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14 Birds That Migrate In United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a vital stop-over for migratory birds from across the world. Due to the diverse climatic conditions and geographical location, several species of birds flock to the UAE annually.

Migratory birds leave their breeding grounds during the winter months and make their way to warmer climates with abundant food sources. The UAE lies on a major flyway connecting Europe, Africa, and Asia, making it an essential destination for these birds.

Here, we will explore some of the most common migratory birds that visit the UAE and the significance of their presence in the country.

1. Bustard


Bustards are large, terrestrial birds that inhabit dry grassland areas and the steppes of the Old World. They range from 40-150 cm in length and belong to the family Otididae.

Bustards have an omnivorous diet consisting of leaves, buds, seeds, fruit as well as small vertebrates and invertebrates.

These birds usually live a solitary life but can be seen gathering around water sources or food during certain times of year such as mating season.

Due to their large size they are vulnerable to predation by foxes or other animals which is why they tend to remain alert at all times.

When in open spaces while relying on camouflage for protection against predators when out in tall vegetation coverings.Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Clade Otidimorphae
Order Otidiformes Wagler, 1830
Family Otididae Rafinesque, 1815

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2. Northern Storm Petrels

Northern storm petrels

Northern storm petrels are one of the smallest seabirds, inhabiting oceans all over the world.

They have a unique ability to hover over water and pick planktonic crustaceans and small fish from the surface.

Northern storm petrels belong to the genus Hydrobates in family Hydrobatidae, part of Procellariiformes order.

This species was once lumped with austral storm petrel but recent studies show that they weren’t related closely which led them being split into two distinct species now.

These birds can be identified by their dark grey upperparts and wings along with white underparts when seen from afar while feeding on ocean’s surface.Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Procellariiformes
Family Hydrobatidae Mathews, 1912
Genus Hydrobates F. Boie, 1822

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3. Bee-Eater


Bee-eaters are one of the most beautiful and vibrant birds in existence. They have a slender body, long wings, down turned bills and their signature elongated central tail feathers which make them instantly recognizable from afar.

Their plumage is incredibly colorful with many shades ranging from blues to greens to reds that glisten when they fly through the air.

These stunning creatures can be found all over Africa, Asia, Southern Europe, Australia and New Guinea where they feed mainly on bees but also other insects like flies or wasps as well as small mammals such as lizards or rodents.

Bee-eaters live in colonies near rivers or wetlands so that they may easily hunt for food while staying close together for safety purposes.

 Additionally it allows them to better display their impressive courtship dances during mating season.Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Coraciiformes
Family Meropidae Rafinesque, 1815

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4. Egyptian Vulture

Egyptian vulture

The Egyptian Vulture is a small Old World vulture known for its distinctive wedge-shaped tail and contrasting underwing pattern.

It has been found from the Iberian Peninsula through North Africa to India, making it one of the most widespread birds in that area.

This species eats mostly carrion but will also feed on eggs and small prey if they can find them. Its diet consists mainly of lizards, insects and other invertebrates as well as fruit like figs, grapes or mulberries when available.

The Egyptian Vulture plays an important role in ecosystems by helping to clean up carcasses which could otherwise spread disease or attract predators such as jackals into human settlements.

They are considered vulnerable due to threats including habitat destruction, electrocution from power lines and accidental poisoning – all factors contributing towards their decline in numbers across their rangeScientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Accipitriformes
Family Accipitridae
Genus Neophron Savigny, 1809
Species N. percnopterus

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5. Crab-Plover


The crab-plover is an exceptional bird which belongs to its own family, Dromadidae. It appears to be closely related to the waders and other Charadriiformes such as auks, gulls and thick-knees.

This species of bird has a unique look; it is white with black markings on its head and wings. Its long bill helps them dig for food in sand or mudflats.

They can also fly up into the air when disturbed by predators or people too close for comfort.

