Southern Egypt 8th-20th April 2004

El Gouna, Egypt

This resort is situated 20Km north of Hurghada. It has a golf course which attracts many birds (pipits, larks, wheatears, hoopoes). There is also a tidal creek which has many waders. The best place for waders is behind the Abidos Marina, south of El Gouna. I’ve called this place “mangrove lake” due to presence of mangrove here. A good place to look for the migration of raptors seems to be the “oasis”, a place with trees along the mountains. I have been there only once but it is probably worth to check it carefully.

On the whole, El Gouna has shown a great potential and is easy to bird (you can go freely along the shoreline and cross all the hotels). You can bird by foot the golf course and the tidal creek. If you don’t have a car, you will need a bike to go to the oasis (it is a few Km from the resort).

We stayed at the Mövenpick Hotel whose beautiful gardens attract many birds. A sand bank in front of the hotel is excellent for terns and gulls. In the south part of the hotel, near the shoreline it is a rocky, sandy place where we had the surprise to see three beautiful rock trushs.

You will find a map of the resort under

Different trip reports from El Gouna are available on the web (look in particular the website of The most complet report is from Tomas Haraldsson, a swedish guy which stayed there from 8/10 2002 to 9/4 2003. You can load his report (in Swedish, but the name of birds seen are given in English too) under For people speaking German, look at with an interesting trip report in El Gouna from Lothar Müller 5 to 12.4 2002.

We had sunny weather with temperature around 26-32C (day) to 17-20C (night). Northerly wind strong on the 8, 9 and 16 April (around 40Km, 3-4 beaufort). The wind was very weak the other days (around 5-10Km).

GC= Golf course
MAL= “Mangrove Lake” (behind the Abidos Marina)
MR= Mövenpick resort
OA= Oasis

Systematic list

Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo Cormorant
1 ex. 8th – 20th April, near MR.

Green-backed Heron Butorides striatus Héron strié
At least 1 adult and 1 juvenile; these birds were seen many times during our stay and often very closely in marinas, on boats and on piers.

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis Héron gardeboeufs
Between 10 and 15 ex., mainly GC.

Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides Crabier chevelu
1 ex. April 9th, GC, 1 ex. April 10th, MR, 4 ex. April 20th , MAL.

Western Reef Heron Egreta gularis Aigrette des récifs
1 ex. April 10th, GC, 1 ex. April 20th , MAL.

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea Héron cendré
1 ex. April 17th, MAL

Purple Heron Ardea purpurea Héron pourpré
1 ex. April 11th and 13th, GC, 3 ex. April 18th, MAL.

White Stork Ciconia ciconia Cigogne blanche
3 ex. April 15th circling high over Tawila Island, several very high in the sky over the mountains near El Gouna April 16th .

Black Kite Milvus migrans Milan noir
4-5 ex. April 17th, GC, 1 ex. April 17th, OA.

Red Kite Milvus milvus Milan royal
1 ex. April 17th, GC, 1 ex. April 17th, OA

Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus Busard des roseaux
1-2 ex. almost every morning, GC. More females than males.

Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus Epervier d’Europe
Very common everywhere. 5-6 ex., GC, 4,OA.

Common/Steppe Buzzard Buteo buteo/vulpinus Buse des steppes
A few pass over MR, a small passage April 17th, OA.

Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus Buse féroce
1 ex. seen different days GC, 2 ex. April 17th, OA.

Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis Aigle des steppes
1 ex. April 17th, OA.

Osprey Pandion haliaetus Balbuzard pêcheur
1-2 ex. seen MR, 1 between the shoreline and Tawila Island April 15th.

Kestrel Falco tinnunculus Faucon crécerelle
Mainly GC. About 4 ex.

Hobby Falco subbuteo Faucon hobereau
1 ex. April 14th, GC.

Eleonora’s Falcon Falco eleonorae Faucon d’Eléonore
1 ex. April 11th, GC.

Barbary Falcon Falco pelegrinoides Faucon de Barbarie
1 ex. April 17th, OA.

Quail Coturnix coturnix Caille des blés
1 ex. April 12th, GC, 1 ex. April 18th and 19th, MR

Stone curlew Burhinus oedicnemus Oedicnème criard
2 ex. April 17th, GC, 1 ex. April 18th sand bank, MR

Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola Glaréole à collier
Between 10 and 20 ex. from the 10th till the 20th of April on the lawns of the Golf Course; a few regulary seen MR; one at the Oasis April 17th. This constant presence of Collared Pratincoles was a nice surprise.


Black-winged Pratincole Glareola nordmanni Glaréole à ailes noires
1 ex. April 9th, GC, 2 ex. April 20th near MR. Much less common that Glareola pratincola but maybe more regular earlier or later in the season?

Cream-coloured Coursor Cursorius cursor Courvite isabelle
5 ex. April 12 -17th , GC. These birds were not too shy and we could observe them running on the Golf course in excellent conditions. One of the good surprise of the trip.

Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula Grand gravelot
2 ex. April 15th on the shore, 15 ex. MAL.

Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus Gravelot à collier interrompu
Common on the shore, 10-15 ex. MAL.

Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii Gravelot de Leschenaut
According to different trip reports, this Plover is regular in winter in El Gouna. Probably most of them were already gone. 1 ex. April 16th, MAL.

Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola Pluvier argenté
8 ex April 17-20th, MAL.

Spur-winged Plover Hoplopterus spinosus Vanneau éperonné
Not common: 1-2 ex. April 12-18th, GC.

Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus Bécasseau falcinelle
2 ex. April 20th , MAL.

