List of birds of Saudi Arabia
This is a list of the bird species recorded in Saudi Arabia. The avifauna of Saudi Arabia includes a total of 488 species, of which 5 have been introduced by humans, and 15 are rare or accidental. 1 species listed is extirpated in Saudi Arabia and is not included in the species count. 15 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 Saudi Arabia.
The following tags have been used to highlight certain relevant categories. The commonly occurring, native, species do not fall into any of these categories.
- (A) Accidental A species that rarely or accidentally occurs in Saudi Arabia.
- (I) Introduced A species introduced to Saudi Arabia as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions.
- (Ex) Extirpated A species that no longer occurs in Saudi Arabia 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)
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 4 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
- Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena
- Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
- Eared Grebe Podiceps nigricollis
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 3 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Jouanin's Petrel Bulweria fallax
- Flesh-footed Shearwater Puffinus carneipes
- Persian Shearwater Puffinus persicus
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 2 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
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 Saudi Arabia.
- Red-billed Tropicbird Phaethon aethereus
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 2 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
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 2 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
Bitterns, herons and egrets
The family Ardeidae 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 12 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Gray Heron Ardea cinerea
- Goliath Heron Ardea goliath
- Purple Heron Ardea purpurea
- Great Egret Ardea alba
- Western Reef-Heron Egretta gularis
- Little Egret Egretta garzetta
- Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides
- Indian Pond-Heron Ardeola grayii (A)
- Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
- Striated Heron Butorides striata
- Black-crowned Night-Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
- Great Bittern Botaurus stellaris
- Little Bittern Ixobrychus minutus
The Hammerkop is a medium-sized bird with a long shaggy crest. The shape of its head with a curved bill and crest at the back is reminiscent of a hammer, hence its name. Its plumage is a drab brown all over.
- Hamerkop Scopus umbretta
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 3 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
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 4 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Sacred Ibis Threskiornis aethiopicus
- Waldrapp Geronticus eremita
- Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
- Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia
Flamingos are gregarious wading birds, usually 3 to 5 feet (1.5 m) 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 Saudi Arabia.
- Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus
Ducks, geese and swans
The family Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These are birds that are modified for an 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 20 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Mute Swan Cygnus olor (A)
- Tundra Swan Cygnus columbianus
- Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons
- Greylag Goose Anser anser
- Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea
- Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna
- Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope
- Gadwall Anas strepera
- Eurasian Teal Anas crecca
- Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
- Northern Pintail Anas acuta
- Garganey Anas querquedula
- Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
- Marbled Teal Marmaronetta angustirostris
- Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina
- Common Pochard Aythya ferina
- Ferruginous Pochard Aythya nyroca
- Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
- Smew Mergellus albellus
- 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 33 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- European Honey-buzzard Pernis apivorus
- Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus
- Black Kite Milvus migrans
- Pallas's Fish Eagle Haliaeetus leucoryphus
- White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla
- Lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus
- Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus
- Rueppell's Griffon Gyps rueppellii
- Eurasian Griffon Gyps fulvus
- Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus
- Lappet-faced Vulture Torgos tracheliotus
- Short-toed Snake Eagle Circaetus gallicus
- Bateleur Terathopius ecaudatus
- Western Marsh-Harrier Circus aeruginosus
- Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus
- Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus
- Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus
- Dark Chanting-Goshawk Melierax metabates
- Gabar Goshawk Micronisus gabar
- Shikra Accipiter badius
- Levant Sparrowhawk Accipiter brevipes
- Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus
- Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis
- Eurasian Buzzard Buteo buteo
- Long-legged Buzzard Buteo rufinus
- Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga
- Tawny Eagle Aquila rapax
- Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis
- Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca
- Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos
- Verreaux's Eagle Aquila verreauxii
- Bonelli's Eagle Aquila fasciatus
- Booted Eagle Aquila pennatus
Caracaras and falcons
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 12 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni
- Eurasian Kestrel Falco tinnunculus
- Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus
- Amur Falcon Falco amurensis
- 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 7 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Chukar Alectoris chukar
- Philby's Partridge Alectoris philbyi
- Arabian Partridge Alectoris melanocephala
- Sand Partridge Ammoperdix heyi
- Black Francolin Francolinus francolinus (A)
- Common Quail Coturnix coturnix
- Harlequin Quail Coturnix delegorguei (A)
Guineafowl are a group of African, seed-eating, ground-nesting birds that resemble partridges, but with featherless heads and spangled grey plumage. There are 6 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Saudi Arabia.
- Helmeted Guineafowl Numida meleagris
The buttonquails are small, drab, running birds which resemble the true quails.The female is the brighter of the sexes, and initiates courtship. The male incubates the eggs and tends the young. There are 16 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Saudi Arabia.
- Small Buttonquail Turnix sylvatica (A)
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 Saudi Arabia.
