Bird Watching in Dubai – A Comprehensive Guide

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
  • Lapwing
  • House Sparrow
  • Indian Moorhen
  • Crested Lark
  • Desert Lark
  • Eurasian Collared Dove
  • Common Coot
  • Black Winged Stilt
  • Bulbuls

Birds Which Don’t Naturally Breed in the UAE But Have Settled

  • Egyptian Goose
  • Grey Francolin
  • House Crow
  • Mallard
  • 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

  • Wagtails
  • Warblers
  • Whimbrel
  • Terns
  • Stints
  • Snipes
  • Sanderling
  • Sandpipers
  • Eagles
  • Falcons
  • Gulls
  • Pipwit
  • Plovers
  • Godwit
  • Flycatchers
  • Avocet
  • Curlew

What Birds are There at Certain Times of the Year?

Bird Watching in Dubai | The Vacation Builder

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.

BirdMonths
Canada GooseJanuary, November, December
Black Necked SwanJune, July
Bewicks SwanJanuary, February, June
Mandarin DuckJanuary, May
Silver TealFebruary
Chiloe WigeonApril
Red Crested PochardJanuary, February, November, December
Rosy Billed PochardJuly
Barbary PartridgeSeptember, October
Red Necked FrancolinApril
Stock DoveNovember
White Rumped SandpiperMay

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

Bird Watching in Dubai | The Vacation Builder

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.

Location

Safa Park – Dubai

Bird Watching in Dubai - Safa Park | The Vacation Builder

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.

Location

Dubai Creek Park

Bird Watching in Dubai - Dubai Creek Park | The Vacation Builder

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.

Location

Ras al Khor Wildlife Reserve – Dubai

Bird Watching in Dubai - Ras Al Khor Wildlife Reserve | The Vacation Builder

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.

Location

Al Warsan Lakes – Dubai

Bird Watching in Dubai - Al Warsan Lakes | The Vacation Builder

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.

Location

Wasit Nature Reserve – Sharjah

Bird Watching in Dubai - Wasit Nature Reserve | The Vacation Builder

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.

Location

Al Marmoom Desert Conservation Reserve – Dubai

https://youtu.be/17L_nWnMMoc

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.

Location

Mushrif National Park – Dubai

Bird Watching in Dubai | Mushrif National Park
Photo Courtesy of Trip Advisor

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.

Location

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.

Location

Khor Al Beidah – Dubai

Bird Watching in Dubai - Khor Al Beidah | The Vacation Builder

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.

Location

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.

Location

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.

Location

Jebel Jais – Ras Al Khaimah

Bird Watching in Dubai - Jebel Jais | The Vacation Builder

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!

Location

Conclusion

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!

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