List of birds of Israel
This is a list of the bird species recorded in Israel. The avifauna of Israel includes a total of 535 species, of which 5 have been introduced by humans, and 141 are rare or accidental. 1 species listed are extirpated in Israel and are not included in the species count. 14 species are globally threatened. This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families, and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) follow the conventions of Clements's 5th edition. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflects this taxonomy, as do the species counts found in each family account. Introduced and accidental species are included in the total counts for Israel.
The following tags have been used to highlight certain relevant categories, but not all species fall into one of these categories. Those that do not are commonly occurring, native species.
- (A) Accidental A species that rarely or accidentally occurs in Israel.
- (I) Introduced A species introduced to Israel as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions.
- (Ex) Extirpated A species that no longer occurs in Israel although populations exist elsewhere.
The Ostrich is a flightless bird native to Africa. It is the largest living species of bird. It is distinctive in its appearance, with a long neck and legs and the ability to run at high speeds.
- Ostrich Struthio camelus (Ex)
Loons, known as Divers in Europe, are a group of aquatic birds found in many parts of North America and northern Europe. They are the size of a large duck or small goose, which they somewhat resemble in shape when swimming, but they are completely unrelated to these waterfowl. There are 5 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Israel.
Grebes are small to medium-large sized freshwater diving birds. They have lobed toes, and are excellent swimmers and divers. However, they have their feet placed far back on the body, making them quite ungainly on land. There are 20 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in Israel.
- Little grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
- Red-necked grebe Podiceps grisegena (A)
- Great crested grebe Podiceps cristatus
- Slavonian grebe Podiceps auritus (A)
- Black-necked grebe Podiceps nigricollis
The albatrosses are among the largest of flying birds, and the great albatrosses from the genus Diomedea have the largest wingspans of any extant birds. There are 21 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Israel.
- Shy albatross Thalassarche cauta (A)
Shearwaters and petrels
The procellariids are the main group of medium-sized 'true petrels', characterised by united nostrils with a medium septum, and a long outer functional primary. There are 75 species worldwide and 14 species which occur in Israel.
- Atlantic petrel Pterodroma incerta (A)
- Soft-plumaged petrel Pterodroma mollis (A)
- Fea's petrel Pterodroma feae (A)
- Streaked shearwater Calonectris leucomelas (A)
- Cory's shearwater Calonectris diomedea
- Flesh-footed shearwater Puffinus carneipes (A)
- Greater shearwater Puffinus gravis (A)
- Sooty shearwater Puffinus griseus
- Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus
- Balearic shearwater Puffinus mauretanicus (A)
- Levantine shearwater Puffinus yelkouan
- Little shearwater Puffinus assimilis (A)
- Audubon's shearwater Puffinus lherminieri (A)
- Persian shearwater Puffinus persicus (A)
The storm petrels are relatives of the petrels, and are the smallest of sea-birds. They feed on planktonic crustaceans and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. The flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like. There are 21 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in Israel.
- Wilson's storm petrel Oceanites oceanicus (A)
- European storm petrel Hydrobates pelagicus (A)
- Band-rumped storm petrel Oceanodroma castro (A)
- Leach's storm petrel Oceanodroma leucorhoa
- Swinhoe's storm petrel Oceanodroma monorhis (A)
Tropicbirds are slender white birds of tropical oceans, with exceptionally long central tail feathers. Their heads and long wings have black markings. There are 3 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Israel.
- Red-billed tropicbird Phaethon aethereus (A)
Pelicans are large water birds with a distinctive pouch under the beak. As with other members of the order Pelecaniformes, they have webbed feet with four toes. There are 8 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Israel.
- Great white pelican Pelecanus onocrotalus
- Pink-backed pelican Pelecanus rufescens (A)
- Dalmatian pelican Pelecanus crispus (A)
Boobies and gannets
The Phalacrocoracidae is a family of medium-to-large coastal, fish-eating sea-birds that includes cormorants and shags. Plumage colouration varies with the majority having mainly dark plumage, some species being black and white, and a few being colourful. There are 38 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Israel.
- Great cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
- European shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis (A)
- Pygmy cormorant Phalacrocorax pygmaeus
Darters are frequently referred to as "snake-birds" because of their long thin neck, which gives a snake-like appearance when they swim with their bodies submerged. The males have black and dark brown plumage, an erectile crest on the nape and a larger bill than the female. The females have a much paler plumage especially on the neck and underparts. The darters have completely webbed feet, and their legs are short and set far back on the body. Their plumage is somewhat permeable, like that of cormorants, and they spread their wings to dry after diving. There are 4 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Israel.
- Darter Anhinga melanogaster (EX)
Frigatebirds are large sea-birds usually found over tropical oceans. They are large, black-and-white or completely black, with long wings and deeply forked tails. The males have inflatable coloured throat pouches. They do not swim or walk, and cannot take off from a flat surface. Having the largest wingspan-to-body-weight ratio of any bird, they are essentially aerial, able to stay aloft for more than a week. There are 5 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Israel.
