Socotra and the Sana’a area of mainland Yemen - 12th - 20th October 2007

Published by Nick Moran (nickmoran76 AT

Participants: Nick Moran, Oscar Campbell, Steve James



Socotra quickly became high on my must-visit list after I took up residence in the UAE in 2004, thanks to glowing reports from Simon Aspinall and the circulation in early 2006 of Dave Sargeant’s outstanding trip report. Both of these brought to my attention the mouthwatering list of endemic species of flora and fauna this island has to offer. With Eid and therefore my half-term holiday falling in the middle of October, this autumn presented the ideal opportunity to sample Socotra’s delights first hand, with the additional enticements of witnessing some migration and doing some snorkeling.

My wife Becca took a little convincing that Socotra was the perfect holiday destination. Two birding mates from Abu Dhabi, Oscar and Steve, took far less persuading and quickly joined the team. Unfortunately that made the birder:civilian ratio 3:1, enough to put Becca off, so then there were three.

On contacting a local travel agent in Abu Dhabi it became clear that we would have an afternoon and most of the following day in/around the capital Sana’a on our return journey. We considered the possibility of driving 260km south to Taiz, where most of the higher altitude endemics are supposed to be easier, but given that this would have meant at least 10 hours in a car during our 30 hours on the mainland, we opted to do as much birding as we could near Sana’a instead. This proved to be the best choice by a country mile!

Given that Dave Sargeant’s Socotra account, which includes 11 maps and over 200 GPS waypoints, is the best trip report I have seen, logistical information for Socotra is not repeated here. In contrast, the most recent trip report we could find for the Sana’a area was written in 1993, and we could not find any references to sightings of several of the key species (Yemen Accentor, Yemen Thrush and Arabian Woodpecker) near Sana’a! This report therefore aims to provide:

1. Minor additions to Dave’s report concerning logistics on Socotra and in mainland Yemen
2. Limited additional details on some of the Socotra sites
3. Details on the birding sites near Sana’a, mainland Yemen, with grid references; and
4. An annotated species list for both areas.


Getting there – Flights and Visas

Yemenia were a pleasant surprise – both our flights to and from Sana’a (from Dubai) were on time, and did not go via Aden as I suspected they might after speaking to a friend who recently visited Sana’a. Outbound, we had a one and a half hour delay at Mukalla (Riyan airport), a standard stop-over on the south Yemen coast en route to and from Socotra, due to the mobile staircase being driven into the plane door too fast! Apart from this, we experienced no other delays and actually left Socotra airport a few minutes early on our return journey, despite heavy rain earlier that morning.

We all bought visas in advance from the Yemen Embassy in Abu Dhabi. This was expensive at $90 each but seemed like the only sensible option. The various permits we needed on Socotra and around Sana’a were organised as part of our package deal with Arabian Eco-tours.


We only took US dollars, with which we paid Arabian Eco-tours ($830 per person all inclusive except flights) and tipped our drivers/guides. A bit of Yemen currency might have been useful but we managed without it.

Health, Safety and Hassles

All three of us suffered diarrhoea at some point and I suffered a bout of acute gastroenteritis within a week of returning; my advice would be avoid chicken on Socotra and peel/wash fruit and salad everywhere in Yemen. Hand-sanitiser is a good idea when eating ‘in the field’; we were usually fairly grubby by lunchtime.

Everyone we met on Socotra and the mainland was friendly or at worst, naturally curious about what we were doing. The boys around Qalansiyah on Socotra were not as persistent as previously reported, though we did get followed and hassled by an irritating group of lads at Al Ahjur near Sana’a. If you take gifts for the local children (e.g. stationery) it is preferable to give these to a local school, rather than handing them out to the children you meet. This decreases the likelihood of encouraging begging, and helps to ensure that the resources are used as you intend, rather than being hoarded by the biggest bully in the village!