The crab plover spends most of its life near beaches where they feed on crabs, fish eggs and small insects found there.

These birds are highly social during breeding season but solitary at other times throughout their annual cycle making them difficult creatures to spot out in the wild but well worth trying.Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Charadriiformes
Suborder Lari
Family Dromadidae GR Gray, 1840
Genus Dromas Paykull, 1805
Species D. ardeola

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6. Eurasian Reed Warbler

Eurasian reed warbler

The Eurasian reed warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus) is a species of Old World Warbler native to the temperate parts of Europe and Asia.

It breeds in wetlands such as marshes, ponds and rivers with dense vegetation like reeds or tall grasses.

During its wintering season, it migrates southward to sub-Saharan Africa where there are milder conditions.

This small bird has streaked brown plumage on the upperparts and white underparts which makes it difficult for predators to spot among the foliage.

Its diet consists mainly of insects including aphids, caterpillars larvae and moths caught while flying over water or by gleaning from plants growing near water bodies.

The male sings an attractive song consisting of several phrases repeated one after another as part of their courtship display during breeding season in order attract females for mating purposes.Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Passeriformes
Family Acrocephalidae
Genus Acrocephalus
Species A. scirpaceus

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7. Greater Flamingo

Greater flamingo

The Greater Flamingo is an impressive bird belonging to the Phoenicopteridae family. It’s one of the most widespread and largest species among flamingos with a range covering Africa, India, Middle East and southern parts of Europe.

The bird was described by Peter Simon Pallas in 1811 but it wasn’t until recently that it was distinguished from American Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber), due to differences in coloration between them.

This large-bodied wading bird stands tall at 1m on average and has bright pink plumage adorning its long neck and legs which gives way to black wing tips when flying.

Its diet mainly consists of algae, crustaceans as well as small aquatic animals like mollusks found while they feed along shallow lakes or lagoons where they live their social lives surrounded by others just like them.Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Phoenicopteriformes
Family Phoenicopteridae
Genus Phoenicopterus
Species P. roseus

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8. Spoonbills


Spoonbills are large wading birds belonging to the genus Platalea. Characterized by their long legs and distinctive spoon-shaped beaks, these birds can be found all over the world except Antarctica.

The name of this genus derives from Ancient Greek meaning “broad”, referring to their bill’s shape.

There are six species of Spoonbill recognized – though they usually form a single group, sometimes it is divided into three genera.

These graceful creatures feed mainly on small aquatic organisms such as insects and fish which they catch with an open-mouth technique while sweeping through shallow waters in search for food.

They typically breed near water bodies during springtime when there’s plenty of food available around them.Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Pelecaniformes
Family Threskiornithidae
Subfamily Plataleinae
Genus Platalea Linnaeus, 1758

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9. Larks


Larks are small passerine birds that belong to the Alaudidae family. These birds have a cosmopolitan distribution and can be found in many different habitats, including dry regions.

The largest number of lark species is located in Africa, while only one species (horned lark) inhabits North America and another one (Horsfield’s bush lark) lives in Australia.

These beautiful creatures usually appear during dawn or dusk as they sing their melodious songs high up into the sky.

Larks possess impressive flying skills which make them capable of reaching heights far above most other bird species.

Despite this skill, they prefer living close to the ground where there are plenty of seeds and insects for them to feed on.Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Passeriformes
Superfamily Sylvioidea
Family Alaudidae Vigors, 1825

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10. Blue-Cheeked Bee-Eater

Blue-cheeked bee-eater

The Blue-cheeked Bee-eater (Merops persicus) is a stunningly beautiful bird belonging to the Meropidae family. It has an unmistakeable blue coloring on its cheeks and neck, which stands out against its yellow body plumage.

This species of bee-eater can be found in Northern Africa, Middle East countries from Turkey eastwards till Kazakhstan, and India as well.

During winter they migrate south to tropical regions of Africa while some populations remain put for breeding purposes year round.