- Lesser frigatebird Fregata ariel (A)
Bitterns, herons and egrets
The Ardeidae family contains the bitterns, herons and egrets. Herons and egrets are medium to large sized wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more wary. Unlike other long-necked birds suck as storks, ibises and spoonbills, members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted. There are 61 species worldwide and 14 species which occur in Israel.
- Grey heron Ardea cinerea
- Black-headed heron Ardea melanocephala (A)
- Goliath heron Ardea goliath (A)
- Purple heron Ardea purpurea
- Great egret Ardea alba
- Black heron Egretta ardesiaca (A)
- Intermediate egret Egretta intermedia (A)
- Western reef heron Egretta gularis
- Little egret Egretta garzetta
- Squacco heron Ardeola ralloides
- Cattle egret Bubulcus ibis
- Striated heron Butorides striata
- Black-crowned night heron Nycticorax nycticorax
- Great bittern Botaurus stellaris
Storks are large, long-legged, long-necked, wading birds with long, stout bills. Storks are mute; bill-clattering is an important mode of stork communication at the nest. Their nests can be large and may be reused for many years. Many species are migratory. There are 19 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in Israel.
- Yellow-billed stork Mycteria ibis (A)
- Black stork Ciconia nigra
- White stork Ciconia ciconia
- Marabou stork Leptoptilos crumeniferus (A)
Ibises and spoonbills
The Threskiornithidae is a family of large terrestrial and wading birds which includes the ibises and spoonbills. They have long, broad wings with 11 primary and about 20 secondary feathers. They are strong fliers and despite their size and weight, very capable soarers. There are 36 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Israel.
- Northern bald ibis Geronticus eremita (A)
- Glossy ibis Plegadis falcinellus
- Eurasian spoonbill Platalea leucorodia
Flamingos are gregarious wading birds, usually 3 to 5 feet high, found in both the Western and Eastern Hemispheres. They are more numerous in the latter. Flamingos filter-feed on shellfish and algae. Their oddly shaped beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they consume, and are uniquely used upside-down. There are 6 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Israel.
- Greater flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus
Ducks, geese and swans
Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These are birds that are adapted to aquatic existence with webbed feet, flattened bills and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to an oily coating. There are 131 species worldwide and 36 species which occur in Israel.
- Lesser whistling-duck Dendrocygna javanica (A)
- Mute swan Cygnus olor
- Whooper swan Cygnus cygnus (A)
- Bewick's swan Cygnus columbianus
- Greater white-fronted goose Anser albifrons
- Lesser white-fronted goose Anser erythropus (A)
- Greylag goose Anser anser
- Bean goose Anser fabalis (A)
- Red-breasted goose Branta ruficollis (A)
- Egyptian goose Alopochen aegyptiacus (I)
- Ruddy shelduck Tadorna ferruginea
- Common shelduck Tadorna tadorna
- Eurasian wigeon Anas penelope
- Gadwall Anas strepera
- Eurasian teal Anas crecca
- Cape teal Anas capensis (A)
- Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
- Northern pintail Anas acuta
- Red-billed duck Anas erythrorhyncha (A)
- Garganey Anas querquedula
- Northern shoveler Anas clypeata
- Marbled teal Marmaronetta angustirostris
- Red-crested pochard Netta rufina
- Southern pochard Netta erythrophthalma (A)
- Common pochard Aythya ferina
- Ferruginous duck Aythya nyroca
- Tufted duck Aythya fuligula
- Greater scaup Aythya marila (A)
- Common eider Somateria mollissima (A)
- Long-tailed duck Clangula hyemalis (A)
- White-winged scoter Melanitta fusca (A)
- Common goldeneye Bucephala clangula (A)
- Smew Mergellus albellus (A)
- Red-breasted merganser Mergus serrator
- Common merganser Mergus merganser (A)
- White-headed duck Oxyura leucocephala
The Pandionidae family contains only one species, the osprey. The osprey is a medium large raptor which is a specialist fish-eater with a worldwide distribution.
- Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Hawks, kites and eagles
Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey and include hawks, eagles, kites, harriers and Old World vultures. These birds have powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons, and keen eyesight. There are 233 species worldwide and 34 species which occur in Israel.
- European honey buzzard Pernis apivorus
- Crested honey buzzard Pernis ptilorhynchus
- Black-shouldered kite Elanus caeruleus (A)
- Red kite Milvus milvus (A)
- Black kite Milvus migrans
- White-tailed eagle Haliaeetus albicilla
- Lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus (A)
- Egyptian vulture Neophron percnopterus
- Eurasian griffon Gyps fulvus
- Cinereous vulture Aegypius monachus
- Lappet-faced vulture Torgos tracheliotus
- Short-toed snake eagle Circaetus gallicus
- Bateleur Terathopius ecaudatus (A)
- Western marsh harrier Circus aeruginosus
- Northern harrier Circus cyaneus
- Pallid harrier Circus macrourus
- Montagu's harrier Circus pygargus
- Dark chanting-goshawk Melierax metabates (A)
- Shikra Accipiter badius (A)
- Levant sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes
- Eurasian sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
- Northern goshawk Accipiter gentilis
- Eurasian buzzard Buteo buteo
- Long-legged buzzard Buteo rufinus
- Rough-legged buzzard Buteo lagopus (A)
- Lesser spotted eagle Aquila pomarina
- Greater spotted eagle Aquila clanga
- Tawny eagle Aquila rapax (A)
- Steppe eagle Aquila nipalensis
- Imperial eagle Aquila heliaca
- Golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos
- Verreaux's eagle Aquila verreauxii (A)
- Bonelli's eagle Aquila fasciatus
- Booted eagle Aquila pennatus
Falconidae is a family of diurnal birds of prey. They differ from hawks, eagles, and kites in that they kill with their beaks instead of their feet. There are 62 species worldwide and 11 species which occur in Israel.
