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Azraq - BirdForum Opus

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Middle East, Jordan


Probably the most famous ornithological spot in Jordan, Azraq was declared a Ramsar Site in 1977. It is an oasis in a vast area of the stony desert of eastern Jordan known as hamada, and provides a welcome feeding and resting site for many thousands of migrants. Despite much habitat loss and modification in recent decades, mainly by excessive groundwater extraction, this is still an important site and provides an excellent base for trips into the desert for local specialities. However, the number and variety of birds present is much lower than formerly and much depends on water levels. If water is plentiful, as in the winter of 1991/1992, birds can appear in large numbers. Despite the loss of breeding species the area remains important for migrants.


Notable Species

Waterfowl and waders, raptors and a wide range of passerine migrants pass through this area in good numbers. Warblers, flycatchers, chats and hirundines from Europe can be seen as well as shrikes, wagtails, pipits and buntings. Raptors include Levant Sparrowhawk, Steppe Eagle and both Lesser Spotted Eagle, and Greater Spotted Eagle, Lesser Kestrel and Red-footed Falcon many European ducks and waders occur. Grey-headed Swamphen has been recorded here and Pied Kingfisher has occurred in winter.

The area surrounding the Azraq oasis is home to a number of desert and arid-land specialities including Macqueen's Courser and Cream-coloured Courser, Egyptian Nightjar, Graceful Warbler and Streaked Scrub Warbler, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin and a range of larks and wheatears.


Birds you can see here include:

Common Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Black-crowned Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Little Egret, Great White Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, Black Stork, White Stork, European Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle, Western Marsh Harrier, Hen Harrier, Pallid Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Levant Sparrowhawk, Steppe Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Eastern Imperial Eagle, Golden Eagle, Booted Eagle, Osprey, Lesser Kestrel, Common Kestrel, Red-footed Falcon, Northern Hobby, Lanner Falcon, Saker Falcon, Water Rail, Spotted Crake, Little Crake, Baillon's Crake, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Macqueen's Bustard, Black-winged Stilt, Pied Avocet, Stone-curlew, Collared Pratincole, Cream-coloured Courser, Kentish Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Spur-winged Plover, White-tailed Plover, Little Stint, Temminck's Stint, Ruff, Spotted Redshank, Common Greenshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Gull-billed Tern, Whiskered Tern, White-winged Tern, Spotted Sandgrouse, Laughing Dove, Egyptian Nightjar, Pied Kingfisher, Common Kingfisher, Blue-cheeked Bee-eater, European Bee-eater, Eurasian Roller, Eurasian Hoopoe, Dunn's Lark, Greater Hoopoe-Lark, Thick-billed Lark, Bimaculated Lark, Lesser Short-toed Lark, Temminck's Horned Lark, Barn Swallow, Red-throated Pipit, Blue-headed Wagtail, (rare Su), Yellow-vented Bulbul, Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin, Thrush Nightingale, Common Nightingale, Bluethroat, White-throated Robin, Common Redstart, Isabelline Wheatear, Desert Wheatear, Red-rumped Wheatear, Mourning Wheatear, Zitting Cisticola, Graceful Warbler, Streaked Scrub Warbler, Moustached Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Clamorous Reed Warbler, Booted Warbler, Barred Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Collared Flycatcher, European Pied Flycatcher, Isabelline Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Masked Shrike, Rock Sparrow, Desert Finch, Trumpeter Finch, Ortolan Bunting, Black-headed Bunting

Other Wildlife

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Site Information

History and Use

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Areas of Interest

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Access and Facilities

Azraq is easily reached by road from Amman, lying about 90km east of the city. Azraq village has a hotel and several cafes and the government resthouse can be reached by turning west about 2km north of the Azraq T-junction. Many migrant birds are attracted to its irrigated gardens.

Contact Details

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External Links

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Content and images originally posted by Steve