List of birds of Palestine
This is a list of the bird species recorded in Palestine. The avifauna of the Palestine region is unusually rich for so small an area. Henry B. Tristram, who identified much of the avifauna of Palestine in an 1885 study which denoted the geographical scope as covering an area of 5,600 square miles (15,000 km2), identified 348 species. Of those, 271 are Palearctic, 40 are Ethiopian (10 of which are also Indian), 7 Indian and 30 which are peculiar to Syria. The number of species identified has grown considerably since then and is expected to grow further as the number of active ornithologists in the region grows. Today, there are 470 species, classified in 206 genera, belonging to 67 families and grouped in 21 orders.
Orders containing the largest numbers of species are: Passeriformes (songbirds) with 192 species, Charadriiformes (waders, plovers, gulls) with 88 species, Falconiformes (diurnal birds of prey) with 44 species and Anseriformes (swans, geese, ducks) with 33 species. The largest families are: Sylviidae (warblers) with 43 species, Turdidae (thrushes, chats) and Anatidae (swans, geese, ducks), both with 33 species and Accipitridae (eagles, vultures, hawks) with 32 species. The most populous genera are: Sylvia (warblers) with 15 species, Emberiza (buntings) with 14 and Larus (gulls) with 13, while Oenanthe (wheatears), Sterna (terns) and Falco (falcons) each comprise 11 species.
The types of avifauna are not equally diffused over the whole area. The Palearctic species are found largely near the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and the highlands east and west of Jordan. The Ethiopian and Indian types are almost exclusively confined to the Dead Sea basin. There are 30 species of migratory soaring birds that pass through Palestine annually.
Buzzards, eagles, harriers, hawks, kites and vultures
- Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) (Arabic: الرخمة المصرية)
- Cinereous vulture/Eurasian black vulture (Aegypius monachus)
- Bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus); found by Tristram near the Dead Sea.
- Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus)
- Lappet-faced vulture (Torgos tracheliotos)
- Short-toed eagle (Circaetus gallicus)
- Eastern marsh harrier (Circus spilonotus) 
- Hen harrier (Circus cyaneus)
- Pallid harrier (Circus macrourus)
- Montague's harrier (Circus pygargus)
- Eurasian sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) (Arabic: الباشق)
- Levant sparrowhawk (Accipiter brevipes)
- Northern goshawk (Accipiter gentilis)
- Common buzzard (Buteo buteo)
- Long-legged buzzard (Buteo rufinus)
- Steppe buzzard (Buteo buteo)
- European honey buzzard (Pernis apivorus) (Arabic: حوام النحل، عقاب الشنانير)
- Oriental honey buzzard/crested honey buzzard (Pernis ptilorhyncus) (Arabic: صقر العسل المقنزع, صقر العسل المقنزع بوحقب)
- Greater spotted eagle (Clanga clanga)
- Lesser spotted eagle (Clanga pomarina)
- Steppe eagle (Aquila nipalensis) 
- Eastern imperial eagle (Aquila heliaca)
- Golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)
- Booted eagle (Hieraaetus pennatus)
- Bonelli's eagle (Aquila fasciata)
- Black kite (Milvus migrans)
- Red kite (Milvus milvus)
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, making them difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs and long toes which are well adapted to soft uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and appear to be weak fliers. There are 143 species worldwide.
- Spotted crake (Porzana porzana)
- Little crake (Porzana parva)
- Corn crake (Crex crex)
- Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
- Coot (Fulica atra)
- Little bustard (Otis tetrax)
- Houbara bustard (Chlamydotis undulata)
- MacQueen's bustard, (Chlamydotis macqueenii)
- Lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni)
- Sooty falcon (Falco concolor)
- Barbary falcon (Falco pelegrinoides)
- Eleonora's falcon (Falco eleonorae)
- Lanner falcon (Falco biarmicus)
- Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus)
- Red-footed falcon (Falco vespertinus)
- Saker falcon (Falco cherrug)
- Common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
- Hobby (Falco subbuteo)
- Merlin (Falco columbarius)
Quails 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 vary in size) and have broad, relatively short wings. There are 156 species worldwide.
- Chukar (Alectoris chukar)
- Sand partridge (Ammoperdix heyi)
- Quail (Coturnix coturnix) (Arabic: الفر)
Bittern, herons and egrets
The family Ardeidae contains the bitterns, herons and egrets. Herons and egrets are medium to large wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more wary. Unlike other long-necked birds such as storks, ibises and spoonbills, members of this family fly with their necks retracted.