- Lesser kestrel Falco naumanni
- Eurasian kestrel Falco tinnunculus
- Red-footed falcon Falco vespertinus
- Eleonora's falcon Falco eleonorae
- Sooty falcon Falco concolor
- Merlin Falco columbarius
- Eurasian hobby Falco subbuteo
- Lanner falcon Falco biarmicus
- Saker falcon Falco cherrug
- Barbary falcon Falco pelegrinoides
- Peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus
Pheasants and partridges
The Phasianidae are a family of terrestrial birds which consists of quails, partridges, snowcocks, francolins, spurfowls, tragopans, monals, pheasants, peafowls and jungle fowls. In general, they are plump (although they may vary in size) and have broad, relatively short wings. There are 156 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in Israel.
- Chukar Alectoris chukar
- Sand partridge Ammoperdix heyi
- Black francolin Francolinus francolinus
- Common quail Coturnix coturnix
Cranes are large, long-legged and long-necked birds. Unlike the similar-looking but unrelated herons, cranes fly with necks outstretched, not pulled back. Most have elaborate and noisy courting displays or "dances". There are 15 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Israel.
Rails, crakes, gallinules, and coots
Rallidae is a large family of small to medium-sized birds which includes the rails, crakes, coots, and gallinules. Typically they inhabit dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, swamps, or rivers. In general they are shy and secretive birds, difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs, and have long toes which are well adapted to soft, uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and be weak fliers. There are 143 species worldwide and 8 species which occur in Israel.
- Water rail Rallus aquaticus
- Corn crake Crex crex
- Little crake Porzana parva
- Baillon's crake Porzana pusilla
- Spotted crake Porzana porzana
- Purple swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio (A)
- Common moorhen Gallinula chloropus
- Eurasian coot Fulica atra
Bustards are large terrestrial birds mainly associated with dry open country and steppes in the Old World. They are omnivorous and nest on the ground. They walk steadily on strong legs and big toes, pecking for food as they go. They have long broad wings with "fingered" wingtips, and striking patterns in flight. Many have interesting mating displays. There are 26 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Israel.
Painted-snipe are short-legged, long-billed birds similar in shape to the true snipes, but more brightly coloured. There are 2 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Israel.
- Greater painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis (A)
The crab plover is related to the waders. It resembles a plover but with very long grey legs and a strong heavy black bill similar to a tern. It has black-and-white plumage, a long neck, partially webbed feet and a bill designed for eating crabs.
- Crab plover Dromas ardeola (A)
- Eurasian oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus
Avocets and stilts
Recurvirostridae is a family of large wading birds, which includes the avocets and the stilts. The avocets have long legs and long up-curved bills. The stilts have extremely long legs and long, thin, straight bills. There are 9 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Israel.
The thick-knees are a group of largely tropical waders in the family Burhinidae. They are found worldwide within the tropical zone, with some species also breeding in temperate Europe and Australia. They are medium to large waders with strong black or yellow black bills, large yellow eyes and cryptic plumage. Despite being classed as waders, most species have a preference for arid or semi-arid habitats. There are 9 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Israel.
- Eurasian thick-knee Burhinus oedicnemus
Pratincoles and coursers
Glareolidae is a family of wading birds comprising the pratincoles, which have short legs, long pointed wings and long forked tails, and the coursers, which have long legs, short wings and long, pointed bills which curve downwards. There are 17 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in Israel.
- Cream-colored courser Cursorius cursor
- Collared pratincole Glareola pratincola
- Oriental pratincole Glareola maldivarum (A)
- Black-winged pratincole Glareola nordmanni
Plovers and lapwings
The family Charadriidae includes the plovers, dotterels, and lapwings. They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings. They are found in open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water, although there are some exceptions. There are 66 species worldwide and 17 species which occur in Israel.
- Northern lapwing Vanellus vanellus
- Spur-winged plover Vanellus spinosus
- Black-headed lapwing Vanellus tectus (A)
- Red-wattled lapwing Vanellus indicus (A)
- Sociable lapwing Vanellus gregarius
- White-tailed lapwing Vanellus leucurus
- Pacific golden plover Pluvialis fulva
- European golden plover Pluvialis apricaria
- Grey plover Pluvialis squatarola
- Common ringed plover Charadrius hiaticula
- Little ringed plover Charadrius dubius
- Kittlitz's plover Charadrius pecuarius (A)
- Kentish plover Charadrius alexandrinus
- Lesser sandplover Charadrius mongolus (A)
- Greater sandplover Charadrius leschenaultii
- Caspian plover Charadrius asiaticus
- Eurasian dotterel Charadrius morinellus
Sandpipers and allies
The Scolopacidae are a large diverse family of small to medium sized shorebirds including the sandpipers, curlews, godwits, shanks, tattlers, woodcocks, snipes, dowitchers and phalaropes. The majority of species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Variation in length of legs and bills enable different species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food. There are 89 species worldwide and 38 species which occur in Israel.