They are adept at catching insects midair with their long curved bills which makes them excellent predators in open grasslands or savannas where bees and other insects thrive abundantly.

So if you ever happen across these vibrant beauties make sure to take a moment pause and appreciate nature’s wonders.Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Coraciiformes
Family Meropidae
Genus Merops
Species M. persicus

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11. Pin-Tailed Snipe

Pin-tailed snipe

The Pin-tailed Snipe is a species of bird belonging to the family Scolopacidae. It breeds in northern Russia and migrates south during non-breeding seasons, travelling as far as Pakistan, Indonesia and even Australia.

This remarkable little bird has adapted well to its environment; it prefers wetland habitats such as marshes for breeding season and open grassy areas with low vegetation when migrating.

Its diet consists mainly of insects, worms and molluscs which are found on or near the ground amongst dense vegetation.

The pin-tailed snipe’s plumage helps camouflage it from predators while searching for food along damp grounds.

All in all this small yet resilient creature is an amazing example of evolution at work.Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Charadriiformes
Family Scolopacidae
Genus Gallinago
Species G. stenura

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12. Western Reef Heron

Western reef heron

The western reef heron, also known as the western reef egret, is a medium-sized bird found in southern Europe, Africa and some parts of Asia. It usually inhabits coastal areas and has two distinctive plumage forms.

The slaty-grey form can be mistaken for the rare dark morph of the Little Egret while its white form looks similar to that of an immature Grey Heron.

This species feeds mainly on fish but will occasionally eat insects or other small aquatic animals like crabs and molluscs too.

Western Reef Herons are solitary birds that nest near water bodies where they build nests from sticks which may sometimes contain feathers or seaweed as well.

They have become endangered since their habitats have been destroyed due to human activities such as building developments along coastlines; however conservation efforts are being taken to ensure their survival into future generations.Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Pelecaniformes
Family Ardeidae
Genus Egretta
Species E. gularis

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13. Sandpiper


Sandpiper is a type of wading bird that belongs to the family Scolopacidae. It is a diverse family that includes various species such as curlew and snipe.

Sandpipers have different bill lengths that allow them to feed on small invertebrates and creatures found in mud or soil.

Due to this diversity, different species can coexist in the same habitat without competing for food.

Sandpipers are commonly found near the coast but are also found in other wetland environments.

They are known for their slender legs, long beak, and streamlined body that enables them to move easily in and out of water.

Sandpipers are a unique and fascinating bird species that are interesting to observe in their natural habitat.Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Charadriiformes
Suborder Scolopaci
Family Scolopacidae Rafinesque, 1815

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14. Chlamydotis


Chlamydotis birds are members of the bustard family and are known for their large size. The genus name comes from an Ancient Greek word for a horseman’s cloak with weights sewn into its corners.

Chlamydotis birds show very little sexual dimorphism in their plumage, which means that males and females look similar.

This clade consists of two extant species that were previously considered to be a single species.

These birds form a sister group within the larger clade that includes the genus Otis, which is another group of bustards.

Overall, Chlamydotis birds are unique and interesting species that are worthy of further study and attention.Scientific classification:

Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Otidiformes
Family Otididae
Genus Chlamydotis Lesson, 1839


The United Arab Emirates serves as a vital stopover and wintering ground for 14 migratory bird species, highlighting the region’s significance in global avian conservation efforts.

From the graceful Flamingos to the agile Ospreys, these migratory birds traverse vast distances, relying on the UAE’s diverse habitats for rest, feeding, and breeding.

As stewards of this crucial migratory route, it is imperative to prioritize habitat conservation, mitigate threats such as habitat loss and climate change, and promote sustainable practices to ensure the continued survival of these magnificent avian travelers.

By safeguarding their habitats and promoting awareness, we can uphold the UAE’s role in supporting global biodiversity and fostering a harmonious coexistence between humans and nature.

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