- Bittern (Botaurus stellaris)
- Little bittern (Ixobrychus minutus)
- Black-crowned night heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
- Squacco heron (Ardeola ralloides)
- Cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis)
- Little egret (Egretta garzetta)
- Great white egret (Egretta alba)
- Grey heron (Ardea cinerea)
- Purple heron (Ardea purpurea)
Ibises and spoonbills
Threskiornithidae is a family of large terrestrial and wading birds which comprises the ibises and spoonbills. Its members have long, broad wings with 11 primary and about 20 secondary flight feathers. They are strong fliers and, despite their size and weight, very capable soarers.
Ducks, geese and swans
Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These birds are adapted to 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.
- Whooper swan (Cygnus cygnus) (Arabic: البجع الصاخب) Occasional rare wander
- Bean goose (Anser fabalis) (Arabic: الإوز الأوروبي) Occasional rare wander
- Common shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
- Ruddy shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea).
- Marbled teal (Marmaronetta angustirostris).
- Eurasian wigeon (Anas penelope)
- Gadwall (Anas strepera)
- Garganey (Anas querquedula)
- Eurasian teal (Anas crecca)
- Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)
- Northern pintail (Anas acuta)
- Northern shoveler (Anas clypeata)
- Ferruginous duck (Aythya nyroca)
- Tufted duck (Aythya fuligula)
- Red-breasted merganser (Mergus serrator)
- White-headed duck (Oxyura leucocephala)
- White stork (Ciconia ciconia) (Arabic: اللقلق الابيض أو أبو سعد); very common
- Black stork (Ciconia nigra)
Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long pointed bills, short legs and stubby tails.
- Common kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)
- Smyrna kingfisher/white-breasted kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnesis)
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, southern Asia, Australia and New Guinea. They are characterised by richly coloured plumage, slender bodies and usually elongated central tail feathers. All are colourful and have long down-turned bills and pointed wings, which give them a swallow-like appearance when seen from afar. There are 26 species worldwide.
- Little 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.
Hoopoes have black, white and pink plumage and a large erectile crest on the head. There are two species worldwide.
- Hoopoe (Upupa epops)
- Syrian woodpecker (Dendrocopos syriacus); common resident.<ref=Safadi2>Al- Safadi, M.M. (2004). On the breeding biology of the Syrian woodpecker, Dendrocopos syriacus syriacus in the Gaza Strip. Zoology in the Middle East. 32: 5-10.</ref>
- Eurasian wryneck (Jynx torquilla)
- Common blackbird (Turdus merula); common winter visitor (WV) and locally common resident
- Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris); occasional WV
- Mistle thrush (Turdus viscivorus); occasional WV
- Redwing (Turdus iliacus)
- Song thrush (Turdus philomelos); very common WV
- Blue thrush (Monticola solitarius); common WV and locally common resident
- Rock thrush (Monticola saxatilis); uncommon migrant, common in some years
Old World flycatchers
- Arabian wheatear (Oenanthe fins chi); common WV and resident in the south
- Black-eared wheatear (Oenanthe hispanica); very common
- Common wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe); common migrant
- Desert wheatear (Oenanthe deserti); uncommon resident
- Eastern pied wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanka); once recorded from Rafah
- Hooded wheatear (Oenanthe monacha); rare resident
- Isabelline wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina); common migrant and locally common resident
- Tristram's wheatear (Oenanthe moesta); rare resident
- Mourning wheatear/pied wheatear (Oenanthe lugens); locally common resident
- White rumped wheatear (Oenanthe leucopyga); uncommon resident near Dead Sea
- African stonechat (Saxicola torquata); common WV
- Whinchat (Saxicola rubetra); uncommon migrant
- Black redstart (Phoenicurus ochruros); common WV
- Common redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus); common migrant
- Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica svecica); fairly common WV
- Nightingale (Luscinia megarhyncha); migrant (Tristram states that it breeds in Palestine)
- Thrush nightingale/sprosser nightingale (Luscinia luscinia); migrant (Arabic: العندليب, العندليب الأرقط)
- White-spotted bluethroat (Luscinia s. volgae); WV less common
- Robin (Erithacus rubecula); common WV
- Spotted flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)
- Collared flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis)
- European pied flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca)