- Eurasian woodcock Scolopax rusticola
- Jack snipe Lymnocryptes minimus
- Pintail snipe Gallinago stenura (A)
- Great snipe Gallinago media
- Common snipe Gallinago gallinago
- Long-billed dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus (A)
- Black-tailed godwit Limosa limosa
- Bar-tailed godwit Limosa lapponica
- Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
- Slender-billed curlew Numenius tenuirostris (A)
- Eurasian curlew Numenius arquata
- Spotted redshank Tringa erythropus
- Common redshank Tringa totanus
- Marsh sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis
- Common greenshank Tringa nebularia
- Lesser yellowlegs Tringa flavipes (A)
- Green sandpiper Tringa ochropus
- Wood sandpiper Tringa glareola
- Terek sandpiper Xenus cinereus
- Common sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
- Ruddy turnstone Arenaria interpres
- Great knot Calidris tenuirostris (A)
- Red knot Calidris canutus
- Sanderling Calidris alba
- Semipalmated sandpiper Calidris pusilla (A)
- Red-necked stint Calidris ruficollis (A)
- Little stint Calidris minuta
- Temminck's stint Calidris temminckii
- Long-toed stint Calidris subminuta (A)
- White-rumped sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis (A)
- Baird's sandpiper Calidris bairdii (A)
- Pectoral sandpiper Calidris melanotos (A)
- Curlew sandpiper Calidris ferruginea
- Dunlin Calidris alpina
- Broad-billed sandpiper Limicola falcinellus
- Ruff Philomachus pugnax
- Red-necked phalarope Phalaropus lobatus
- Red phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius (A)
The family Stercorariidae are, in general, medium to large birds, typically with grey or brown plumage, often with white markings on the wings. They nest on the ground in temperate and arctic regions and are long-distance migrants. There are 7 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in Israel.
- South Polar skua Stercorarius maccormicki (A)
- Great skua Stercorarius skua (A)
- Pomarine skua Stercorarius pomarinus
- Arctic skua Stercorarius parasiticus
- Long-tailed skua Stercorarius longicaudus
Laridae is a family of medium to large seabirds and includes gulls and kittiwakes. They are typically grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet. There are 55 species worldwide and 22 species which occur in Israel.
- White-eyed gull Larus leucophthalmus
- Sooty gull Larus hemprichii (A)
- Common gull Larus canus
- Audouin's gull Larus audouinii (A)
- Great black-backed gull Larus marinus (A)
- Glaucous gull Larus hyperboreus (A)
- Herring gull Larus argentatus (A)
- Lesser black-backed gull Larus fuscus
- Heuglin's gull Larus heuglini
- Caspian gull Larus cachinnans
- Armenian gull Larus armenicus
- Yellow-legged gull Larus michahellis
- Great black-headed gull Larus ichthyaetus
- Brown-headed gull Larus brunnicephalus (A)
- Grey-headed gull Larus cirrocephalus (A)
- Black-headed gull Larus ridibundus
- Slender-billed gull Larus genei
- Mediterranean gull Larus melanocephalus
- Franklin's gull Larus pipixcan (A)
- Little gull Larus minutus
- Sabine's gull Xema sabini (A)
- Black-legged kittiwake Rissa tridactyla
Terns are a group of generally medium to large sea-birds typically with grey or white plumage, often with black markings on the head. Most terns hunt fish by diving but some pick insects off the surface of fresh water. Terns are generally long-lived birds, with several species now known to live in excess of 25 to 30 years. There are 44 species worldwide and 16 species which occur in Israel.
- Gull-billed tern Sterna nilotica
- Caspian tern Sterna caspia
- Lesser crested tern Sterna bengalensis
- Sandwich tern Sterna sandvicensis
- Great crested tern Sterna bergii (A)
- Roseate tern Sterna dougallii (A)
- Common tern Sterna hirundo
- Arctic tern Sterna paradisaea (A)
- Little tern Sterna albifrons
- Saunders's tern Sterna saundersi (A)
- White-cheeked tern Sterna repressa
- Bridled tern Sterna anaethetus
- Sooty tern Sterna fuscata (A)
- Whiskered tern Chlidonias hybridus
- White-winged tern Chlidonias leucopterus
- Black tern Chlidonias niger
Skimmers are a small family of tropical tern-like birds. They have an elongated lower mandible which they use to feed by flying low over the water surface and skimming the water for small fish. There are 3 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Israel.
- African skimmer Rynchops flavirostris (A)
Sandgrouse have small, pigeon like heads and necks, but sturdy compact bodies. They have long pointed wings and sometimes tails and a fast direct flight. Flocks fly to watering holes at dawn and dusk. Their legs are feathered down to the toes. There are 16 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in Israel.
