Israel Science and Technology Directory

Birding Sites in Israel : Ein Gedi

By Keith Marsh from Bird Forum, Great Britain.

This wadi on the western shore of the Dead Sea is protected as two nature reserves, Nahal David and Nahal Arugot, and has interesting breeders as well as being an important migrant spot. The species which has attracted most birders to Ein Gedi is Hume's Owl which could be seen well in the area of the amphitheatre but this well-watched pair has not been present for some years. However, there are many other species of interest to be found in the Ein Gedi area.

Resident species at Ein Gedi include Sand and Chukar Partridges, Little Green Bee-eater, Desert Lark and Arabian Babbler. Three species of raven are found here as well as Tristram's Starling. Griffon Vulture occurs on passage but is also resident as are Golden and Bonelli's Eagles and Long-legged Buzzard. Large numbers of raptors occur on passage including Short-toed, Steppe, Lesser Spotted and Eastern Imperial Eagles. Lammergeier formerly occurred here but is now extremely rare. Passerine migrants include many chats and warblers and Cyprus Warbler winters in the area. The Nahal David Reserve, close to the youth hostel and field center, requires an entrance fee but many of the local specialities can be found here as well as a population of the introduced Indian Silverbill. The amphitheatre, just behind the field center, was one of the most reliable sites in the country for Hume's Owl, but still has Brown-necked and Fan-tailed Ravens. Further south, the Nahal Arugot Reserve is excellent for Little Green Bee-eater and Sand Partridge, Lanner, Barbary and Sooty Falcons are also present. Verreaux's Eagle and Wallcreeper have been recorded at Ein Gedi. Rock Hyrax and Ibex can be seen throughout the area.

Ein Gedi is easily reached by road from Jerusalem and there is a kibbutz, campsite and youth hostel providing accommodation as well as the field center. To the south of Ein Gedi there are other wadis worth searching, Wadi en Zafzafa and Wadi n Ze'elim are particularly good.

BIRDS INCLUDE: Black Stork (PM), White Stork (PM), Honey Buzzard (PM), Black Kite (PM), Egyptian Vulture (Su,PM), Griffon Vulture, Short-toed Eagle (PM),Marsh Harrier (PM), Pallid Harrier (PM), Montagu's Harrier (PM), Levant Sparrowhawk (PM), Eurasian Sparrowhawk (PM), Steppe Buzzard (PM), Long-legged Buzzard, Lesser Spotted Eagle (PM), Greater Spotted Eagle (rare PM), Steppe Eagle (PM), Eastern Imperial Eagle (rare PM), Golden Eagle, Booted Eagle (rare PM), Bonelli's Eagle, Osprey (PM), Lesser Kestrel (PM), Common Kestrel (PM), Sooty Falcon (Su), Lanner Falcon, Barbary Falcon, Chukar Partridge, Sand Partridge, Stone Curlew, Yellow-legged Gull, Collared Dove, Laughing Dove, Ring-necked Parakeet, Pallid Swift (PM), White-breasted Kingfisher, Common Kingfisher (W), Little Green Bee-eater, European Bee-eater (PM), Hoopoe, Desert Lark, Crested Lark, African Rock Martin, Pied Wagtail (PM,W), Yellow-vented Bulbul, Rufous Scrub Robin (Su), Thrush Nightingale (PM), Black Redstart (PM,W), Blackstart, Black-eared Wheatear (Su), Hooded Wheatear, White-crowned Black Wheatear, Blackbird, Scrub Warbler, Sardinian Warbler, Cyprus Warbler (PM,W), Ruppell's Warbler (PM), Lesser Whitethroat (PM), Common Whitethroat (PM), Blackcap (PM,W), Eastern Bonelli's Warbler (Su,PM), Common Chiffchaff (PM,W), Spotted Flycatcher (PM), Semi-collared Flycatcher (PM), Arabian Babbler, Palestine Sunbird, Woodchat Shrike (PM), Masked Shrike (PM), Tristram's Starling, Brown-necked Raven, Northern Raven, Fan-tailed Raven, House Sparrow, Spanish Sparrow, Indian Silverbill, Trumpeter Finch, House Bunting, Cretzschmar's Bunting, Ortolan Bunting (PM).