Little Stint Calidris minuta Bécasseau minute
10 ex. April 20th , MAL.

Curlew Numenius arquata Courlis cendré
2 ex. April 15th , GC, 2 ex. April 10th , MR, Max. 6 ex. April 17th , MAL

Redshank Tringa totanus chevalier gambette
1 ex. April 17-20th , MAL.

Greenshank Tringa nebularia Chevalier aboyeur
Heard near MR, April 12th and April 16th , GC

Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos Chevalier guignette
1-2 ex. April 10-20th , MR and MAL.

Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus Bargette du Térek
1 ex. April 18th and 19th , 2 ex. April 20th , MAL.

Slender-billed Gull Larus genei Goéland railleur
1-4 ex. April 9th-20th, MR, MAL.

Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus Goéland brun
2-3 ex. April 10th , MR.

White eyed Gull Larus leucophthalmus Goéland à iris blanc
50-100 ex. April 9-20th, MR, 200 ex. April 15th, Tawila island.

Common tern Sterna hirundo Sterne pierregarin
A few ex., MR.

Litte Tern Sterna albifrons Sterne naine
Regular on the shoreline, maximum together: 15-20 ex. on the sandbank, MR, April 14th .

Caspian Tern Sterna caspia Sterne caspienne
3-4 ex. April 9-20th, MR, max. 20 ex. April 19th , MAL. Still juveniles. nourished by adults.

Crested tern Sterna bergii Sterne huppée
2-4 ex. April 9th -17th , MR.

Lesser Crested Tern Sterna bengalensis Sterne voyageuse
1 ex. between El Gouna and Tawila Island, April 16th .

White-cheeked Tern Sterna repressa Sterne à joues blanches
30-50 ex. April 14-17th, MR. Only a few adults in summer plumage.

Whiskered Tern Chlidionas hybridus Guifette moustac
A few, April 9th- 15th , near GC.

Rock dove Columbia livia Pigeon biset
2 ex. April 17th, OA.

Palm dove Strepopelia senegalensis Tourterelle mailllée
Very common.

Kingfisher Alcedo atthis Martin-pêcheur
At least 2. Regulary seen over different lagoons.

Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis Alcyon pie
1 ex. April 10th, near GC.

Blue-cheeked Bee-eater Merops superciliosus Guêpier de Perse
2 ex. April 11th, 1 ex. April 12th, 2 ex. April 13th, GC.

Bee-eater Merops apiaster Guêpier d’Europe
Several groups seen from April 14th to April 19th , Maximum: 20 together, MR, GC.

Hoopoe Upupa epops Huppe fasciée
Very common in gardens and Golf course. Between 5 and 10 almost every day on the lawns of the Golf course.

Wryneck Jynx torquilla Torcol fourmilier
2-3 ex. almost every day, GC. Seen in gardens of different hotels too.

Short toed lark Calandrella brachydactyla Alouette calandrelle
25-100 ex., almost every day, GC.

Calandra Lark or Bimaculated Lark
1 ex. April13th, GC.

Bar-tailed desert lark Ammomanes cincturus Ammomane élégante
4 and 2, April 17th, between the Oasis and the entrance gate for El Gouna, 1 with short toed larks, April 16th, GC.

Sand Martin Riparia riparia Hirondelle de rivage
Regulary a few (max. 20-30) almost every day, GC.

Red-rumped swallow Hirundo daurica Hirondelle rousseline
50-100 ex. each day GC, 20-30, April 17th, OA.

Swallow Hirundo rustica Hirondelle rustique
Very common.

Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis Pipit des arbres
5-10 every day, MR, 20-30, GC.

Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus Pipit à gorge rousse
5-10 every day MR, 150-250 on the lawns, GC.

Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris Pipit rousseline
1-2 a few times, MR, 20-30 every day, GC.

White Wagtail Motacilla alba Bergeronnette grise
Regular, GC, with groups till 20 ex. A few, MR.

Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava Bergeronnette printanière
A lot on the lawns (Hotels, Golf course). Every day 150-300, GC. About 1/3-1/4 feldegg.

Rufous Bush Robin Cercotrichas galactotes Agrobate roux
1 ex., April 16th and April18th, GC.

Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus Rougequeue à front blanc
4-5 ex. between April 10-19th, MR.

Whinchat Saxicola rubetra Tarier des prés
1 ex. April 10th, GC, 1 ex. April 15th, MR

Stonechat Saxicola torquata Tarier pâtre
1 ex. April 10th, GC.

Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe Traquet motteux
Very common. Between 20 and 40 every day, GC. Regular MR.

Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina Traquet isabelle
2-3 most days, GC.

Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica Traquet oreillard
1 ex. April 11th, GC.

Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis Merle de roche
3 ex. April 17-19th, MR.

Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca Fauvette babillarde
Common MR, GC.

Whitethroat Sylvia communis Fauvette grisette
1 ex. April 9th, MR.

Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus Pouillot fitis
Very common, MR.

Pied Flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca Gobemouche noir
1 ex. April 12th , 1ex. April 18th, MR.

Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator Pie-grièche à tête rousse
2-4 ex. April 9-16th, GC.

Masked Shrike Lanius nubicus Pie-grièche masquée
1-2 ex. April 12-19th, GC.

Golden Oriole Oriolus oriolus Loriot d’Europe
1 ex. April 16th, MR.

Brown-necked Raven Corvus ruficollis Corbeau brun
2 ex. April 17th, OA.

Carrion Crow Corvus corone Corneille mantelée
4-5 MR. A few elsewhere.

Housesparrow Passer domesticus Moineau domestique
Present, MR.

Denis Torche, Switzerland