Dubai has much to offer; but many bird enthusiasts wouldn’t expect the UAE to offer fantastic bird watching experiences. Here we take a look at Bird Watching in Dubai and surrounding areas such as Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah.
The UAE has a hot and dry climate which means that many different species of bird migrate here during the winter months. Add to this over 400 different species which naturally occur in the UAE and you have yourself an excellent birding destination!
What Birds Can I Expect to Find in Dubai?
There are many species of birds in Dubai which have either settled here or migrate during certain seasons of the year. Here is a list below of the birds which you can expect to find in the UAE.
Birds Which Naturally Breed and Live in the UAE
- Indian Silver Bill
- Palm Dove
- Kentish Plover
- Purple Sunbird
- Little Ringed Plover
- House Sparrow
- Indian Moorhen
- Crested Lark
- Desert Lark
- Eurasian Collared Dove
- Common Coot
- Black Winged Stilt
Birds Which Don’t Naturally Breed in the UAE But Have Settled
- Egyptian Goose
- Grey Francolin
- House Crow
- Streaked Weaver
- Masked Weaver
- Yellow Crowned Bishop
- Superb Starling
- Streaked Weaver
- Scaly Breasted Munia
- Plum Headed Parakeet
- Rose Rined Parakeet
- Alexandrine Parakeet
Birds Which Migrate to the UAE
What Birds are There at Certain Times of the Year?
Below we have put together a table to show some of the more rare birds in Dubai and when they can be seen. These bird species are either passing through or migrating.
|Canada Goose||January, November, December|
|Black Necked Swan||June, July|
|Bewicks Swan||January, February, June|
|Mandarin Duck||January, May|
|Red Crested Pochard||January, February, November, December|
|Rosy Billed Pochard||July|
|Barbary Partridge||September, October|
|Red Necked Francolin||April|
|White Rumped Sandpiper||May|
For more information on what birds there are to see in the UAE and in which months, check out EBird’s table.
Where to go Bird Watching in the UAE
There are many great spots for bird watching in Dubai. We have listed 13 of them below.
Al Mamzar Park – Dubai
Probably the best birding spot in Dubai. Mamzar Park offers great bird watching of migrant bird species from late August to early November and in March until May.
Safa Park – Dubai
Safa Park probably see’s the most variation of migrating birds through the winter months. If you’re visiting Dubai in December and January then head to Safa Park.
Dubai Creek Park
Dubai Creek Park offers a good variety of migrating bird species but not of the volumes of Mamzar Park and Safa Park. Dubai Creek is a fantastic place for a stroll with your camera anyway, so still worth a visit.
Ras al Khor Wildlife Reserve – Dubai
Famous mainly for the Flamingo’s, Ras Al Khor Wildlife Park is a great winter spot for seeing migrating birds. The Greater Spotted Eagle is seen often here from October to April.
Al Warsan Lakes – Dubai
Mainly White Tailed Lapwing and Clamorous Weed Warbler which are resident species in the UAE. Over 190 species of bird have been spotted at Al Warsan Lakes since 2005.
Rare bird sightings include, Asian Koel, Little Swift, Marbled Duck and Mediterranean Gull.
Wasit Nature Reserve – Sharjah
Previously an old rubbish dump, Wasit Nature Reserve has undergone a tremendous rehabilitation process. Some years and over 30,000 planted trees later and the old rubbish tip is now home to over 300 species of bird! An incredible example of how the human race can bring nature back to life!
This nature reserve is a little different to the rest. There is an underground transparent wall which allows visitors to view the incredible wildlife whilst not disturbing a blade of grass.
Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve – Dubai
Just half an hour from the centre of Dubai, Al Marmoom DCR is great for spotting desert birds such as Pin-Tailed Sandgrouse, Black Crowne Sparrow Lark, Greater Hoopoe Lark and the Cream Coloured Courser. On occasion there has also been sightings of many raptors such as the Lappet Faced Vulture.
The best season for wildlife in the Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve is between October and March. Other wildlife such as the Arabian Oryx can also be viewed here.
Mushrif National Park – Dubai
The home of Pallid Scops Owl and the occasional passing flock of migrating Warblers during winter. Many other wintering rapters are also seen at Mushrif National Park.
Al Zorah Khor – Dubai
Al Zorah Khor is one of the most important wetland areas in the northern emirates. This park supports a diverse range of wetland habitats given its location housing creeks and mangrove forests.
The rare and vulnerable Greater Spotted Eagle resides here, as does the Socotra Cormorant. Winter see’s the passage of Greater Flamingo too.
Khor Al Beidah – Dubai
A controversial area for bird sightings, and not too far from Al Mamzar Park. You will need you walking boots to access this one, or better yet, a 4×4.
The reason for controversy is due to the illegal felling of mangroves to develop real estate. This tidal wetland is largely unprotected which is a real shame as it is home to more than 400 species of wildlife.
The place for wintering shorebirds if you are able to gain access.
Qarn Nazwa – Sharjah
The Common Swift, Indian Silverbill and White Eared Bulbul are common here. Located around an hours drive from Dubai in Sharjah, Qarn Nazwa is home to around 100 species of bird including rare sightings of the White Crowned Wheatear and the Alpine Swift.
Lahbab Fields – Sharjah
Not too far from Qarn Nazwa, Lahbab Fields is home to over 80 species of bird. Bird including Red Wattled Lapwing and Indian Roller can be viewed here. Winter migratory visitors include Bimaculated Lark and Oriental Skylark amongst many others.
Jebel Jais – Ras Al Khaimah
The UAE’s highest mountain peak and one with a fantastic observation deck built with several viewing platforms great for birding. Aside from bird watching the mountain deck will be a base for hikers and mountain bikers to test themselves. Don’t worry about having a place to refuel too, as in the UAE they do everything properly or not at all! There will be picnic benches and a food truck area too.
For bird watchers visiting the UAE in the summer, Jebel Jais is a perfect spot. Temperatures up there are on average 10 degrees Celsius cooler than in the city of Dubai, making for more pleasant viewing. On top of the hundreds of different bird species in Jebel Jais you can also spot mountain goats, camels, foxes and wildcats!
So there you have it, our complete guide to Bird Watching in Dubai. Seasoned visitors of the UAE already know how fantastic birding can be over here. For those new to Dubai and the UAE, I bet you never knew how fantastic the wildlife here actually is!