- Pin-tailed sandgrouse Pterocles alchata
- Spotted sandgrouse Pterocles senegallus
- Black-bellied sandgrouse Pterocles orientalis
- Crowned sandgrouse Pterocles coronatus
- Lichtenstein's sandgrouse Pterocles lichtensteinii
Pigeons and doves
- Rock pigeon Columba livia
- Stock dove Columba oenas
- Common wood pigeon Columba palumbus
- European turtle dove Streptopelia turtur
- Oriental turtle dove Streptopelia orientalis (A)
- Eurasian collared dove Streptopelia decaocto
- African collared dove Streptopelia roseogrisea (A)
- Laughing dove Streptopelia senegalensis
- Namaqua dove Oena capensis
Parrots are small to large birds with a characteristic curved beak shape. Their upper mandibles have slight mobility in the joint with the skull and they have a generally erect stance. All parrots are zygodactyl, having the four toes on each foot placed two at the front and two back. There are 335 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Israel.
The family Cuculidae includes cuckoos, roadrunners and anis. These birds are of variable size with slender bodies, long tails and strong legs. There are 138 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in Israel.
- Great spotted cuckoo Clamator glandarius
- Common cuckoo Cuculus canorus
- Horsfield's cuckoo Cuculus horsfieldi (A)
- Dideric cuckoo Chrysococcyx caprius (A)
Barn owls are medium to large sized owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons. There are 16 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Israel.
- Barn owl Tyto alba
Typical owls are small to large solitary nocturnal birds of prey. They have large forward-facing eyes and ears, a hawk-like beak, and a conspicuous circle of feathers around each eye called a facial disk. There are 195 species worldwide and 12 species which occur in Israel.
- Pallid scops owl Otus brucei
- African scops owl Otus senegalensis
- European scops owl Otus scops
- Oriental scops owl Otus sunia
- Eurasian eagle-owl Bubo bubo
- Pharaoh eagle-owl Bubo ascalaphus
- Brown fish owl Ketupa zeylonensis (A)
- Tawny owl Strix aluco
- Hume's owl Strix butleri
- Little owl Athene noctua
- Long-eared owl Asio otus
- Short-eared owl Asio flammeus
Nightjars are medium-sized nocturnal birds with long wings, short legs and very short bills that usually nest on the ground. Most have small feet, of little use for walking, and long pointed wings. Their soft plumage is camouflaged to resemble bark or leaves. There are 86 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Israel.
- Eurasian nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus
- Egyptian nightjar Caprimulgus aegyptius
- Nubian nightjar Caprimulgus nubicus
Swifts are small aerial birds, spending the majority of their lives flying. These birds have very short legs and never settle voluntarily on the ground, perching instead only on vertical surfaces. Many swifts have long swept-back wings that resemble a crescent or a boomerang. There are 98 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in Israel.
- Alpine swift Tachymarptis melba
- Common swift Apus apus
- Pallid swift Apus pallidus
- Little swift Apus affinis
Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long, pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails. There are 93 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Israel.
- Common kingfisher Alcedo atthis
- White-throated kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis
- Pied kingfisher Ceryle rudis
The bee-eaters are a group of near passerine birds in the family Meropidae. Most species are found in Africa but others occur in southern Europe, Madagascar, Australia and New Guinea. They are characterised by richly coloured plumage, slender bodies and usually elongated central tail feathers. All are colorful and have long downturned bills and pointed wings, which give them a swallow-like appearance when seen from afar. There are 26 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Israel.
- Green bee-eater Merops orientalis
- Blue-cheeked bee-eater Merops persicus
- European bee-eater Merops apiaster
Rollers resemble crows in size and build, but are more closely related to the kingfishers and bee-eaters. They share the colourful appearance of those groups with blues and browns predominating. The two inner front toes are connected, but the outer toe is not. There are 12 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Israel.
- European roller Coracias garrulus
Hoopoes have black, white and orangey-pink colouring with a large erectile crest on their head. There is only 1 species worldwide, which occurs in Israel.
- Hoopoe Upupa epops
Woodpeckers and allies
Woodpeckers are small to medium-sized birds with chisel-like beaks, short legs, stiff tails and long tongues used for capturing insects. Some species have feet with two toes pointing forward, and two backward, while several species have only three toes. Many woodpeckers have the habit of tapping noisily on tree trunks with their beaks. There are 218 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Israel.
Larks are small terrestrial birds with often extravagant songs and display flights. Most larks are fairly dull in appearance. Their food is insects and seeds. There are 91 species worldwide and 18 species which occur in Israel.
