Arab Republic of Egypt

Egyptian Plover Pluvianus aegyptius ©Dubi Shapiro Website

Egypt is a transcontinental country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and the Sinai Peninsula in the southwest corner of Asia. It is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Gaza Strip of Palestine and Israel to the northeast, the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south, and Libya to the west. The Gulf of Aqaba in the northeast separates Egypt from Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Cairo is a mega-city in the top ten largest cities in the world and the capital and largest city of Egypt with over 23 million inhabitants, while Alexandria, the second-largest city with nearly six million people, is an important industrial and tourist hub at the Mediterranean coast.  At approximately 115 million inhabitants, Egypt is the 14th-most populated country in the world, and the third-most populated in Africa.

Due to its unique location, it is considered part of North Africa, the Middle East and the Mediterranean Basin and shares much in the way of history, culture and nature with all of these three geographic realms and is one of the most advanced and politically stable countries on the African continent. Egypt is the largest country in the Arab world, but due to the extreme aridity of Egypt’s climate, population centres are concentrated along the narrow Nile Valley and Delta, meaning that about 99% of the population uses about 5.5% of the total land area, with the deserts having some of the lowest population densities in the world. A land of contrasts, traditional cultures are juxtaposed with modern communities and technology.

The Nile near Aswan – ©Marc Ryckaert (MJJR), CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Egypt is best known for its antiquities, but its natural heritage is as rich as its cultural heritage. The country possesses a wealth of prehistoric, Pharonic, Greek, Roman, Christian and Islamic sites. One can encounter antiquities almost anywhere, but the most visited sites are those in Cairo and Upper Egypt. The Pharonic sites are truly extraordinary. However, the wide range of habitats have their own unique plant and animal life. There are substantial marine and coastal resources (Mediterranean, Red Sea); vast desert wilderness (Western Desert, Eastern Desert, the Sinai); expansive wetlands (Nile River, lakes) and fertile agricultural lands. Sinai peninsula hosts the highest mountain in Egypt, Mount Catherine at 2,642 metres. The Red Sea Riviera, on the east of the peninsula, is renowned for its wealth of coral reefs and marine life.

Most of Egypt’s rain falls in the winter months.  South of Cairo, rainfall averages only around 2 to 5 mm (0.1 to 0.2 in) per year and at intervals of many years. On a very thin strip of the northern coast the rainfall can be as high as 410 mm (16.1 in), mostly between October and March. Snow falls on Sinai’s mountains and some of the north coastal cities such as Damietta, Baltim and Sidi Barrani, and rarely in Alexandria. Egypt has an unusually hot, sunny and dry climate. Average high temperatures are high in the north but very to extremely high in the rest of the country during summer. The cooler Mediterranean winds consistently blow over the northern sea coast, which helps to get more moderated temperatures, especially at the height of the summertime. The Khamaseen is a hot, dry wind that originates from the vast deserts in the south and blows in the spring or in the early summer. It brings scorching sand and dust particles, and usually brings daytime temperatures over 40 °C and sometimes over 50 °C in the interior, while the relative humidity can drop to 5% or even less.

Birding Egypt

As for birds, over 500 species have been recorded. Two-thirds of these are migrants, only one third are resident and found in Egypt year-round. Resident birds of interest are Shaharo-Sindian species, African species not found elsewhere in the Western Palaearctic and Red Sea birds. As the only land bridge between Europe, Africa and Asia, Egypt is situated on major migration routes, particularly for soaring birds. Egyptian wetlands are internationally important wintering grounds for water birds. Some African species, such as Sooty Falcon come north to breed in Egypt during the summer months. Birding in Egypt is good throughout the year; in a two-week period from 160 to over 200 species can be expected. Target species and weather tend to be the main considerations in deciding when to come. The spring and autumn migration are the best times to see the greatest numbers and diversity of birds and the weather tends to be warm. Summer is very hot, but is a good season to see residents and Red Sea and Abu Simbel specialties. During winter the Nile and associated wetlands teem with wintering water birds and the weather is warm to cold depending upon where you are in the country.

