• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Zaranik - BirdForum Opus



This relatively recently discovered migration hotspot lies in the eastern Mediterranean on the north coast of the Sinai Peninsula.

The site consists of a lagoon, beach and desert vegetation at the eastern end of the saline Lake Bardawil. It is an excellent site for autumn migrants and the best time is mid August to mid October.

The area now has official designation as the Zaranik Protected Area and Egypt's first bird observatory is based here. Lake Bardawil is a Ramsar Site.


Notable Species

Breeding species include large numbers of Kentish Plover and Little Tern, smaller numbers of Spur-winged Plover and also Pied Avocet, a rare breeding bird in Egypt. Also present in summer are Slender-billed Gull and Greater Sand Plover as well as Greater Flamingo. Arid land specialities such as Desert Wheatear, Great Grey Shrike and Greater Hoopoe-Lark can also be seen.

Huge numbers of migrants pass through this area in autumn and include such diverse groups as shearwaters, skuas and terns, herons, pelicans, waterfowl and waders, and raptors and passerines.

Seawatching from Zaranik in autumn regularly produces skuas including Long-tailed Skua as well as Cory's Shearwater and Yelkouan Shearwater. A variety of gulls occurs with very small numbers of Audouin's Gull present in autumn and various members of the Herring Gull complex present in winter. These can include Caspian Gull, Armenian Gull and Heuglin's Gull as well as Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Waterfowl can include most of the regular European species and herons occur in thousands.

More than 40 species of waders have been recorded at this exceptional site and include all the regulars seen in Europe. Scarcer species also occur with fairly regular Black-winged Pratincole, Cream-coloured Courser and Broad-billed Sandpiper as well as Terek Sandpiper and White-tailed Plover. Common Quail is a common migrant and this is one of the best sites around the Mediterranean for passage Corn Crake.

Raptors include Steppe Eagle and Lesser Spotted Eagle, Pallid Harrier and Montagu's Harrier, Long-legged Buzzard and Red-footed Falcon on passage. Spring is the peak season for raptor passage.

Passerines are equally varied and include such eastern specialities as Thrush Nightingale, Olive-tree Warbler, Ruppell's Warbler, Orphean Warbler and Barred Warbler and Ortolan Bunting and Cretzschmar's Bunting. A variety of wheatears occurs including Isabelline Wheatear, Pied Wheatear, Cyprus Pied Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear and Finsch's Wheatear.


Birds you can see here include:

Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Cory's Shearwater, Yelkouan Shearwater, Great Cormorant, Great White Pelican, Little Bittern, Black-crowned Night Heron, Squacco Heron, Great White Egret, Grey Heron, Purple Heron, White Stork, Greater Flamingo, Common Teal, Mallard, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, European Honey Buzzard, Black Kite, Short-toed Eagle, Hen Harrier, Pallid Harrier, Montagu's Harrier, Steppe Buzzard, Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Spotted Eagle, Steppe Eagle, Red-footed Falcon, Northern Hobby, Eleonora's Falcon, Lanner Falcon, Common Quail, Corn Crake, Eurasian Coot, Pied Avocet, Black-winged Pratincole, Cream-coloured Courser, Kentish Plover, Greater Sand Plover, Grey Plover, Spur-winged Plover, White-tailed Plover, Red Knot, Sanderling, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Broad-billed Sandpiper, Ruff, Black-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Terek Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Turnstone, Pomarine Skua, (rare W), Arctic Skua, (rare W), Long-tailed Skua, Great Black-headed Gull, Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull, Slender-billed Gull, Audouin's Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Heuglin's Gull, Caspian Gull, Armenian Gull, Sandwich Tern, Little Tern, Whiskered Tern, White-winged Black Tern, Collared Dove, Laughing Dove, European Nightjar, White-breasted Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Hoopoe, Wryneck, Greater Hoopoe-Lark, Greater Short-toed Lark, Crested Lark, Eurasian Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Red-throated Pipit, Water Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Thrush Nightingale, Eurasian Robin, Bluethroat, Black Redstart, Stonechat, Isabelline Wheatear, Pied Wheatear, Cyprus Pied Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Desert Wheatear, Finsch's Wheatear, Olive-tree Warbler, Ruppell's Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Orphean Warbler, Barred Warbler, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Red-breasted Flycatcher, Red-backed Shrike, Lesser Grey Shrike, Great Grey Shrike, Common Starling, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Chaffinch, Ortolan Bunting, Cretzschmar's Bunting, Black-headed Bunting

Other Wildlife

To do

Site Information

History and Use

To do

Areas of Interest

Any areas of vegetation are worth checking for passerine migrants but the best areas are around the observatory, the pumping station and the fishing village.

Access and Facilities

Zaranik is situated about 35km west of El Arish on the main road across northern Sinai and can be reached by bus or taxi from Cairo or El Arish.

The bird observatory can provide accommodation for a small number of visitors for a small fee but advance booking must be made.

A permit is required to enter the protected area.

Contact Details

To do

External Links

Content and images originally posted by Steve