- Red-breasted flycatcher (Ficedula parva)
- Semi-collared flycatcher (Ficedula semitorquata)
Old World warblers
- Barred warbler (Sylvia nisoria); rare migrant
- Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla); common WV, a few remain to breed
- Bowman's warbler (Sylvia melanocephala momus) subspecies of Sardinian warbler; common resident
- Desert warbler (Sylvia nana); only recorded from south end of Dead Sea
- Garden warbler (Sylvia borin); common migrant that Tristram states breeds in Palestine
- Lesser whitethroat (Sylvia curruca); common migrant that perhaps breeds in Palestine
- Menetries's warbler (Sylvia mystacea)
- Orphean warbler (Sylvia hortensis); common migrant and summer visitor (SV)
- Palestine warbler (Sylvia melanothorax); one pair obtained by Tristram near the Dead Sea
- Red Sea warbler (Sylvia leucomelaena)
- Rüppell's warbler (Sylvia ruppeli); uncommon migrant
- Sardinian warbler (Sylvia melanocephala); fairly common resident
- Spectacled warbler (Sylvia conspicillata); fairly common resident
- Subalpine warbler (Sylvia cantillans); uncommon migrant and SV
- Whitethroat (Sylvia communis); common migrant and SV (summer visitor)
- Icterine warbler (Hippolais icterina)
- Olive-tree warbler (Hypolais olivetorum); common migrant and a few remain to breed
- Upcher's warbler (Hypolais languida); common SV in the hills
- Olivaceous warbler (Hypolais pallida); common SV in the plains and Jordan valley
- River warbler (Locustella fluviatilis)
- Savi's warbler (Locustella luscinioides)
- Cetti's warbler (Cettia cetti)
- Clamorous reed warbler (Acrocephalus stentoreus); common SV in Hula marshes
- Reed warbler (Acrocephalus scirpaceus); common migrant
- Great reed warbler (Acrocephalus arundinacea); common SV
- Marsh warbler (Acrocephalus palustris); migrant
- Moustached warbler (Acrocephalus melanopogon)
- Sedge warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Cisticolas and allies
- Fan-tailed warbler (Cisticola cisticola); locally common resident
- Graceful warbler (Prinia gracilis); common resident
- Yellow-browed warbler (Phylloscopus superciliosus); one obtained by Tristram at Jericho in 1864
- Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita); common WV
- Willow warbler (Phylloscopus irochilus); common migrant
- Wood warbler (Phylloscopus sibilatrix); common migrant in the plains
- Bonelli's warbler (Phylloscopus bonellii); common migrant and uncommon SV
Streaked scrub warbler
Crows and allies
The family Corvidae includes crows, ravens, jays, choughs, magpies, treepies, nutcrackers and ground jays. Corvids are above average in size among the Passeriformes, and some of the larger species show high levels of intelligence.
- Brown-necked raven (Corvus ruficollis)
- Fan-tailed raven (Corvus rhipidurus)
- Hooded crow (Corvus cornix)
- House crow (Corvus splendens)
- Jackdaw (Corvus monedula)
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.
- European starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
- Rosy starling (Pastor roseus)
- Tristram's starling/Tristram's grackle (Onychognathus tristramii)
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.
- Thick-billed lark (Ramphocoris clotbey)
- Bimaculated lark (Melanocorypha bimaculata)
- Calandra lark (Melanocorypha calandra)
- Lesser short-toed lark (Alaudala rufescens)
- Greater short-toed lark (Calandrella brachydactyla)
- Crested lark (Galerida cristata)
- Woodlark (Lullula arborea)
- Eurasian skylark (Alauda arvensis)
- Oriental skylark (Alauda gulgula)
- Temminck's horned lark (Eremophila bilopha)
- Desert lark (Ammomanes deserti)
Swallows and martins
The family Hirundinidae is adapted to aerial feeding. They have a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings and a short bill with a wide gape. The feet are adapted to perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base. There are 75 species worldwide.
- Common house martin (Delichon urbica)
- Sand martin (Riparia riparia)
- Crag martin (Ptyonoprogne rupestris)
- Rock martin (Ptyonoprogne fuligula)
- Barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) and the sub-species Egyptian barn swallow (Hirundo rustica savignii)
- Red-rumped swallow (Hirundo daurica)
Shrikes are passerine birds known for the habit of some species 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.
- Isabelline shrike (Lanius isabellinus)
- Great grey shrike (Lanius excubitor)
- Lesser grey shrike (Lanius minor)
- Masked shrike (Lanius nubicus)
- Red-backed shrike (Lanius collurio)
- Woodchat shrike (Lanius senator)
Finches are passerine birds known for their stout conical bills adapted for eating seeds and which often have colourful plumage. Some finches, particularly, the goldfinch, are known for their pleasant to cacophonous song, which changes in pitch and in tone, from trills into twitters.