Mount Sinai – ©Daniel Fafard Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

The average trip to Egypt is 10 days to two weeks; most people combine birding with history. Fortunately, the major antiquities tend to be good locations for birding. The standard organised itinerary includes Cairo (Pyramids and Sphinx, Egyptian Museum) and African residents (Painted Snipe, Senegal Coucal); Hurghada (sun and beach) and Red Sea birds (White-eyed Gull, White-cheeked Tern); Luxor (Karnak Temple, the tombs of Kings and Queens) and Upper Egypt resident (Nile Valley Sunbird): Aswan (Temple of Philae) and herons (Green-backed Heron); Abu Simbel (Ramsis Temple) and African summer visitors (Yellow-billed Stork, Pink-backed Pelican); and the Sinai (St Katherine Monastery, spectacular coral reefs) and specialties found nowhere in the country (Sinai Rosefinch, Palestine Sunbird). Egypt has a fledgling nature tourism industry. The largest sector is Red Sea diving, followed by desert safari tours and trekking in the high-altitude mountains of South Sinai. In Egypt there is little by way of eco-lodges, camping grounds or other eco-tourism facilities. There are 21 Protected Areas scattered around the country, many of which are good locations to see birds.

Egypt offers something for everyone so it is an ideal place for a family vacation or for couples where one individual is a non-birder. With an advanced tourism infrastructure and some of the most affordable prices in the Mediterranean, Egypt is a popular tourist destination. Hotels of all standards and prices can be found. A wide variety of food is served from oriental specialties to international cuisine, including fast food chains like McDonald’s. (As a fairly liberal Moslem country, beer and wine is widely sold). There are all kinds of transportation between major cities; bus, train, plane and ferry. Although car hire is available, driving in Egypt is very challenging so chauffeured driven vehicles and other transport is recommended. One of the nicest ways to see Upper Egypt is by Nile Cruise. While Arabic is the national language, in tourist areas a wide variety of languages are spoken. Most know some English, which is commonly used on signs. Egypt is an extremely safe country to travel; there is very little crime.

Visitors to Egypt do not have to worry about malaria, yellow-fever and other tropical diseases. The most common maladies are stomach ailments (Pharaoh’s revenge). Foreigners are advised to take the necessary precautions regarding what and where they eat and drink. Heat also has been known to take a toll on visitors so one should drink lots of water, wear a hat and apply plenty of sunscreen. Egypt has few local birders or companies geared to birding tourism.

  • (The Late) Mindy Baha El Din

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 501

    (As at July 2024)

    The National Bird is the Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca

  • Avibase

    PDF Checklist
    This checklist includes all bird species found in Egypt , based on the best information available at this time. It is based on a wide variety of sources that I collated over many years. I am pleased to offer these checklists as a service to birdwatchers. If you find any error, please do not hesitate to report them.
  • Wikipedia

    Annotated List
    This is a list of the species of birds found in Egypt, a country in north-east Africa. The avifauna of Egypt include a total of 501 species of birds. No species are endemic to Egypt.
  • eBird

    PDF Checklist
    This checklist is generated with data from eBird (, a global database of bird sightings from birders like you. If you enjoy this checklist, please consider contributing your sightings to eBird. It is 100% free to take part, and your observations will help support birders, researchers, and conservationists worldwide.
Useful Reading

  • Birds of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East

    | (An Annotated Checklist) | By Dominic Mitchell | Lynx Edicions | 2017 | Hardback | 335 pages, 1 b/w illustration, 1 b/w map | ISBN: 9788494189296 Buy this book from
  • Birds of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East

    | (A Photographic Guide) | By Frédéric Jiguet & Aurélien Audevard | Princeton University Press | 2017 | Paperback | 447 pages, 2200 colour photos, colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9780691172439 Buy this book from
  • Common Birds of Egypt

    | By Bertel Bruun & Sherif Baha El Din | The American University in Cairo Press | 1994 | Paperback | 52 pages, Colour illustrations | ISBN: 9789774242397 Buy this book from
  • Finding Birds in Egypt

    | By Dave Gosney | Easybirder | 2011 | Paperback | 26 pages, b/w maps | ISBN: 9781907316050 Buy this book from
  • Pharaohs' Birds

    | ( A Guide to Ancient and Present-Day Birds in Egypt) | By John Miles | Miles and Miles of Countryside | 1998 | Papeback | 210 pages, 60 col plates, colour illustrations, maps | Out of Print | ISBN: 9789774244902 Buy this book from
  • Galala Bird Observatory