- Black-crowned sparrow-lark Eremopterix nigriceps (A)
- Chestnut-headed sparrow-lark Eremopterix signata (A)
- Bar-tailed lark Ammomanes cincturus
- Desert lark Ammomanes deserti
- Greater hoopoe-lark Alaemon alaudipes
- Thick-billed lark Ramphocoris clotbey (A)
- Calandra lark Melanocorypha calandra
- Bimaculated lark Melanocorypha bimaculata
- Greater short-toed lark Calandrella brachydactyla
- Hume's lark Calandrella acutirostris (A)
- Lesser short-toed lark Calandrella rufescens
- Dunn's lark Eremalauda dunni
- Crested lark Galerida cristata
- Wood lark Lullula arborea
- Eurasian skylark Alauda arvensis
- Oriental skylark Alauda gulgula
- Horned lark Eremophila alpestris
- Temminck's lark Eremophila bilopha
Swallows and martins
The Hirundinidae family is a group of passerines characterized by their adaptation to aerial feeding. Their adaptations include a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings and short bills with wide gape. The feet are designed for perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base. There are 75 species worldwide and 8 species which occur in Israel.
- Sand martin Riparia riparia
- Grey-throated martin Riparia paludicola (A)
- Eurasian crag martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris
- Pale crag martin Ptyonoprogne obsoleta
- Barn swallow Hirundo rustica
- Ethiopian swallow Hirundo aethiopica (A)
- Red-rumped swallow Cecropis daurica
- Common house martin Delichon urbica
Wagtails and pipits
The Motacillidae are a family of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They include the wagtails, longclaws and pipits. They are slender, ground feeding insectivores of open country. There are 54 species worldwide and 14 species which occur in Israel.
- White wagtail Motacilla alba
- Citrine wagtail Motacilla citreola
- Yellow wagtail Motacilla flava
- Grey wagtail Motacilla cinerea
- Richard's pipit Anthus richardi
- Tawny pipit Anthus campestris
- Blyth's pipit Anthus godlewskii (A)
- Long-billed pipit Anthus similis
- Tree pipit Anthus trivialis
- Olive-backed pipit Anthus hodgsoni
- Meadow pipit Anthus pratensis
- Red-throated pipit Anthus cervinus
- Water pipit Anthus spinoletta
- American pipit Anthus rubescens
Bulbuls are medium-sized songbirds. Some are colourful with yellow, red or orange vents, cheeks, throat or supercilia, but most are drab, with uniform olive-brown to black plumage. Some species have distinct crests. There are 130 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Israel.
The kinglets or crests are a small group of birds often included in the Old World warblers, but frequently given family status because they also resemble the titmice. There are 7 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Israel.
- Goldcrest Regulus regulus
The waxwings are a group of passerine birds characterized by soft silky plumage and unique red tips to some of the wing feathers. In the Bohemian and cedar waxwings, these tips look like sealing wax, and give the group its name. These are arboreal birds of northern forests. They live on insects in summer and berries in winter. There are 3 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Israel.
- Bohemian waxwing Bombycilla garrulus (A)
The grey hypocolius is a small Middle Eastern bird. They are mainly a uniform grey color, with males having a black triangular mask around the eyes, and with the shape and soft plumage of the waxwings.
- Hypocolius Hypocolius ampelinus (A)
The wrens are mainly small and inconspicuous except for their loud songs. These birds have short wings and a thin down-turned bill. Several species often hold their tails upright. All are insectivorous. There are 80 species worldwide (of which all but one are New World species) and 1 species which occurs in Israel.
- Winter wren Troglodytes troglodytes
The accentors are in the only bird family, Prunellidae, which is completely endemic to the Palearctic. They are small, fairly drab species superficially similar to sparrows. There are 13 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in Israel.
- Alpine accentor Prunella collaris
- Radde's accentor Prunella ocularis
- Black-throated accentor Prunella atrogularis (A)
- Dunnock Prunella modularis
Thrushes and allies
The thrushes are a group of passerine birds that occur mainly in the Old World. They are plump, soft plumaged, small to medium-sized insectivores or sometimes omnivores, often feeding on the ground. Many have attractive songs. There are 335 species worldwide and 11 species which occur in Israel.
- Common rock thrush Monticola saxatilis
- Blue rock thrush Monticola solitarius
- Ring ouzel Turdus torquatus
- Eurasian blackbird Turdus merula
- Eyebrowed thrush Turdus obscurus (A)
- Dark-throated thrush Turdus ruficollis (A)
- Dusky thrush Turdus naumanni (A)
- Fieldfare Turdus pilaris
- Redwing Turdus iliacus
- Song thrush Turdus philomelos
- Mistle thrush Turdus viscivorus
Cisticolas and allies
The Cisticolidae are warblers found mainly in warmer southern regions of the Old World. They are generally very small birds of drab brown or grey appearance found in open country such as grassland or scrub. There are 111 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Israel.
- Zitting cisticola Cisticola juncidis
- Streaked scrub warbler Scotocerca inquieta
- Graceful prinia Prinia gracilis
Old World warblers
The family Sylviidae is a group of small insectivorous passerine birds. The Sylviidae mainly occur as breeding species, as the common name implies, in Europe, Asia and, to a lesser extent Africa. Most are of generally undistinguished appearance, but many have distinctive songs. There are 291 species worldwide and 45 species which occur in Israel.