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 Saudi Arabia.
- 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 4 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Great Bustard Otis tarda
- Arabian Bustard Ardeotis arabs
- Houbara Bustard Chlamydotis undulata
- Macqueen's Bustard Chlamydotis macqueenii
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
- 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 Saudi Arabia.
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 2 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
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 3 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Cream-colored Courser Cursorius cursor
- Collared Pratincole Glareola pratincola
- 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 15 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
- Spur-winged Plover Vanellus spinosus
- Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus
- Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius
- White-tailed Lapwing Vanellus leucurus
- Pacific Golden-Plover Pluvialis fulva
- European Golden-Plover Pluvialis apricaria
- Black-bellied Plover Pluvialis squatarola
- Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
- Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
- Snowy Plover Charadrius alexandrinus
- Lesser Sandplover Charadrius mongolus
- 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 33 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Eurasian Woodcock Scolopax rusticola
- Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus
- Solitary Snipe Gallinago solitaria (A)
- Pintail Snipe Gallinago stenura (A)
- Great Snipe Gallinago media
- Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago
- Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa
- Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica
- Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
- Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata
- Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus
- Common Redshank Tringa totanus
- Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis
- Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
- Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus
- Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
- Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus
- Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
- Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
- Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris
- Red Knot Calidris canutus
- Sanderling Calidris alba
- Little Stint Calidris minuta
- Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii
- Long-toed Stint Calidris subminuta
- Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos
- Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea
- Dunlin Calidris alpina
- Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus
- Buff-breasted Sandpiper Tryngites subruficollis
- Ruff Philomachus pugnax
- Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus
- Red Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius
Skuas and jaegers
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 2 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
Laridae is a family of medium to large birds 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 15 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- White-eyed Gull Larus leucophthalmus
- Sooty Gull Larus hemprichii
- Mew Gull Larus canus
- Herring Gull Larus argentatus
- Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus
- Heuglin's Gull Larus heuglini
- Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans
- Armenian Gull Larus armenicus
- Great Black-headed Gull Larus ichthyaetus
- Brown-headed Gull Larus brunnicephalus
- Gray-headed Gull Larus cirrocephalus (A)
- Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
- Slender-billed Gull Larus genei
- Mediterranean Gull Larus melanocephalus
- Little Gull Larus minutus
Terns are a group of generally general 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 17 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Gull-billed Tern Sterna nilotica
- Caspian Tern Sterna caspia
- Lesser Crested Tern Sterna bengalensis
- Sandwich Tern Sterna sandvicensis
- Great Crested Tern Sterna bergii
- Roseate Tern Sterna dougallii
- Common Tern Sterna hirundo
- Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea
- Little Tern Sterna albifrons
- Saunders's Tern Sterna saundersi
- White-cheeked Tern Sterna repressa
- Bridled Tern Sterna anaethetus
- Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata
- Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus
- White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus
- Black Tern Chlidonias niger
- Brown Noddy Anous stolidus
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 6 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Pin-tailed Sandgrouse Pterocles alchata
- Chestnut-bellied Sandgrouse Pterocles exustus
- 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 (A)
- Rameron Pigeon Columba arquatrix
- European Turtle Dove Streptopelia turtur
- Dusky Turtle Dove Streptopelia lugens
- Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis
- Eurasian Collared Dove Streptopelia decaocto
- African Collared Dove Streptopelia roseogrisea
- Red-eyed Dove Streptopelia semitorquata
- Laughing Dove Streptopelia senegalensis
- Namaqua Dove Oena capensis
- Bruce's Green Pigeon Treron waalia
Parrots, macaws and allies
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 Saudi Arabia.
Cuckoos and anis
The family Cuculidae includes cuckoos, roadrunners and anis. These birds are of variable size with slender bodies, long tails and strong legs. Unlike the cuckoo species of the Old World, North American cuckoos are not brood parasites. There are 138 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Pied Cuckoo Clamator jacobinus
- Great Spotted Cuckoo Clamator glandarius
- Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus
- Klaas's Cuckoo Chrysococcyx klaas
- White-browed Coucal Centropus superciliosus
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 Saudi Arabia.
- 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 11 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Indian Scops Owl Otus bakkamoena
- Pallid Scops Owl Otus brucei
- African Scops Owl Otus senegalensis
- European Scops Owl Otus scops
- Eurasian Eagle-owl Bubo bubo
- Pharaoh Eagle-owl Bubo ascalaphus
- Spotted Eagle-owl Bubo africanus
- 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 5 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Eurasian Nightjar Caprimulgus europaeus
- Egyptian Nightjar Caprimulgus aegyptius
- Nubian Nightjar Caprimulgus nubicus
- Abyssinian Nightjar Caprimulgus poliocephalus
- Plain Nightjar Caprimulgus inornatus
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 5 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- African Palm-Swift Cypsiurus parvus
- 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 5 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
- White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis
- Gray-headed Kingfisher Halcyon leucocephala
- Collared Kingfisher Todirhamphus chloris
- 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 5 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Somali Bee-eater Merops revoilii
- White-throated Bee-eater Merops albicollis
- 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 3 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- European Roller Coracias garrulus
- Abyssinian Roller Coracias abyssinica
- Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis
Hoopoes have black, white and orangey-pink colouring with a large erectile crest on their head. There are 2 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Saudi Arabia.