Getting Around

We hired a 4x4 vehicle and driver for both Socotra and the Sana’a area through Arabian Eco-tours in Sana’a, managed by Yousuf Mohageb. On Socotra, Yousuf arranged for Ahmed Saeid Suliman, a Conservation Unit Director for the Socotra Archipelago Conservation and Development Programme, to drive and guide us. Ahmed is very knowledgeable about all aspects of the islands, speaks very good English and is a great guy on top of all that! In Sana’a, Abu Tareq was our driver; he was friendly, reliable, knew the birding sites and spoke some English. Yousuf contacted us regularly by mobile phone and gave us extra gen for the Sana’a section of the trip in this way. His information was accurate, easy to follow and demonstrated that he is developing a very good knowledge of the birds and birding sites of Yemen.

Address: Yousuf Mohageb, Director, Arabian Eco-tours, PO Box 5420, Sana’a, Yemen. Telephone: +967 1 821 120. Fax: +967 1 326 134. Mobile: +967 7777 0024. Email: aet [at]


Fish on Socotra was generally fresh and delicious, though snack bars made a welcome addition to the diet during the day and a much-needed dessert on a few evenings. Tinned tuna, salad and Arabic bread picnics were the order of the day whenever we were out of reach of a fisherman and both Ahmed and Abu Tareq never failed to provide more food than we could eat on these occasions!

Climate and daylight

Our timing on Socotra was fortuitous; there was a moderate breeze on the first few afternoons, not enough to hamper birding but instead making for excellent seawatching conditions. There was some cloud and a light shower on our first afternoon then glorious sunshine until the morning of our departure, when it was very overcast and rained heavily (though Oscar and I still managed a very profitable, if wet, hour of birding!). Ahmed told us that this was the first significant rain of the monsoon! Sunrise and sunset were approximately 0500 and 1710 respectively during our stay on Socotra, and about 0600 and 1740 in Sana’a.

GPS use

We followed Dave’s lead and took GPS waypoints for the sites near Sana’a. On Socotra, Dave hadn’t left a stone unGPSed, though with Ahmed to guide us, we didn’t actually use his waypoints much anyway. Dave’s waypoints would be invaluable if you don’t have a guide.

To locate the grid references given in this report, make sure your GPS is set as follows:
[On my Garmin GPS, the following is found in the ‘Setup Menu’ under ‘Units’]

Position format: hdddomm’ss.s”
Map Datum: WGS 84
Distance: Metric
Elevation: Metres


Porter, R.F. & Suliman, A.S. (2007) Checklist of the birds of the Socotra Archipelago Unpublished

Porter, R.F., Christensen, S. & Schiermacker-Hansen P. (1996) Birds of the Middle East Helm Field Guides

Urquhart, E. & Bowley, A. (2002) Stonechats A Guide to the Genus Saxicola Helm Identification Guides

Rasmussen, P.C. & Anderton, J.C. (2005) Birds of South Asia. The Ripley Guide, Vols. 1 and 2. Smithsonian Institution and Lynx Edicions - Dave Sergeant’s invaluable Socotra trip report - a helpful if dated trip report on the OSME website (an illustrated version of the same report exists elsewhere on the net)

SOCOTRA - 12-19 October 2007

The only site details given are for the area in which we encountered Socotra Bunting on both dates we tried for it, as this is widely regarded as the most difficult endemic to find. All the other sites we visited on Socotra are covered to perfection in Dave’s report (see Bibliography). Three points worth highlighting about these sites:

1. Khor Sirhin just east of Hadibu – the best areas are not visible from the road so it is advisable to walk the whole perimeter of this khor whenever possible, rather than just ‘scoping from the road. This could take up to 3 hours if you are as lucky as we were! On the two occasions we left the road we were rewarded with fabulous views of Spotted Crake, Indian Pond Heron, Yellow Bittern, Golden Oriole and Socotra’s first Little Crake and Desert Lesser Whitethroat.