- Cetti's warbler Cettia cetti
- Grasshopper warbler Locustella naevia (A)
- Pallas's warbler Locustella certhiola (A)
- Eurasian river warbler Locustella fluviatilis
- Savi's warbler Locustella luscinioides
- Moustached warbler Acrocephalus melanopogon
- Sedge warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
- Paddyfield warbler Acrocephalus agricola (A)
- Eurasian reed warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus
- Blyth's reed warbler Acrocephalus dumetorum (A)
- Marsh warbler Acrocephalus palustris
- Great reed warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus
- Oriental reed warbler Acrocephalus orientalis (A)
- Clamorous reed warbler Acrocephalus stentoreus
- Basra reed warbler Acrocephalus griseldis (A)
- Booted warbler Hippolais caligata (A)
- Eastern olivaceous warbler Hippolais pallida
- Upcher's warbler Hippolais languida
- Olive-tree warbler Hippolais olivetorum
- Icterine warbler Hippolais icterina
- Willow warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
- Common chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
- Mountain chiffchaff Phylloscopus sindianus
- Eastern Bonelli's warbler Phylloscopus orientalis
- Wood warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix
- Dusky warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus (A)
- Radde's warbler Phylloscopus schwarzi (A)
- Lemon-rumped warbler Phylloscopus proregulus (A)
- Yellow-browed warbler Phylloscopus inornatus
- Hume's warbler Phylloscopus humei
- Greenish warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides (A)
- Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
- Garden warbler Sylvia borin
- Greater whitethroat Sylvia communis
- Lesser whitethroat Sylvia curruca
- Asian desert warbler Sylvia nana
- Barred warbler Sylvia nisoria
- Eastern Orphean warbler Sylvia crassirostris
- Arabian warbler Sylvia leucomelaena
- Rueppell's warbler Sylvia rueppelli
- Subalpine warbler Sylvia cantillans
- Sardinian warbler Sylvia melanocephala
- Cyprus warbler Sylvia melanothorax
- Menetries's warbler Sylvia mystacea
- Spectacled warbler Sylvia conspicillata
Old World flycatchers
Old World flycatchers are a large group of small passerine birds native to the Old World. They are mainly small arboreal insectivores. The appearance of these birds is very varied, but they mostly have weak songs and harsh calls. There 274 species worldwide and 35 species which occur in Israel.
- Spotted flycatcher Muscicapa striata
- European pied flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca
- Collared flycatcher Ficedula albicollis
- Semicollared flycatcher Ficedula semitorquata
- Red-breasted flycatcher Ficedula parva
- European robin Erithacus rubecula
- Thrush nightingale Luscinia luscinia
- Common nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos
- Bluethroat Luscinia svecica
- Red-flanked bluetail Tarsiger cyanurus (A)
- White-throated robin Irania gutturalis
- Rufous-tailed scrub robin Cercotrichas galactotes
- Black scrub robin Cercotrichas podobe
- Rufous-backed redstart Phoenicurus erythronota (A)
- Black redstart Phoenicurus ochruros
- Common redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
- Siberian stonechat Saxicola maura
- Whinchat Saxicola rubetra
- European stonechat Saxicola rubicola
- Pied bushchat Saxicola caprata (A)
- White-tailed wheatear Oenanthe leucopyga
- Hooded wheatear Oenanthe monacha
- Black wheatear Oenanthe leucura (A)
- Northern wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
- Mourning wheatear Oenanthe lugens
- Finsch's wheatear Oenanthe finschii
- Variable wheatear Oenanthe picata (A)
- Red-rumped wheatear Oenanthe moesta
- Pied wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka
- Cyprus wheatear Oenanthe cypriaca
- Black-eared wheatear Oenanthe hispanica
- Red-tailed wheatear Oenanthe xanthoprymna (A)
- Desert wheatear Oenanthe deserti
- Isabelline wheatear Oenanthe isabellina
- Blackstart Cercomela melanura
The babblers or timaliids are somewhat diverse in size and coloration, but are characterised by soft fluffy plumage. There are 270 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Israel.
- Arabian babbler Turdoides squamiceps
The parrotbills are a group of birds native to East and Southeast Asia, though feral populations are known from elsewhere. They are generally small, long-tailed birds which inhabit reedbeds and similar habitats. There are 20 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Israel.
- Bearded reedling Panurus biarmicus (A)
The Paridae are mainly small stocky woodland species with short stout bills. Some have crests. They are adaptable birds, with a mixed diet including seeds and insects. There are species 59 worldwide and 3 species which occur in Israel.
Nuthatches are small woodland birds. They have the unusual ability to climb down trees head first, unlike other birds which can only go upwards. Nuthatches have big heads, short tails and powerful bills and feet. There are 24 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Israel.
The Wallcreeper is a small bird with stunning crimson, grey and black plumage, related to the nuthatch family.
- Wallcreeper Tichodroma muraria
The penduline tits are a group of small passerine birds, related to the true tits. They are insectivores. There are 13 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Israel.
- Eurasian penduline tit Remiz pendulinus
Sunbirds and spiderhunters
The sunbirds and spiderhunters are very small passerine birds which feed largely on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young. Flight is fast and direct on their short wings. Most species can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perch to feed. There are 131 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Israel.
