Area: 309,500 km2
BirdLife International partner: None
Active conservation organisation: Environment Society of Oman
Total number of bird species: 531
Globally threatened bird species: 19
Country endemics: 0
Important bird and biodiversity areas: 72 IBAs with a total area of 74,760 km2
Rare birds committee: Oman Bird Records Committee (Recorder – Jens Erikson: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Visitors who find a rare species (less than 10 occurrences) are encouraged to complete a Rare Bird Report Form (downloadable here: Rare Bird Report Form) and send this to Jens Erikson. See also Oman Bird List 7.10 (downloadable here: Oman Bird List 7.10) for details of which species require a Rare Bird Report Form.
Observers are encouraged to report all bird sightings to eBird: https://ebird.org/region/OM?yr=all&m=&rank=hc
Arabian Partridge, Sand Partridge, Wilson’s Storm Petrel, Swinhoe’s Storm Petrel, Flesh-footed Shearwater, Persian Shearwater, Jouanin’s Petrel, Yellow Bittern, Egyptian and Lappet-faced Vultures, Verreaux’s Eagle, Crab-plover, Spotted, Crowned and Lichtenstein’s Sandgrouse, Diederik Cuckoo, Pallid Scops Owl, Arabian Scops Owl, Pharaoh Eagle Owl, Arabian Spotted Eagle Owl, Omani Owl, Desert Owl, Forbes-Watson’s Swift, Collared Kingfisher, Dunn’s Lark, Plain Leaf, Sykes’s and Arabian Warblers, Indian and Abyssinian White-eyes, Arabian Golden-winged Grosbeak, Yemen Serin
Situated at the crossroads of the continents of Europe, Africa and Asia, Oman lies along important bird migration routes, in particular the West Asia-East Africa Flyway. Migrating non-passerines and passerines follow the rivers of West and Central Siberia to the Caspian and Black Seas and onwards to the Arabian Gulf, southern Arabia and East Africa. Oman is also host to breeding and wintering seabirds, migrants from Africa and southern Asia which come to breed during the summer months or to overwinter, and a variety of resident South Arabian endemics.
The varied habitats include the mountainous Musandam enclave in the north, the Al Hajar Mountains and sand and gravel desert. There is also 1,700 km of shoreline with rocky headlands, mangroves, extensive tidal mudflats and islands, and the brackish khawrs (creeks) of the Sharqiya, Al Wusta and Dhofar provinces. (Shoreline length is actually 3,418 km, taking into account all inlets and bays.) The south-west monsoon affects Dhofar between June and September when the weather is cloudy and misty and there can be considerable rainfall – essential for the lush vegetation on the mountain slopes. In addition, man-made habitats include sewage treatment plants in Salalah (Raysut), Saham and the Al Ansab Wetland in Muscat (booking essential via the website: https://haya.om/en/Pages/Wetland.aspx). Further productive sites are the rubbish dumps in Muscat (Al Multaqa), Rawyihah (on the Thumrait-Salalah road), Qurm Natural Park in Muscat and Al Baleed Archaeological Park in Salalah.
Oman is an excellent country to see regional specialities including a number of South Arabian endemics. These include Chukar Partridge (Musandam), Arabian Partridge, Sand Partridge (widespread), Cotton Pygmy Goose (Dhofar), Flesh-footed Shearwater, Persian Shearwater, Jouanin’s Petrel, Wilson’s Storm Petrel, Swinhoe’s Storm Petrel (pelagic trips or possibly by seawatching), Yellow Bittern (Dhofar), Masked and Brown Booby, Crested Honey Buzzard (mainly Dhofar), Egyptian Vulture (rubbish dumps North Oman and Masirah Island), Lappet-faced Vulture (rubbish dumps and mountains in North and South Oman), Verreaux’s Eagle (Dhofar), Sooty Falcon (Ras As Sawadi/Fahal Island, Muscat), Spotted Thick-knee (Al Baleed Archaeological Park, Salalah), Crab-plover (Masirah Island, Barr Al Hikman, Khawr Jirama, Ras Al Hadd), Sociable Lapwing (Sahanawt Farm, Salalah, farms on the Al Batinah coast), Pheasant-tailed Jacana (Khawr Taqah, Khawr Rawri, Dhofar), Small Pratincole (any suitable habitat), Great Black-headed Gull (Qurayyat, Al Ashkharah), Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse (dry habitat), Spotted and Crowned Sandgrouse (oases and farms, central desert), Liechtenstein’s Sandgrouse (coming to water dawn/dusk at springs, North and South Oman), Namaqua Dove, Bruce’s Green Pigeon (Dhofar), Asian Koel (Masirah Island), Diederik Cuckoo (summer Dhofar), Pallid Scops Owl (North Oman), Arabian Scops Owl (Dhofar), Pharaoh Eagle Owl (widespread but rare), Arabian Spotted Eagle Owl (Dhofar), Desert Owl (Dhofar dry wadis), Omani Owl (Al Hajar Mountains), Forbes-Watson’s Swift (summer Dhofar), Indian Roller (North Oman), Grey-headed Kingfisher (summer Dhofar), Collared Kingfisher (Khawr Liwa, Khawr Kalba, Mahawt Island), Black-crowned Tchagra (Dhofar), African Paradise Flycatcher (Dhofar), Fan-tailed Raven (Dhofar), Hypocolius (desert oases/farms, Mudday), Singing Bush Lark (Dhofar farms), Greater Hoopoe-Lark (central desert farms, roadsides), Bar-tailed Lark (central desert/Dhofar), Desert Lark (widespread), Dunn’s Lark (rare, wanders, Dhofar dry wadis), Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark (widespread), Streaked Scrub Warbler (mountains at altitude in North Oman and Dhofar), Plain Leaf Warbler (Musandam, Khitmat Milalah, mountains North Oman), Sykes’s Warbler (Khawr Liwa, Shinas), Asian Desert Warbler (widespread, often low dunes by sea), Arabian Warbler (Dhofar wadis), Indian (formerly Oriental) White-eye (Mahawt Island), Abyssinian White-eye (Dhofar), Tristram’s Starling (Dhofar), Eastern Mourning Wheatear (Musandam), Arabian Wheatear (Tawi Atayr), Hume’s Wheatear (North Oman), Hooded Wheatear (widespread but rare), Blackstart (Dhofar), Nile Valley Sunbird (Mudday), Palestine and Shining Sunbirds (Dhofar), Purple Sunbird (North Oman), Pale Rockfinch (Musandam, North Oman mountains), Rüppell’s Weaver (Dhofar), Long-billed Pipit (North Oman mountains, Dhofar), Trumpeter Finch, Arabian Golden-winged Grosbeak (mountain springs in Salalah), Yemen Serin (Tawi Atayr).
Best times to visit:
September to November and February to May are best for migrant birds while November to March is best for wintering species (and also the coolest months). Breeding and visiting southern seabird species are to be seen April to September.
Eriksen H & J (2017) Common Birds in Oman, 3rd Edition, Al Roya Publishing, Oman.
Eriksen J & Porter R (2017) Birds of Oman, Christopher Helm, London.
Sargeant D & Eriksen H & J (2008) Birdwatching Guide to Oman, 2nd Edition, Al Roya Publishing, Oman.
Eriksen J & Victor R (2013) Oman Bird List Edition 7, Sultan Qaboos University, Oman.
Also useful is the Eriksens’ website http://www.birdsoman.com which has updates to the Birdwatching Guide to Oman.
Trip report links:
Ian Harrison and Jens Eriksen