2. Wadi Zerig on the Dixem plateau – give this area as much time as you can; we spent over two hours here on one morning and ended up feeling that we should have made time to look there when we were passing earlier in the week. Three Socotra ‘firsts’ were present on 17 October: Corncrake, Sedge Warbler and Common Nightingale. Other interesting migrants recorded included Common Quail, Bluethroat and a probable Pintail Snipe.

3. Khor Dibni 14.8km east of Khor Sirhin – this is given only a brief mention in Dave’s trip report. As he says, it does look ‘unattractive to birds’ from the road but on closer inspection on our last afternoon, it yielded a vagrant in the form of a Pheasant-tailed Jacana, our only Black-crowned Night Herons of the trip, an Indian Pond Heron, a Pintail Snipe and a Socotra Bunting (one of only two we saw at sea level).

Socotra Bunting wadi

The first site we saw Socotra Bunting was a rather unprepossessing wadi behind a village at 635m on the Dixem plateau. Proceed along the main road to the South coast, looking out for a small village on the left side (there was only one obvious one) once you’re beyond Wadi Zerig on the top of the plateau. Use the grid reference below to make sure you’re in the right area. Take the track through the village: this is well-used by tour groups, as suggested by the house with a “Bedouin handicrafts” sign above its door! I suspect many tourists end up here at some point during their tour of the island; we saw at least two other tour vehicles. As you leave the village, there is a small wadi with a few buildings at the far end of it on your right, at N 12°28’39” E 053°59’50”. It was here that we enjoyed prolonged views of Socotra Bunting on our first visit. There are several ‘picnicable’ Dragon’s Blood trees nearby, and fantastic views over the Dragon Blood forest and an impressive gorge to the north. On our second visit, the buntings were on the left of the track, more or less on the edge of the gorge, less than 300m from where we saw them earlier in the week.

SANA’A AREA - 19-20 October 2007

Hamam Garif

Approximately 1.5 hours drive south of the airport (45km or 1 hour south of Sana’a city centre as the raven flies), turn right at N 15°02’57’’ E 044°15’39’’ and proceed down the steep winding road (asphalt) to the village of Hamam Garif. A track leads south from the village of Hamam Garif for about 2km to some pools that were very popular with locals on the Friday when we visited. Hot springs at the northern end of this wadi keep it well-vegetated, despite over-grazing. We birded the vegetation either side of the track, then the Acacia scrub and agricultural plots at the south end of the track, near the pools. This area is at approximately 1500m and is reputedly a good site for Arabian Waxbill, though we couldn’t find any. The site seemed very well known to locals and there is a good chance many taxi drivers in Sana’a would be able to find it.

Of interest during our visit on Friday 19 October were Arabian Partridge, Green Sandpiper, Namaqua Dove, Black Bush Robin, Blackstart, Golden-winged Grosbeak, Arabian Warbler, Brown Woodland Warbler, Arabian Babbler, Shining Sunbird, Black-crowned Tchagra, Arabian Serin, African Silverbill and Striated Bunting, plus several migrants such as Barred Warbler and Ménétries’ Warbler. As most of these species were scattered throughout the area, there is little point giving specific details of sighting locations.

We made a few stops at about 2400m on the way back up to the main road, recording Long-billed Pipit, Blue Rock Thrush, Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush, several South Arabian Wheatear and our only Pied Wheatear of the trip.
Kawkaban and Shibam

Approximately 1 hour drive (30km as the raven flies) west from central Sana’a, stop at the graveyard on the left side just after the road reaches the plateau (approximately 2900m), about 3km before the precipitously located village of Kawkaban. We had an amazing 2 hours here on Saturday 20 October, readily connecting with Philby’s and Arabian Partridges and Botta’s (Red-breasted) Wheatear near the graveyard at N 15°29’57” E 043°53’13” followed by the heady combination of Arabian Accentor, Little Rock Thrush, Yemen Thrush and Yemen Linnet in the terraced gully north of the graveyard at N 15°30’06” E 043°53’08”. Dusky Turtle Dove, Yemen Serin and Tristram’s Grackle were all easy to see here too. Four migrants made an appearance: Steppe Buzzard, Blue Rock Thrush, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff.