- Hoopoe Upupa epops
Hornbills are a group of birds whose bill is shaped like a cow's horn, but without a twist, sometimes with a casque on the upper mandible. Frequently, the bill is brightly coloured. There are 57 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Saudi Arabia.
- African Grey Hornbill Tockus nasutus
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 Saudi Arabia.
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 16 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Singing Bushlark Mirafra cantillans
- Black-crowned Sparrow-Lark Eremopterix nigriceps
- Bar-tailed Lark Ammomanes cincturus
- Desert Lark Ammomanes deserti
- Greater Hoopoe-Lark Alaemon alaudipes
- Thick-billed Lark Ramphocoris clotbey
- Bimaculated Lark Melanocorypha bimaculata
- Greater Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla
- Blanford's Lark Calandrella blanfordi
- 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
- 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 7 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Sand Martin Riparia riparia
- Grey-throated Martin Riparia paludicola
- Eurasian Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris
- Pale Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris
- Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
- 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 13 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- White Wagtail Motacilla alba
- Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola
- Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava
- Gray Wagtail Motacilla cinerea
- Richard's Pipit Anthus richardi
- African Pipit Anthus cinnamomeus
- Tawny Pipit Anthus campestris
- Long-billed Pipit Anthus similis
- Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis
- Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni (A)
- Meadow Pipit Anthus pratensis
- Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus
- Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta
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 5 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus (I)
- White-spectacled Bulbul Pycnonotus xanthopygos
- White-eared Bulbul Pycnonotus leucotis
- White-cheeked Bulbul Pycnonotus leucogenys
- Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer (I)
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
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 1 species which occurs in Saudi Arabia.
- Yemen Accentor Prunella fagani
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 12 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Common Rock Thrush Monticola saxatilis
- Little Rock Thrush Monticola rufocinereus
- Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius
- Yemen Thrush Turdus menachensis
- Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus
- Eurasian Blackbird Turdus merula
- Dark-throated Thrush Turdus ruficollis
- Dusky Thrush Turdus naumanni
- 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 Saudi Arabia.
- 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 43 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Grasshopper Warbler Locustella naevia
- Eurasian River Warbler Locustella fluviatilis
- Savi's Warbler Locustella luscinioides
- Moustached Warbler Acrocephalus melanopogon
- Sedge Warbler Acrocephalus schoenobaenus
- Eurasian Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus
- African Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus baeticatus
- Marsh Warbler Acrocephalus palustris
- Great Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus arundinaceus
- Clamorous Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus stentoreus
- Basra Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus griseldis
- Booted Warbler Hippolais caligata (A)
- Sykes's Warbler Hippolais rama
- Eastern Olivaceous Warbler Hippolais pallida
- Upcher's Warbler Hippolais languida
- Olive-tree Warbler Hippolais olivetorum
- Icterine Warbler Hippolais icterina
- Brown Woodland-Warbler Phylloscopus umbrovirens
- Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus
- Common Chiffchaff Phylloscopus collybita
- Plain Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus neglectus
- Western Bonelli's Warbler Phylloscopus bonelli
- Eastern Bonelli's Warbler Phylloscopus orientalis
- Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix
- Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus
- Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus
- Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis (A)
- Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides
- Yemen Warbler Sylvia buryi
- Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla
- Garden Warbler Sylvia borin
- Greater Whitethroat Sylvia communis
- Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca
- Small Whitethroat Sylvia minula
- African Desert Warbler Sylvia deserti
- 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 (A)
- Cyprus Warbler Sylvia melanothorax
- Menetries's Warbler Sylvia mystacea
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 34 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Spotted Flycatcher Muscicapa striata
- Gambaga Flycatcher Muscicapa gambagae
- 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
- White-throated Robin Irania gutturalis
- Rufous-tailed Scrub-Robin Cercotrichas galactotes
- Black Scrub-Robin Cercotrichas podobe
- Rufous-backed Redstart Phoenicurus erythronota
- Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros
- Common Redstart Phoenicurus phoenicurus
- White-winged Redstart Phoenicurus erythrogaster
- Siberian Stonechat Saxicola maura
- Whinchat Saxicola rubetra
- European Stonechat Saxicola rubicola
- Pied Bushchat Saxicola caprata
- White-tailed Wheatear Oenanthe leucopyga
- Hooded Wheatear Oenanthe monacha
- Northern Wheatear Oenanthe oenanthe
- Mourning Wheatear Oenanthe lugens
- Finsch's Wheatear Oenanthe finschii
- Red-rumped Wheatear Oenanthe moesta
- Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka
- Cyprus Wheatear Oenanthe cypriaca
- Black-eared Wheatear Oenanthe hispanica
- Red-tailed Wheatear Oenanthe xanthoprymna
- Desert Wheatear Oenanthe deserti
- Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina
- Red-breasted Wheatear Oenanthe bottae
- Blackstart Cercomela melanura
The monarch flycatchers are small to medium-sized insectivorous passerines, which hunt by flycatching. There are 99 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Saudi Arabia.
