Syrian Arab Republic

Dead Sea Sparrow Passer moabiticus ©Steve Arlow Website
Birding Syria

The Syrian Arab Republic is situated between 32 and 37 degrees longitude north and 35 to 42 degrees latitude to the east and in the heart of the Middle East – a crossroads region for three continents; Asia, Africa and Europe. It is bounded by Turkey to the north, Jordan to the south and Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the west. Its area is about 185,180 square kilometres and its population amounts to more than 16 million with a population density of 56.7 per square kilometre.Syria contains six natural regions as follows: 1 – The western region which is contiguous with the Mediterranean Sea.2 – The agrarian region in the north. 3 – The mountainous region with irrigated oases in the mid-west. 4 – The flint regions in the south. 5 – The region of rivers and agrarian plains in the north-east. 6 – The deserts and plains.There are 22 IBAs (important birds areas) in Syria: Abu Zad; Baath Lake; Buhayrat Homs; Buhayrat al-Asad; Buhayrat al-Khatuiyah; Buhayrat al-aha; Euphrates Valley; Jabal Abdul Aziz; Jabal al-Bilas; Jabal al-Bishri; Jabal al-Shuh; Jabal Sis; Jabal Slenfeh; Ras al-Ayn; Sabkhat al-Jabbul; Tadmur and Sabkhat Muh; Tual al-Abba; Umm al-Tuyyur; Wadi al-Zib; Wadi al-Qam-Burqush; Wadi al-Radd & Yarmouk valley The Syrian Arab Republic is considered one of the least studied countries within the Mediterranean region when it comes to its bird life. No zoologist has ever carried out a biological survey of the region. So it is very difficult to give an authentic overview of Syrian wildlife, especially its birds. The present structure of Syria’s non-governmental environmental organisations and their very newness makes it difficult for them to choose between limited possibilities for avian research which is currently very limited in its scope. No scientific survey works have been made of the birds of the country for a long time; only very recently has it begun again. The available information until now was a summary given by Kumerloeve (1967-1969), and Macfarlane (1978) contributed more by gathering information covering 1974 to 1977, then Baumgart and Stephan gathered information about birds until the end of 1983. However, during the four years starting from 2000, Dr. Gian Luca Serra in cooperation with Messrs Ahmad Jaber, Mahmoud Abdullah and Ghazi Al-Qaiyem made a survey of the birds in Al-Talila in the Palmyra desert. The very endangered Bald Ibis Geronticus eremite was observed during the first survey. Birdlife International reported (July 2002) that a new colony of critically endangered Northern Bald Ibises was discovered in an Al Badia (desertic steppe) area of central Syria. The small colony contained three pairs which were discovered incubating eggs, and a seventh adult. This was the first evidence of the continued breeding of Northern Bald Ibises in the Middle East since a colony at Birecek in Turkey became extinct (1989). Since then there have been sporadic sightings in Saudi Arabia and Eritrea, suggesting that a breeding population still existed somewhere in the region.A vital survey of the birds in the Deraa area is considered the first such a survey at a general level of the country. The field information now gathered within the two projects for recording the birds of Deraa zone were done by private individuals whose morale was high by virtue of the great support made by BirdLife International represented by Mr. Mike Evans, and by OSME represented by Mr. Keith Button.This vital survey covered a geographical area estimated by 3,730 square kilometres containing 27 seasonal dams located in the southern region of the Syrian Arab Republic adjacent to the boundaries of Jordan and Palestine and which include the following ecologies: 1 – Valleys and dams ecology, 2 – plains for growing cereals ecology, 3 – Woods and mountains ecology, 4 – Farm trees ecology, 5 – Pasturage ecology in the southern region, 6 – Stony land ecology Yousef Ali Alzaoby started work in July 2005 and reported that there were great successes from the start. His survey was set to take 3 to 4 years but we do not know if this was the case.Obviously the civil war which started in 2012 and is still (July 2018) ongoing has disrupted normal civilian life in many areas especially the remoter more wild areas of the country and there is no opportunity to even assess the impact this is having on the wild world.

  • Yousef Ali Alzaoby

    Daraa, Syria |

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 356

    There are 13 species of threatened birds in Syria namely:

    Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus Bald Ibis Geronticus ermita White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala Marbled Duck Marmaronetta angustirostris Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotus Tawny Eagle Aquila helica Lesser Spotted Eagle Aquila pomarina Lesser Kestrel Falca naumanni Saker Falcon Falco cherrug Great Bustard Otis tarda Houbara Bustard Chlamydotis undulate Sociable Plover Vanellus gregarious Syrian Serin Serinus syriacus
  • iGoTerra Checklist

    iGoTerra Checklist
    Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web
Useful Reading

  • 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
  • BirdLife

    …The number of bird species and their population densities are both relatively low. West Palearctic species predominate, and most of the species from this group which breed are confined to the Jibal al Nusayriyah and Jibal al-Sharqi ranges, the distribution of many extending down to the altitude of Damascus…

Abbreviations Key

  • Wetland of International Importance

    WebsiteSatellite View
    The Syrian Arab Republic presently has just one site designated as a Wetland of International Importance, with a surface area of 10,000 hectares.
Trip Reports
  • 2011 [03 March] - Göran Holm

    PDF Report
    …We saw several Bluethroats, loads of Chiffchaffs, one Cyprus Pied Wheatear, Eastern Black-eared Wheatear, Isabelline Wheatear, Caspian Stonechat, one Great Grey Shrike of the subsp. Homeyeri, some Lesser Short-Toed Larks, hundreds of Short-Toed Larks and Crested Larks, Field Pipits, Short-Toed Snake-Eagle, Long- Legged Buzzard and one Stone Curlew….
Other Links
  • Checklist

    This is a list of the bird species recorded in Syria. The avifauna of Syria includes a total of 391 species, of which 11 are rare or accidental. 1 species listed is extirpated in Syria and is not included in the species count

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