The village itself is on the tourist trail so once again, local taxi drivers should know where it is. There is a winding path that starts on the left just before the main gateway into the settlement, leading halfway down the escarpment towards Shibam. We birded this path and the Acacia along the road at the bottom of it, at N 15°30’24” E 043°53’54”, recording numerous Fan-tailed and Brown-necked Ravens, Palestine Sunbird and Yemen Serin, with smaller numbers of Griffon Vulture, Brown Woodland Warbler, South Arabian Wheatear and Yemen Linnet. An incongruous-looking Hammerkop was on the unvegetated pool near the start of the path and we saw our only Short-toed Eagle of the trip from the lower road, receiving the attention of dozens of ravens as it attempted to gain lift from the thermals.

Whilst Abu Tareq procured a picnic lunch we checked the roadside fields south of Shibam at N 15°29’50” E 043°54’48”, seeing plenty more Botta’s Wheatear, Yemen Serin and Yemen Linnet, as well as another 3 Dusky Turtle Dove. The altitude of these fields was 2400m so we deemed them worth checking for Arabian Waxbill, without success.

We returned in the afternoon to check the roadside Acacia at N 15°29’58” E 043°53’50” for Yemen Warbler, having driven past this habitat on the way up to Kawkaban earlier in the day. Brown Woodland Warbler, Little Rock Thrush and Dusky Turtle Dove were all seen well, as was our only Bonelli’s Eagle of the trip, being mobbed by a Steppe Buzzard.

Al Ahjur

15 minutes drive south-west of Shibam take the rough track on the left at N 15°27’48” E 043°53’40”. We stopped after about 500m and searched the degraded Acacia trees and plantations to the west of the track for half an hour, finding a tree with several Arabian Woodpecker nest holes at N 15°27’30.5” E 043°53’39.3”, plus Hoopoe, Golden-winged Grosbeak, Brown Woodland Warbler and African Rock Bunting. Unfortunately the local lads were rather insistent and annoying, more so than anywhere else we visited, making it difficult to birdwatch at times.

After a revitalising picnic, we drove another 500m or so to the village of Al Ahjur for our last major throw of the dice for Arabian Woodpecker. Our driver dropped us off at an unsightly and foul-smelling ‘stream’ (sewer) that ran down the hillside into fairly dense trees, from midway through the village. There were some reasonable stands of old Acacia trees, particularly at N 15°27’12” E 043°54’52”, and it was here that we finally struck gold, obtaining fantastic views of a male Arabian Woodpecker and brief views of its mate. The call, a typical if rather quiet woodpecker “kek-kek-kek-kek-kek”, was instrumental in helping locate the birds. Other species seen in this area included another fabulous Yemen Thrush, Brown Woodland Warbler, Ruppell’s Weaver, a male Golden Oriole, the trip’s only Grey Wagtail, four Blackcap and a Chiffchaff.

Species Lists

Details are omitted for the common birds - please contact the author if you would like an Excel spreadsheet of full records.


(Taxonomy follows the Checklist of the birds of the Socotra Archipelago, except Siberian Stonechat [Urquhart 2002])

CAPITALISATION indicates breeding or wintering population of international significance
** indicates first record for Socotra, according to the March 2007 version of the Checklist of the birds of the Socotra Archipelago.