    WebpageSatellite View
    The Galala Bird Observatory (GBO), a joint project by the NCE and the Ministry of Environment, stands as a testament to NCE's commitment to avian conservation. Positioned atop the Galala Plateau near Ain Sokhna, this observatory is situated at a unique confluence of migratory flyways, creating a significant bottleneck for various species. By establishing a permanent monitoring station here, NCE is not only contributing to the long-term research and monitoring of raptors and other soaring birds but also fostering a connection between people and nature through an education and awareness center and a dedicated observation point for birdwatchers and photographers.
  • African Bird Club

    With a good tourist infrastructure and many historical sites to visit, Egypt is a popular destination. Luckily for birdwatchers, tourist destinations such as the Pyramids, the Red Sea and the Upper Nile coincide with important locations for birdwatching. Its strategic position with a land bridge and short sea crossings between Africa and Asia ensures that Egypt is an important country for migrants and wintering species.
  • Aswan Birding Club ABC

    Aswan Birding Club (ABC) is a local community of passionate and professional birdwatchers in Aswan, Egypt
  • Nature Conservation Egypt [Birdlife Partner]

    Nature Conservation Egypt (NCE) is a non-government organization that is dedicated to the conservation of Egypt's natural heritage and the promotion of it's sustainable use for the benefit of the present and future generations. NCE also seeks to build partnerships with local and international bodies with similar interests. It achieves these aims through demonstration of practical conservation measures, awareness raising activities, studies and lobbying.For more information, contact us on:
  • OSME

    Although Egypt is mostly hyperarid desert, the country is bisected by the Nile Valley and bordered by the Red Sea to the east, and these act as biological corridors, linking the Palearctic and Afrotropical ecozones.

Abbreviations Key

  • Egyptian Protectorates

    InformationSatellite View
    Law 102 of 1983 empowered the Prime Minister to designate certain areas to be declared as protectorates. A Prime Minister's decree defines the limits of each protected area and sets the basic principles for its management and for the preservation of its resources. Twenty four protectorates have been declared so far. Note that these are completely unrelated to colonial "protectorates".
  • IBAs

    WebsiteSatellite View
    The Nile supports most of the country's wetlands which are some of Egypt's most important habitats supporting the greatest diversity and density of bird species. The major inland wetland areas are as follows: the Bitter Lakes; Wadi El Natrun; Lake Qarun; Wadi El Rayan Lakes and Nile river and Lake Nasser. There are six major coastal lagoons on the Mediterranean: Bardawil; Malaha; Manzala; Burullus; Idku and Maryut. The Red Sea coastal habitats and wetlands include mudflats, reefs, mangroves and marine islands. Oases are the only source of water over much of the western desert, the principal ones being Maghra, Siwa, Wadi El Rayan, Bahariya, Farafra, Dakhla, Kharga, Kurkur and Dungul
  • NP Ras Muhammad

    InformationSatellite View
    A national park in Egypt at the southern extreme of the Sinai Peninsula, overlooking the Gulf of Suez on the west and the Gulf of Aqaba to the east.
  • National Parks in Egypt

    InformationSatellite View
    To date, 28 protectorates have been declared, ranging from coastal, wetlands, geological and coastal protectorates.
  • PA Zaranik

