Kingdom of Bahrain

Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis ©Steve Arlow Website
Birding Bahrain

The Kingdom of Bahrain is an island country in the Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia lies to the west and is connected to Bahrain by the King Fahd Causeway, which officially opened on 25 November 1986. Qatar is to the south across the Gulf of Bahrain. The planned Qatar–Bahrain Friendship Bridge will link Bahrain to Qatar as the longest fixed link in the world.

Bahrain is a generally flat and arid archipelago, consisting of a low desert plain rising gently to a low central escarpment, in the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi Arabia. The highest point is the 122 m (400 ft) Jabal ad Dukhan. Bahrain has a total area of 665 km2 (257 sq mi), which is slightly larger than the Isle of Man, though it is smaller than the nearby King Fahd International Airport near Dammam, Saudi Arabia (780 km2 (301 sq mi)). As an archipelago of thirty-three islands, Bahrain does not share a land boundary with another country but does have a 161 km (100 mi) coastline and claims a further 22 km (12 nmi) of territorial sea and a 24 km (13 nmi) contiguous zone. Bahrain’s largest islands are: Bahrain Island, Muharraq Island, Umm an Nasan, and Sitrah. Bahrain has mild winters and very hot, humid summers. Bahrain’s natural resources include large quantities of oil and natural gas as well as fish stocks. Arable land constitutes only 2.82%[66] of the total area. Desert constitutes 92% of Bahrain, and periodic droughts and dust storms are the main natural hazards for Bahrainis. Environmental issues facing Bahrain include desertification resulting from the degradation of limited arable land, coastal degradation (damage to coastlines, coral reefs, and sea vegetation) resulting from oil spills and other discharges from large tankers, oil refineries, distribution stations, and illegal land reclamation at places such as Tubli Bay. The agricultural and domestic sectors’ over-utilization of the Dammam Aquifer, the principal aquifer in Bahrain, has led to its salinization by adjacent brackish and saline water bodies.

Bahrain is an Island located in west to the mainland of Saudi Arabia. Jabal ad Dukhan is the highest point in Bahrain with hills up to 134 m (440 ft) above sea level. The Zagros hills in Iraq cause low level winds to be directed to the Bahrain Island and create a pressure pattern. The dust bowls from Iraq and Saudi Arabia make fine dust particles easily transported by northwesterly winds which cause visibility reductions in the months of June and July. The summer is very hot since the Gulf waters provide low levels of moisture supply. Seas around Bahrain are very shallow, heat up quickly in the summer, and produce high humidity, especially in the summer nights. In those periods, summer temperatures may reach about 35 °C (95 °F). Rainfall in Bahrain is minimal and irregular. Most rainfalls occur in the winter season, recorded maximum of 70.8 mm (7.1 cm).

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 333

    As at July 2018

    National Bird: White-cheeked (White-eared) Bulbul Pycnonotus leucotis

  • iGoTerra Checklist

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Useful Reading

  • Birds in Bahrain

    | By Erik Hirschfeld & Hans Larsson | Erik Hirschfeld | 1995 | Paperback | 124 pages, Illus, tabs, graphs | ISBN: 9781872839035 Buy this book from
  • Birds of the Middle East

    | By Richard Porter, Simon Aspinall, A Birch, John Gale, Mike Langman, Brian E Small | Christopher Helm | 2010 | Paperback | 384 pages, 176 colour plates, 636 colour distribution maps | ISBN: 9780713676020 Buy this book from

Abbreviations Key

  • WS Al-Areen

    InformationSatellite View
    Al-Areen Wildlife Sanctuary was built between 1976 and 1979 at Al Markh, 5km south-west of Jebel al Dukhan, 2km from the Zallaq shoreline, located 26 1N 50 30E. The site is 2x4 km, varying from salt flats about 3m above sea level on the western side, to the higher elevation about 45m above sea level on the eastern side. The salt flats are mainly marine type sand to barren salt. The highest point, known as rimrock, is predominantly dolomite rock. The wildlife sanctuary was built to protect rare Arabian species including the Oryx, Adax and Reem Gazelle.
  • Wetlands of International Importance

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Bahrain presently has 2 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 6,810 hectares…
Trip Reports
  • 2015 [11 November] - Ben Macdonald

    I was able to visit this little-known ‘Pearl of the Arabian Gulf’ on two occasions whilst filming for the Netflix series Our Planet as a researcher. This was one my most surreal visits to any country. On the first occasion, I was hosted by His Highness Sheikh Abdullah, a prince of Bahrain and a keen environmentalist, and kindly taken out on a boat to recce certain sites for filming. On the second occasion, myself and cameraman Matt Aeberhard visited the country to film certain species for the series in the Persian Gulf...
  • 2015 [11 November] - Mike Watson

    PDF Report
    Cyclone Chapala! Despite the influence of the most severe depression ever recorded in the Northern Indian Ocean, our eighth Oman & Bahrain tour was another successful visit to this region, recording a respectable total of 242 taxa and 55 Birdquest ‘diamond’ species (regional specialities).
Other Links
  • Bahrain Bird Report

    Bahrain is a good place to Bird and well worth a visit. It might not be in the class of Kenya or South America but it is small and compact. A hundred species in a day is easy in most seasons except high summer. It has good Hotels, Car hire and numerous eating holes. Most people speak good English and actually like visitors. So if you are going to Europe or moving the other way to India or the Far East consider a short stop over
  • Breeding Birds of Hawar

    Extracts and contents of this book.
  • Checklist

    Last update May 2006

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