Common Quail Coturnix coturnix
- 2 individuals
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
- 1 to 3 birds seen most days
Northern Pintail Anas acuta
- 1 female seen on 2 days
Garganey Anas querquedula
- max. count of 12
Eurasian Teal Anas crecca
- single bird
PERSIAN SHEARWATER Puffinus [lherminieri] persicus
- 500 on 12.10, 935 on 14.10
Flesh-footed Shearwater Puffinus carneipes
- 3 on 14.10
JOUANIN’S PETREL Bulweria fallax
- 200 on 14.10, small numbers most days. Great to see large numbers of this little-known petrel
Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus [ruber] roseus
- 3 birds seen on 2 days
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
- 2 birds
Yellow Bittern Ixobrychus sinensis
- 1 immature seen in terrible conditions at Khor Sirhin on the last morning. Photographed.
Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
- 4 individuals
Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii
- 3 birds
NB: A pond heron appearing to show some characteristics of Madagascar Pond Heron A. idae (and potentially incompatible with A. grayii) was seen on two dates at Khor Dilish. This species should be considered when observing pond herons on Socotra as there is a previous record.
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
- 3 birds
Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
- maximum count of 3 on 18.10
Great Egret Ardea [Egretta] alba
- 1 individual
Little Egret Egretta garzetta
Western Reef Heron Egretta gularis
RED-BILLED TROPICBIRD Phaethon aethereus
- 75 nesting on cliffs at Shoep
BROWN BOOBY Sula leucogaster
- 12 at Shoep
SOCOTRA CORMORANT Leucocarbo nigrigularis
- 4000 Qalansiyah and a single off the north coast
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
- encountered every day except one, maximum count 4 birds on 15.10
Osprey Pandion haliaetus
- 1 Ditwah
EGYPTIAN VULTURE Neophron percnopterus
- needs renaming ‘Socotra Winged Goat’
Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus
- 5 records, maximum daily count of 2 birds
SOCOTRA BUZZARD Buteo (socotranus)
- seen in several highland locations, easiest on Dixem Plateau (maximum 8). Good species?
Little Crake Porzana parva [NJM / OJC]
- single at Khor Sirhin 19.10. At last (for me!) – point-blank views; wot a burd!
Spotted Crake Porzana porzana
- singles at Khor Sirhin and K. Dibni, both 19.10
**Corncrake Crex crex [NJM / OJC]
- single at Wadi Zerig 17.10
Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus [NJM / OJC]
- maximum 5 Khor Sirhin
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus
Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva
- singles at Khor Sirhin and K. Ghuba
Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola
Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
- small numbers on Hadibu khors
Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus
Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus
- small numbers along the coast
Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultiai
- small numbers along the coast
Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus
- 1 juvenile Khor Dibni
Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus [SLJ]
- 1 Khor Dilish
Pintail Snipe Gallinago stenura
- 1 probable at Wadi Zerig and another at Khawr Dibni
Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago
Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica
- 1 at Khor Qurrayah
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata
Common Redshank Tringa tetanus
Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
- singles around Hadibu on 3 dates
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
- seen everyday, with an incredible migrating flock of 120 at Khor Ghuba 15.10.
Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus
- singles at Khor Sirhin on 2 dates
Common Sandpiper Tringa hypoleucos
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Sanderling Calidris alba
- 3 at Deham
Little Stint Calidris minuta
Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii
Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea
Dunlin Calidris alpina
- 1 Khor Quryah
Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus
- 2 at Khor Ghuba on 2 dates and a single at K. Quryah
Ruff Philomachus pugnax
Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus
- maximum count 150 offshore 12.10
Cream-coloured Courser Cursorius cursor
