When you go bird watching in Wadi Rum desert, you will likely spot the beautiful Sinai Rosefinch as our desert is home to our national bird. The Sinai Rosefinch is part of the Fringillidae family. With approximately 14 cm, this bird belongs to the smaller ones. The males have beautiful pink heads and chests. The females are harder to spot as their colors match their surroundings perfectly. They are true masters of camouflage. The Sinai Rosefinch’s natural habitat is the hot desert, and they live in our country, Israel, and parts of Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Did you know that Wadi Rum hosts a wide variety of both resident and migrant species of birds?
Last year November, we wrote a blog about the amazing animals of Wadi Rum desert. In this blog, we promised to write separate blogs about the vegetation and birds of Wadi Rum.
Last March, we wrote the blog ‘An interesting insight on the vegetation of Wadi Rum desert‘. Today we complete this triptych by writing about our lovely birds.
The birds of Wadi Rum desert
Wadi Rum desert is an essential place for both desert and mountain birds. With 120 species of birds, we can state that our desert’s birdlife is abundant. 34 species are breeding or holding territory in Wadi Rum. The remainders are passage migrants or winter visitors. The birds include many typical desert species like larks and wheatears.
Common species are the short-tailed raven, pigeons, and partridges. These can be spotted easily. Desert Larks, White-crowned Black Wheatears, and Mourning Wheatears are common too. The mountain tops and gorges are home to our birds of prey. Eagles, buzzards, falcons, and vultures circle our desert sky looking for rodents and dead carcasses. In summer, you can see flocks of Tristram’s Grackle passing by and African Rock Martins flying along our stunning cliffs.
During spring and autumn, thousands of migrating birds pass by Wadi Rum. Among them are many birds of prey like Steppe Eagles, Steppe Buzzards, and Honey Buzzards. But also storks and pelicans. They take refuge in our desert for resting and feeding. In the proposal for inclusion in the World Heritage list (January 2010), UNESCO stated: “For birds like these, places where they can safely stop, rest and ‘re-fuel’ are vital to their survival. The size, topography, and varied habitats of Wadi Rum give it strategic importance as a sanctuary on this globally significant migration route.”.
Jordan, a bottleneck for migrating birds
Our country is one of the wealthiest countries for birdlife on our planet. It is a huge meeting point for migrating birds as many migrating birds from Africa, Asia, and Europe pass through ‘bottleneck’ Jordan twice a year. Our country is a refuge for these birds as many of them take a break once they arrive in Jordan. They rest and re-fuel in our wildlife reserves, before continuing their journey from and to their breeding grounds. Some 10% of our country’s land is designated as essential areas for birds. This way, we try to protect and support the birds. Key sites where you can watch birds in our country are Azraq Wetland reserve, Dana Reserve, and of course, our homeland, Wadi Rum desert.
If you are interested in bird watching, bring your binoculars! We are more than happy to help you spot the beautiful birds that call our desert their (temporarily) home.