Photographer - Dubi Shapiro - World Photo Galleries


Quality Images of many rare species from all over the world including remote area as Madagascar, Papua and Indian Ocean Islands…

Photographer - Edri Shimon

Facebook Page

I am a nature photographer from Israel…

Photographer - Elroyie David


I love nature and photography and I tried to combine those two in my pictures. Photography is only a hobby to me, it comes on my spare time between work and other obligations…

Photographer - Erez Avraham


Fine Photographer from Israel…

Photographer - Ilia Shalamaev


I was born in Andijan, Uzbekistan, and now make my home the beautiful land of Israel. Since I was young, I learned to enjoy and appreciate the wonderful and diverse landscapes and wildlife my country of origin had to offer…

Photographer - Israel Fichman


The photo's in these galleries are all taken in Israel…

Photographer - Pablo Rudaeff

Facebook Page

Israeli Photographer with some very fine work – particularly specializing in ‘action’ shots of birds…

Photographer - Roie Galitz


Some bird pictures among other galleries - but very high quality…

Photographer - Uri Avitan


Bird photographs mainly from Israel…

Photographer - Yoram Shpirer


Some excellent photos of natural subjects…