- maximum 15 on Qrahan Plain
SOOTY GULL Larus hemprichii
Heuglin's Gull Larus (fuscus) heuglini
Lesser Crested Tern Sterna bengalensis
Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis
Swift Tern Sterna bergii
Common Tern Sterna hirundo
BRIDLED TERN Onychoprion [Sterna] anaethetus
- most dark terns thought to be this species initially, until we looked more closely and realised that the following species seemed more abundant. Confirmed 17.10
Sooty Tern Onychoprion [Sterna] fuscata
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida
- maximum 3 Khor Sirhin
White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus
- single Qalansiyah
BROWN NODDY Anous stolidus
- maximum 15
Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus
- 2 on 14.10
Lichtenstein's Sandgrouse Pterocles lichtensteinii
- commonly seen/heard at dusk and several groups encountered during the day
Feral Pigeon Columba livia x forma domestica
Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis
Bruce's Green Pigeon Treron waalia
- at least 12 birds recorded over 3 dates
Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
- single on Dixem plateau
‘SOCOTRA’ SCOPS OWL Otus sunia/socotranus
- seen (and heard) in palm plantations that fringe Qrahan Plain
- easiest in highlands but also seen along the coast
European Roller Coracias garrulous
- 1 Khor Ghuba
Blue-cheeked Bee-eater Merops persicus
- 1 Khor Quryah
Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops [OJC / SLJ]
- 1 Dixem Plateau
**Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio
- 1 female type Shoep 15.10
SOUTHERN GREY SHRIKE Lanius meridionalis
Eurasian Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus
- singles at Dixem and Khor Sirhin
Brown-necked Raven Corvus ruficollis
Sand Martin Riparia riparia
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Rock Martin Ptyonoprogne (Hirundo) fuligula
- 2 singles in highlands
Common House Martin Delichon urbicum [NJM / OJC]
- 1 Khor Sirhin in rainstorm on 19.10
Greater Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla
- 15 records, daily maximum of 5 birds
Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark Eremopterix nigriceps
SOCOTRA CISTICOLA Cisticola haesitatus
- easy to find in the coastal scrub at Deham and Shoep
SOCOTRA WARBLER Cisticola incanus (Incana incana)
- up to 8 in the highlands, mainly on route to and on the Dixem Plateau
**Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
- 2 in Wadi Zerig on 17.10
**Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
- 1 in mangroves at Shoep on 15.10
**Desert Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca minula
- 1 seen well coming to drink at Khor Sirhin on 18.10
Abyssinian (White-breasted) White-eye Zosterops abyssinicus
Somali Starling Onychognathus blythii
SOCOTRA STARLING Onychognathus frater
- small numbers in the highlands, easy once recognised from previous species
Bluethroat Luscinia svecica
- 1 Wadi Zerig
**Common Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos
- 2 Wadi Zerig and 1 elsewhere on the Dixem Plateau, all 17.10
Siberian Stonechat Saxicola maura
- 1 female Khor Qadab, photographed.
Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina
- 2 birds
DESERT WHEATEAR Oenanthe deserti
- 11 records, with maximum of 7 on 18.10
**Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis
- single Qrahan Plain 12.10 and 2 Wadi Ayhaft 16.10
Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata
- 8 records from various locations, both coastal and highland
SOCOTRA SUNBIRD Chalcomitra [Nectarina] balfouri
- easy in the highlands, with maximum of 10 on Dixem Plateau
SOCOTRA SPARROW Passer insularis
- impossible to miss
Western Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava
- 32 records, daily maximum of 18
LONG-BILLED PIPIT Anthus similis
- seen daily. Quite different from the mainland (and UAE) birds
Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis
- 15 records from both coastal and highland locations
(SOCOTRA) GOLDEN-WINGED GROSBEAK Rhynchostruthus socotranus
- easiest on Dixem Plateau where our highest daily count was 15. Good bet for Burd of the Trip!
Cinnamon-breasted Bunting Emberiza tahapisi
SOCOTRA BUNTING Emberiza socotrana
- 11 records; see details in ‘Socotra’ section. Contender for Burd of the Trip
**Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana
- singles in coastal dunes on 12.10 and on Di Hamri headland on 18.10

