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Bird watching or birding means going outside to enjoy watching birds. It is a popular hobby. Someone who does this is called a birdwatcher or birder. These two words mean the same thing, but people who spend a lot of their time watching birds, taking their hobby seriously, are more likely to call themselves “birders”, while “birdwatchers” may just be people who like watching birds when they happen to go for a walk. Both birdwatchers and birders are usually amateurs. The scientific study of birds is called ornithology. People who study birds as a profession are called ornithologists.
Bird-watchers from all over the World have started organizing week-long trips to Jordan to enjoy the sight of some rare species of indigenous birds and others that migrate annually between the northern and southern hemispheres. Jordan’s location at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and Asia means that birds from these three continents can sometimes be spotted in the same general area in Jordan.
What sort of birds can you see?
The Eastern Desert habitat is interrupted by the Azraq Wetland Reserve, and is home to aquatic and desert species along with migrants in the spring, such as the Temmiink’s Horned Lark, Desert Lark, Hoopoe Lark, Desert Wheatear and Trumpeter Finch. In winter, Cranes and Imperial Eagles roam across this area, while in the Desert Castles area east of Amman you can see Thick-billed Lark and Red-rumped Wheatears.
In the western highland Mediterranean habitats, surrounded by open steppe country, the wooded areas of Ajloun, Zubia, Dibbin, and Dana are home to the Palestine Sunbird, Upchers, Orphean, and Sardinian Warbler. The more open steppe habitats typically contain the Spectacled Warbler, Long-billed Pipit, Black-eared Wheatear, Woodchat Shrike and Linnet.
The rift margins and valleys of the western highlands represent the crossroads of four bio-geographic zones. Wadi Shu’eib and Wadi Mujib with their perennial watercourses are home to beautiful Smirna Kingfisher, while at the magnificent rocky gorges of Wadi Rum, Dana, Mujib and Petra you can find the Griffon Vulture, Bonelli’s Eagle, Hume’s Towny Owl, Blackstart, different Wheatears, Scrub Warbler, Sinai Rose Finch, House Bunting, Tristram’s Grackle and Fan-tailed Raven.
The Dead Sea area and Wadi Arabah are home to Arabian and African species such as the Sand Partridge, Bar-tailed Dunns and Hoopoe Larks, Little Green Bee-eater, Blackstart, and Arabian Warbler.
Several fine color guides to bird watching in Jordan have been published in recent years.
Important Bird Areas “IBAs” in Jordan
A total of 17 sites have been declared as IBAs in Jordan, covering 9.5%, of Jordan’s area. Two of Jordan’s national parks and the six nature reserves are IBAs.
Five of the IBA sites are fully protected by law, five are partially protected, and two further are officially proposed for legal protection.