The United Arab Emirates is a country situated in the Middles East and experiences hot, dry weather throughout much of the year. In the last 50 years, the UAE has grown into a major financial power thanks to the rich oil reserves under its desert sands. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the two largest emirates in the UAE. Many travellers descend on the Middle Eastern nation arriving at one of the two cities although there are other destinations like Sharjah that deserve a visit.
Temperatures in the UAE make it a region specific to certain bird species. The summer months can experience temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). Meanwhile, the winter months are still warm with temperatures reported as 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) to 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). Despite those being the reported winter temperatures, it can often be far warmer.
The UAE is a hot spot (no pun intended) for birdwatching due to the number of bird species only found in the Middle Eastern country. There have been over 440 bird species registered in the UAE.
What is the best bird watching location in United Arab Emirates?
1. Khor Kalba Reserve
The Khor Kalba Reserve has a remarkably diverse landscape made up of mountains, beaches, mangroves, and shrubland. Khor Kalba Reserve is home to the Kalba Bird of Prey Centre which offers you the chance to see some extremely exciting birds that are endemic to the region.
The Kingfisher Lodge is located at the reserve which possess luxury tents that look out onto the Indian Ocean. These tents make for a great base for anyone visiting Khor Kalba Reserve to birdwatch. The reserve is one of the oldest greenspaces in the entire UAE. Two endangered bird species, the Egret and Woodland Kingfisher, can be found in the Khor Kalba Reserve along with several other species of great migratory and endemic birds.
Khor Kalba Reserve is located near Sharjah, one of the UAE’s most exciting travel destinations. Sharjah is overlooked by many foreign travellers as it doesn’t have the name that Dubai or Abu Dhabi possess. Sharjah takes its wildlife and nature seriously which makes it a great destination for birders.
2. Wasit Wetland Center
The Wasit Wetland Center is also part of Sharjah and offers a very distinct landscape to birds that live permanently or temporarily in the area. The nature reserve previously contained waste water that was pumped into it and was also covered in debris from the local oil refineries. In the early 2000s, the Wasit Wetland Center was renovated and turned into a destination for birds and birdwatchers. However, it is so much more to the area besides being a birding destination. The Wasit Wetland Center has been labelled as the “lung of Sharjah”.
The wetlands are quite diverse and are situated next to the land and the sea providing large dunes and salt water lagoons. There are up to 350 bird species that have been spotted in the Wasit Wetland Center. Some of the bird species seen in the wetlands include Purple Swamphen, Northern Bald Ibis, and Greater Flamingo.
Birds travelling from Asia to Africa often stop off at the Wasit Wetland Center. However, due to the wetlands being rich in food and a safe place to live, some stay year-round. The reserve now has a cafe and visitors centre allowing individuals to spend a full day exploring the Wasit Wetland Center.
3. Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary
Dubai’s Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary is a wetland reserve sitting at the mouth of Dubai Creek. The sanctuary attracts migratory birds making the park home for part of the year. Inside the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary, there are three bird reserves.
Flamingoes are the main attraction in the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary. There are an estimated 500 flamingoes that live in the sanctuary.
The unique part of the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary is that it is located in Dubai. The sanctuary provides a calm, refreshing natural greenspace safe from the hustle and bustle of Dubai around it. Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the very few protected urban enclaves in the world. If you book a holiday to Dubai, you can explore the park during the day and be out and about in Dubai when the sun goes down.
Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary has a vast number of birds available to see including the Grey Plover, Yellow-billed Stork, and Eurasian Marsh Harrier.
4. Wadi Wurayah
Wadi Wurayah is a massive nature area covering 12,700 hectares. It is situated between the towns of Masafi, Khor Fakkan, and Bidiyah. It was registered as a protected mountain area in 2009. Over 300 animal species can be found in Wadi Wurayah.
Some of the bird species you can spot on a trip to Wadi Wurayah are the Laughing Dove, Indian Roller, Corn Bunting, and Green Bee Eater. Wadi Wurayah is off the beaten path as far as birdwatching destinations in the UAE. While the reserves previously mentioned are near bigger towns and cities in the country, Wadi Wurayah is away from the typical UAE tourist destinations.
Wadi Wurayah is a beautiful area of the UAE which is quite unique to the country. The scenery is magnificent with brown cliffs dotted with green trees and shrubland. The reserve is located in Fujairah which is the only UAE Emirate that has a coastline on the Gulf of Oman.
Along with visiting Wadi Wurayah, Fujairah has several notable tourist destinations including Fujairah Fort, Al Aqah Beach, and Fujairah Museum.
The UAE is a remarkable country to visit on a birdwatching trip. Its differing, hot, dry landscapes, make it a unique place to explore to spot birds you will never see anywhere else.
We are avid bird-watchers who recently retired, allowing us more time to travel the world. Fortunately, we have managed to visit numerous countries around Europe, Asia, and America. Watching and photographing birds has been a passion for many years and we are making the most of the extra time on our hands!