    InformationSatellite View
    Some 270 bird species have been reported in Zaranik. Only 10 species are known to breed in the Protected Area, of which Sterna albifrons and Charadrius alexandrinus are the most numerous and prominent. Zaranik is also the only locality in Egypt where Recurvirostra avosetta is known to breed on a regular basis (five pairs in summer 1994), and large numbers also winter (up to 700, December 1998).
Sightings, News & Forums
  • Birding Egypt

    News & Discussion
    BIRDING EGYPT is the place to share your birding photos, news and experiences across Egypt and to participate in building awareness and promoting...
  • Birds of the Red Sea

    Birds of the Red Sea is a voluntary environmental project by Georgina Cole, a British ex-pat who has been living in El Gouna since 2004 and began studying the birds in 2019.
  • eBird

Guides & Tour Operators
  • 7 Wonders Birding

    Tour Operator
    If the non-birding spouse has been on your back about that trip to Egypt give him/her this itinerary. Jam-packed with all the best archeological sites, plus a lot of birding for species like Pharaoh Eagle-Owl, Greater Painted Snipe, Nile Valley Sunbird, White-tailed Lapwing, Senegal Thick-knee, Cream-colored Courser and Greater Hoopoe-Lark.
  • Birdman of Aswan

    Customizable tours handpicked by Entrada.
  • Memphis Tours

    A wonderful exclusive tour for ‘Bird Watchers’ on this 3 hour Bird Watching Tour in Aswan with Mr Mohamed Arabi known as the Birdman of Aswan. Take a scenic ride in a felucca around the Cataract Islands to see up to many species of local birds and pretty flora and fauna in a most delightful environment.
  • NatureTrek

    Tour Operator
    A 14-day journey from Cairo to Aswan, along the River Nile, combining the major sites of both archaeological and ornithological interest.
  • Rockjumper

    Tour Operator
    Our Egypt – Birding & Antiquities tour is timed to coincide with the peak of the annual bird migration between Africa and Eurasia, when thousands of storks and raptors, waders and a plethora of passing passerines make birdwatching here easy and enjoyable.
  • True Dream Egypt

    Facebook Page
    We are tour operators in Egypt specialized in The Woman Tours, Protected Areas' Tours, Birds Watching Tours, bible tours, disabled (handicap) Tours, felucca tours, Golf tours and Diving Adventures’ Tours.
Trip Reports
  • 2016 [03 March] - Michael Southcott - Hurghada

    The morning of the 19th, before breakfast was a walk from the hotel to the lagoon this was c.2km open stretch of beach with a small fishing village right next to a Army base, we were warned here by one of the fishermen to be careful with the camera's ..Of note Caspian Tern, Slender-billed Gull, Kentish & Grey Plover and Northern Wheatear.
  • 2017 [05 May] - Erik Forsyth & Cuan Rush - Egypt & Petra

    PDF Report
    ...An early start birding around our hotel produced scope looks at a Chukar Partridge posing on a rock and a confiding pair of Palestine Sunbird in the garden. After breakfast we headed for the city of Petra. Petra in Jordan is one of the world’s most remarkable antiquities and regarded as the most astounding ancient c ity left in the modern world...
  • 2019 [03 March] - Garry Rowe

    Decided on a last minute break at Hurghada staying south of the airport at Jasmine Palace resort. The trip included a cultural visit to Luxor where we over-nighted at the Lotus Hotel. This was a good move as there was an active pair of Senegal Thick-knees in the vacant plot next to the hotel and these were only visible from our 4th floor balcony.
  • 2023 [04 April] - Jonas Kleinschmidt

    PDF Report
  • 2023 [05 May] - Egypt & Jordan

    PDF Report
    ...we were pleased to have great scope views of Alexandrine and Rose-ringed Parakeet, Pallid Swift, a flock of Glossy Ibis flying overhead to their roost, Black Kite, confiding Eurasian Hoopoe, beautiful White-throated Kingfisher, several Hooded Crow, Barn Swallow, very vocal Graceful Prinia and a handsome male European Pied Flycatcher...
Other Links
  • Birds of the Red Sea - Eilat

    Slide show
  • Egyptian Goose Alopochen aegyptiacus

    Profile with image etc.

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