- Palestine sunbird Cinnyris oseus
Old World orioles
The Old World orioles are colourful passerine birds. They are not related to the New World orioles. There are 29 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Israel.
- Eurasian golden oriole Oriolus oriolus
Shrikes are passerine birds known for their habit of catching other birds and small animals and impaling the uneaten portions of their bodies on thorns. A typical shrike's beak is hooked, like a bird of prey. There are 31 species worldwide and 7 species which occur in Israel.
- Red-backed shrike Lanius collurio
- Isabelline shrike Lanius isabellinus
- Long-tailed shrike Lanius schach (A)
- Southern grey shrike Lanius meridionalis
- Lesser grey shrike Lanius minor
- Masked shrike Lanius nubicus
- Woodchat shrike Lanius senator
Crows, jays, ravens and magpies
The Corvidae family includes crows, ravens, jays, choughs, magpies, treepies, nutcrackers, and ground jays. Corvids are above average in size for the bird order Passeriformes. Some of the larger species show high levels of learning behavior. There are 120 species worldwide and 10 species which occur in Israel.
- Eurasian jay Garrulus glandarius
- Red-billed chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax (A)
- Yellow-billed chough Pyrrhocorax graculus
- Eurasian jackdaw Corvus monedula
- House crow Corvus splendens(I)
- Rook Corvus frugilegus
- Brown-necked raven Corvus ruficollis
- Fan-tailed raven Corvus rhipidurus
- Common raven Corvus corax
- Hooded crow Corvus cornix
Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds. Their flight is strong and direct, and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country. They eat insects and fruit. Plumage is typically dark with a metallic sheen. There are 125 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in Israel.
- Common myna Acridotheres tristis (I)
- Vinous-breasted starling Acridotheres burmannicus (I)
- Rosy starling Pastor roseus
- European starling Sturnus vulgaris
- Tristram's starling Onychognathus tristramii
Waxbills and allies
The estrildid finches are small passerine birds of the Old World tropics and Australasia. They are gregarious and often colonial seed-eaters with short thick but pointed bills. They are all similar in structure and habits, but have a wide variation in plumage colours and pattern. There are 141 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Israel.
- White-throated munia Euodice malabarica (I)
The emberizids are a large family of passerine birds. They are seed-eating birds with a distinctively shaped bill. In Europe, most species are named as buntings. In North America, most of the species in this family are known as sparrows, but these birds are not closely related to the Old World sparrows which are in the family Passeridae. Many emberizid species have distinctive head patterns. There are species 275 worldwide and 14 species which occur in Israel.
- Yellowhammer Emberiza citrinella
- Pine bunting Emberiza leucocephalos
- Rock bunting Emberiza cia
- Cinereous bunting Emberiza cineracea
- Ortolan bunting Emberiza hortulana
- Cretzschmar's bunting Emberiza caesia
- House bunting Emberiza striolata
- Little bunting Emberiza pusilla
- Rustic bunting Emberiza rustica
- Yellow-breasted bunting Emberiza aureola (A)
- Black-headed bunting Emberiza melanocephala
- Red-headed bunting Emberiza bruniceps (A)
- Reed bunting Emberiza schoeniclus
- Corn bunting Emberiza calandra
Finches are seed-eating passerine birds, that are small to moderately large and have a strong beak, usually conical and in some species very large. All have 12 tail feathers and 9 primaries. These birds have a bouncing flight with alternating bouts of flapping and gliding on closed wings, and most sing well. There are 137 species worldwide and 16 species which occur in Israel.
- Common chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
- Brambling Fringilla montifringilla
- Common rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus
- Pale rosefinch Carpodacus synoicus
- Red crossbill Loxia curvirostra (A)
- European greenfinch Carduelis chloris
- Eurasian siskin Carduelis spinus
- European goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
- Eurasian linnet Carduelis cannabina
- Fire-fronted serin Serinus pusillus
- European serin Serinus serinus
- Syrian serin Serinus syriacus
- Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustes
- Crimson-winged finch Rhodopechys sanguinea
- Trumpeter finch Bucanetes githaginea
- Desert finch Rhodospiza obsoleta
Sparrows are small passerine birds. In general, sparrows tend to be small, plump, brown or grey birds with short tails and short powerful beaks. Sparrows are seed-eaters, and they also consume small insects. There are 35 species worldwide and 7 species which occur in Israel.
- House sparrow Passer domesticus
- Spanish sparrow Passer hispaniolensis
- Dead Sea sparrow Passer moabiticus
- Eurasian tree sparrow Passer montanus (A)
- Chestnut-shouldered petronia Petronia xanthocollis (A)
- Rock petronia Petronia petronia
- Pale rockfinch Carpospiza brachydactyla
- Lepage, Denis. "Checklist of birds of Israel". Bird Checklists of the World. Avibase. Retrieved 26 April 2007.
- Clements, James F. (2000). Birds of the World: a Checklist. Cornell University Press. p. 880. ISBN 0-934797-16-1.
- Arnold, Paula (1962). Birds of Israel (in Hebrew and English). Shalit Publishers Ltd., Haifa, Israel pp. 106.