(Taxonomic order follows Porter [1996], except African Stonechat [Urquhart 2002])

Hammerkop Scopus umbretta
- single at Kawkaban
Black Kite Milvus migrans
- apparently a mixture of aegyptius and milvans
Griffon Vulture Gyps fulvus
- 12 Kawkaban
Short-toed Eagle Circaetus gallicus
- 1 Kawkaban
Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
- 1 Haman Garif
Steppe Buzzard Buteo buteo vulpinus
- 4 Kawkaban
Bonelli's Eagle Hieraaetus fasciatus
- 1 Kawkaban
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
Philby's Partridge Alectoris philbyi
- 10 Kawkaban, including chicks. Fantastic!
Arabian Partridge Alectoris melanocephala
- 15 Kawkaban, including chicks
Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
- 1 Haman Garif
Rock Dove Columba livia
- ‘genuine’ birds around Kawkaban
Red-eyed Dove Streptopelia semitorquata
Dusky Turtle Dove Streptopelia lugens
- 20 Kawkaban
Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis
Namaqua Dove Oena capensis
- 1 female Haman Garif
Little Green Bee-eater Merops orientalis
Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops
- 1 Al Ahjur
Arabian Woodpecker Dendrocopus dorae
- Pair at Al Ahjur WOT A BURD! Bookies’ favourite for Burd of the Trip!
Crested Lark Galerida cristata
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
Rock Martin Ptyonoprogne (Hirundo) fuligula
Long-billed Pipit Anthus similis
Grey Wagtail Motacilla citreola
- 1 Al Ahjur
Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus xanthopygos
Arabian Accentor Prunella fagani
- 6 Kawkaban, including fabulous views of singing males. Burd of the Trip contender
Black Bush Robin Cercotrichas podobe
- 8 Haman Garif
Blackstart Cercomela melanura
- 6 Haman Garif, 1 Al Ahjur
African Stonechat Saxicola torquata felix
- 3 Kawkaban
Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina
Red-breasted Wheatear Oenanthe bottae
- 20 of these fine wheatears at Kawkaban
Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka
- 1 Haman Garif
South Arabian Wheatear Oenanthe lugentoides
Little Rock Thrush Monticola rufocinerea
- 5 of this fabulous Monticola at Kawkaban, 2 Al Ahjur
Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius
- singles at Haman Garif and Kawkaban
Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis
- 1 Haman Garif
Yemen Thrush Turdus menachensis
- 1 at Kawkaban and another at Al Ahjur gave incredible views! A real bonus burd.
Graceful Prinia Prinia gracilis
Olivaceaous Warbler Hippolais pallida
Menetries' Warbler Sylvia mystacea
- 1 Haman Garif
Arabian Warbler Sylvia leucomelaena
- 6 Haman Garif
Barred Warbler Sylvia nisoria
- 3 Haman Garif
Desert Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca minula
Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
- 4 Al Ahjur
Brown Woodland Warbler Phylloscopus umbrovirens
- 1 Haman Garif, 4 each at Kawkaban and Al Ahjur
Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
- 2 birds
Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
- 1 Kawkaban
Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata
- 1 Haman Garif
Arabian Babbler Turdoides squamiceps
Shining Sunbird Nectarina habessinica
- 2 Haman Garif
Palestine Sunbird Nectarina osea
- 15+ around Kawkaban
Eurasian Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus
- 1 male Al Ahjur
Black-crowned Tchagra Tchagra senegala
- single at Haman Garif
Southern Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis
Brown-necked Raven Corvus ruficollis
Fan-tailed Raven Corvus rhipidurus
Tristram's Grackle Onychognathus tristramii
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Rüppell's Weaver Ploceus galbula
African Silverbill Euodice cantans
Arabian Serin Serinus Rothschildi
- 15 Haman Garif, smaller numbers at the other 2 sites
Yemen Serin Serinus menachensis
- 50 Kawkaban
Golden-winged Grosbeak Rhynchostruthus socotranus
- 4 each at Haman Garif and Al Ahjur made for an interesting comparison with the birds seen on Socotra
Yemen Linnet Carduelis yemenensis
- 50 Kawkaban
Striated Bunting Emberiza striolata
- 2 Haman Garif
Cinnamon-breasted Bunting Emberiza tahapisi