- African Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone viridis
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 Saudi Arabia.
- Arabian Babbler Turdoides squamiceps
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 Saudi Arabia.
- 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 3 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Nile Valley Sunbird Hedydipna metallica
- Palestine Sunbird Cinnyris oseus
- Shining Sunbird Cinnyris habessinicus
The white-eyes are small and are mostly of undistinguished appearance, the plumage above being generally either some dull color like greenish olive, but some species have a white or bright yellow throat, breast or lower parts, and several have buff flanks. As their name suggests many species have a white ring around the eyes. There are 96 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Saudi Arabia.
- White-breasted White-eye Zosterops abyssinicus
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 Saudi Arabia.
- 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 Saudi Arabia.
- Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio
- Rufous-tailed Shrike Lanius isabellinus
- Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus
- Southern Grey Shrike Lanius meridionalis
- Lesser Grey Shrike Lanius minor
- Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor
- Masked Shrike Lanius nubicus
- Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator
Bushshrikes and allies
Bushshrikes are similar in habits to shrikes, hunting insects and other small prey from a perch on a bush. Although similar in build to the shrikes, these tend to be either colourful species or largely black; some species are quite secretive. There are 46 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Saudi Arabia.
- Black-crowned Tchagra Tchagra senegala
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 8 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Eurasian Magpie Pica pica
- Red-billed Chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax
- Eurasian Jackdaw Corvus monedula (A)
- House Crow Corvus splendens
- Rook Corvus frugilegus
- Carrion Crow Corvus corone
- Brown-necked Raven Corvus ruficollis
- Fan-tailed Raven Corvus rhipidurus
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 Saudi Arabia.
- Common Myna Acridotheres tristis
- Rosy Starling Pastor roseus
- European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
- Violet-backed Starling Cinnyricinclus leucogaster
- Tristram's Starling Onychognathus tristramii
Weavers and allies
The weavers are small passerine birds related to the finches. They are seed-eating birds with rounded conical bills. The males of many species are brightly coloured, usually in red or yellow and black, some species show variation in colour only in the breeding season. There are 116 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Saudi Arabia.
- Rüppell's Weaver Ploceus galbula
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 5 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Arabian Waxbill Estrilda rufibarba
- Red Avadavat Amandava amandava (I)
- Zebra Waxbill Sporaeginthus subflavus
- African Silverbill Euodice cantans
- White-throated Munia Euodice malabarica
Buntings, sparrows, seedeaters and allies
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 13 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Pine Bunting Emberiza leucocephalos
- Cinereous Bunting Emberiza cineracea
- Ortolan Bunting Emberiza hortulana
- Cretzschmar's Bunting Emberiza caesia
- House Bunting Emberiza striolata
- Cinnamon-breasted Bunting Emberiza tahapisi
- Little Bunting Emberiza pusilla
- Rustic Bunting Emberiza rustica
- Yellow-breasted Bunting Emberiza aureola
- Black-headed Bunting Emberiza melanocephala
- Red-headed Bunting Emberiza bruniceps
- Reed Bunting Emberiza schoeniclus
- Corn Bunting Emberiza calandra
Siskins, crossbills and allies
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 14 species which occur in Saudi Arabia.
- Common Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs
- Brambling Fringilla montifringilla
- Golden-winged Grosbeak Rhynchostruthus socotranus
- Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus
- Pale Rosefinch Carpodacus synoicus
- European Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
- Eurasian Siskin Carduelis spinus
- European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
- Eurasian Linnet Carduelis cannabina
- Yemen Linnet Carduelis yemenensis
- Olive-rumped Serin Serinus rothschildi
- Yemen Serin Serinus menachensis
- 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 Saudi Arabia.
- House Sparrow Passer domesticus
- Spanish Sparrow Passer hispaniolensis
- Dead Sea Sparrow Passer moabiticus
- Arabian Golden Sparrow Passer euchlorus
- Chestnut-shouldered Petronia Petronia xanthocollis
- Bush Petronia Petronia dentata
- Pale Rockfinch Carpospiza brachydactyla