- European goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)
- White-spectacled bulbul (Pycnonotus xanthopygos)
Avocets and stilts
Recurvirostridae is a family of large wading birds, which includes the avocets and stilts. The avocets have long legs and long up-curved bills. The stilts have extremely long legs and long, thin, straight bills. There are nine species worldwide
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 nine species worldwide.
- Stone curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus)
Plovers and lapwings
- Little ringed plover (Charadrius dubius)
- Ringed plover (Charadrius hiaticula)
- Kentish plover (Charadrius alexandrinus)
- Caspian plover (Charadrius asiaticus)
- Spur-winged plover (Vanellus spinosus)
- White-tailed plover (Vanellus leucurus)
- Northern lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
- Sociable lapwing (Vanellus gregarius)
- Pacific golden plover (Pluvialis fulva)
- Eurasian golden plover (Pluvialis apricaria)
- Grey plover (Pluvialis squatarola)
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.
- Cream-coloured courser (Cursorius cursor)
- Collared pratincole (Glareola pratincola)
- Black-winged pratincole (Glareola nordmanni)
Laridae is a family of medium to large seabirds, the 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.
- Black-headed gull (Larus ridibundus) (Arabic: النورس اسود الرأس)
- Great black-headed gull (Larus ichthyaetus)
- Baltic gull/lesser black-headed gull (Larus fuscus)
- White-eyed gull (Larus leucophthalmus)
- Armenian gull (Larus armenicus)
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 seven species worldwide.
Terns are a group of generally medium to large seabirds 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 known to live in excess of 30 years.
- Gull-billed tern (Gelochelidon nilotica)
- Common tern (Sterna hirundo)
- Little tern (Sterna albifrons)
- Whiskered tern (Chlidonias hybridus)
- White-winged tern/white–winged black tern (Chlidonias leucopterus)
Sandpipers and allies
Scolopacidae is 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 these species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Variation in length of legs and bills enables multiple species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food.
- Little stint (Calidris minuta)
- Temminck's stint (Calidris temminckii)
- Curlew sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)
- Dunlin (Calidris alpina)
- Ruff (Philomachus pugnax)
- Jack snipe (Lymnocryptes minimus)
- Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)
- Eurasian curlew (Numenius arquata)
- Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)
- Spotted redshank (Tringa erythropus)
- Redshank (Tringa totanus)
- Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
- Green sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)
- Wood sandpiper (Tringa glareola)
- Common sandpiper (Tringa hypoleucos)
- Sanderling (Calidris alba)
- Black-tailed godwit (Limosa limosa)
- Bar-tailed godwit (Limosa lapponica)
- Terek sandpiper (Xenus cinereus)
- Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)
Pigeons and doves
- Rock dove (Columba livia) and sub species Columba livia schimperi
- Stock dove (Columba oenas)
- Wood pigeon (Columba palumbus)
- Eurasian collared dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
- European turtle dove (Streptopelia turtur) (Arabic: اليمام القمري)
- Oriental turtle dove (Streptopelia orientalis)
- Laughing dove (Spilopelia senegalensis)
- Namaqua dove (Oena capensis)
Barn owls are medium to large owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons. There are 16 species worldwide.
- Barn owl (Tyto alba)
The 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.
- Brown fish-owl (Bubo zeylonensis semenowi)
- Eagle owl (Bubo bubo)
- Pharaoh eagle-owl (Bubo ascalaphus); resident in the southern desert.
- Striated scops owl (Otus brucei)
- Scops owl (Otus scops)
- Little owl (Athene noctua)
- Long-eared owl (Asio otus)
- Short-eared owl (Asio flammeus)
Nightjars are medium-sized ground-nesting nocturnal birds with long wings, short legs and very short bills. 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.
- European nightjar (Caprimulgus europaeus) common migrant.
- Nubian nightjar (Caprimulgus nubicus)
- Red-necked nightjar (Caprimulgus ruficollis); once recorded from Jerusalem.
Swifts are small birds which spend 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 which resemble a crescent or boomerang. There are 98 species worldwide.
- Alpine swift (Apus melba)
- Common swift (Apus apus) (Arabic: السمامة)
- Little swift (Apus affinis)
- Pallid swift (Apus pallidus)
- Hedge sparrow (Prunella modularis); fairly common WV
- Palestine sunbird (Cinnyris oseus) (Arabic: تمير فلسطيني)
- Yellow wagtail (Motacilla flava)
- Hastings, 2004, p. 762.
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